Prevent Genocide International 

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

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Reuters 2 Mar 2003 Burundi's Buyoya, Rebels Try to Bolster Shaky Truce DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (Reuters) - Burundi's government and main Hutu rebel group agreed to speed up implementation of a truce agreed last December when they held talks in the Tanzanian capital on Sunday, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said. Museveni, chairman of the Great Lakes regional initiative on Burundi, told reporters after the one-day summit the two sides had made ``good progress,'' but declined to give more details. Burundian President Pierre Buyoya and representatives of the rebel Forces for the Defense of Democracy (FDD) met to try to start work on setting up a joint cease-fire commission to monitor their shaky and often broken truce. They called for the quick deployment of an African peacekeeping force by the African Union to monitor the cease-fire and oversee rebel activity in the central African country. ``Both parties welcomed the progress already made in the establishment of the African Mission in Burundi and pledged their full support,'' the two sides said in a statement. The talks were hosted by Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa, vice-chairman of the Great Lakes initiative, and attended by South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma as mediator. FDD leader Pierre Nkurunziza accused the government last month of not respecting the truce and said he would suspend all direct contact with Buyoya. Nkurunziza's fighters also stand accused of frequent violations of the accord. The truce was agreed last December with the aim of ending the war between Tutsi-led government forces and Hutu rebels that has raged since 1993, killing some 300,000 of Burundi's 6.5 million people, most of the casualties civilians. Fighting continues despite attempts at cease-fires and a three-year transitional plan to share power between Buyoya's minority Tutsi government and the majority Hutus. The FDD and two other rebel groups have signed up for the truce but another rebel group, the Forces for National Libewration, has refused to take part. Under the peace accord signed in August 2000, Buyoya is due to hand over power to his Hutu deputy, Vice President Domitien Ndayizeye on May 1 after 18 months in office. On Friday he asked parliament to debate whether he should carry out the handover, raising fears in the main Hutu political party that he might try to stay in power.

European Union 6 Mar 2003 Declaration by the EU Presidency on the judicial follow-up to the Itaba massacre in Burundi In the Declaration by the Presidency, on behalf of the EU, on Burundi of 25 September 2002 concerning the massacre in Itaba, the EU called for a neutral and independent enquiry to establish the facts rapidly and identify the guilty parties, so that they can be prosecuted and judged in accordance with due judicial process. The recent trial of two army officers with respect to the mass killings of civilians by the army in Itaba on 9 September 2002 did not meet minimum judicial standards. The EU therefore urges the Transitional Government of Burundi to apply those standards to the full to all individuals who are responsible for this massacre of civilians by the army as soon as possible, as was underscored by the UN High Commissioner for human rights during his visit to Bujumbura. The EU wishes to remind all parties to the conflict of their obligations under international humanitarian law to respect civilians. The Acceding Countries Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia, the Associated Countries Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey and the EFTA countries, members of the European Economic Area, align themselves with this declaration.

AFP 9 Mar 2003 Burundi rebels accuse govt of seeking to prolong war BUJUMBURA, March 9 (AFP) - The main rebel group in Burundi on Sunday accused the government of seeking to prolong civil war by imposing new conditions on the provisions of a December ceasefire accord. The Forces for the Defence of Democracy (FDD) was reacting to Bujumbura's announcement on that it would resume supplies to the rebels only if they withdrew to the positions they held before the accord was signed on December 3 and if they halted all acts of violence and looting against civilians. "These conditions are an excuse by the interim government, of the army, to pursue the war. They reflect a desire not to put into effect the accord," FDD spokesman Gelase Daniel Ndabirabe told AFP. The army began to provide supplies to the FDD in December, but very quickly stopped doing so. Nbabirabe also recalled that the government had prevented the FDD gaining access to radio airwaves, and that this and the new conditions on supplies were evidence of its belligerance. Although three of the four rebel groups in Burundi signed ceasefire accords with the government last year, fighting has continued, as foes accuse each other of violating the truce. The FDD is active in at least seven of Burundi's 15 provinces. Ndabirabe said his movement would continue supplying itself in the way it has done so in the past. This generally involves appropriating cattle and other goods from the civilian population. Burundi's civil war has claimed some 300,000 lives since 1993. One of the Hutu rebel groups involved, the main wing of the National Liberation Forces (FNL), has not entered into negotiations with the government. Local government officials, the army and civilians blamed the FNL for the death of one civilian the wounding of 10 others Saturday evening in a "punitive operation" near the capital. "The FNL came around 8:00 pm and gathered almost all the inhabitants of Kinyinya," local official Daniel Nsanzurwimo told AFP. "They executed one man with bayonet blows, injured 10 others and looted about 200 homes," he added. "They wanted to teach people a lesson," he said. One resident said the dead man had first been tortured and was only targetted because he had a Tutsi wife and was suspected of betraying the rebels. .

PANA 11 Mar 2003 Military tension rises in central, eastern Burundi Bujumbura, Burundi (PANA) - Ambushes and clashes followed by looting have been reported in Burundi's provinces of Gitega (centre) and Ruyigi (east), where the regular army has been battling with rebels for several months. The military said that on Monday three lorries ran into an ambush attributed to the rebellion on a Ruyigi road. Carrying traders, the vehicles were travelling to Bujumbura, the Burundi capital, when the rebels ambushed them on the outskirts of the administrative centre of the Ruyigi Province, said commander of the second military region, Colonel Cyprien Hakiza. The attackers robbed the passengers of their money and clothes, Hakiza said. Hakiza indicated that some fierce fighting has been raging of late in the Gishubi, Giheta and Butaganza communes between his troops and elements of the Forces for the Defence of Democracy (FDD), the main rebel movement in the country. Generally, the army abstains from issuing any death toll figures. President Pierre Buyoya's regime has toughened its stance against the rebels in the past few days by refusing to authorise any food supplies to the FDD troops donated by the European Union, unless the fighters ended armed attacks and looting. Buyoya is expected to step down by 1 May to make way for Vice President Domitien Ndayizeye, in compliance with the Inter- Burundian peace agreements.

IRIN 28 Mar 2003 Government, AU sign agreement on peacekeeping force NAIROBI, 28 Mar 2003 (IRIN) - The African Union (AU) and the government of Burundi signed an agreement on Wednesday on the statutes for the AU peacekeeping force due for deployed to Burundi, the country news agency, APB, reported. Burundi's minister of external relations and cooperation, Terence Sinunguruza, and the AU secretary-general's special envoy, Mamadou Bah, signed the agreement in the Burundi capital, Bujumbura. APB reported that Bah was, however, unable to confirm the strength and arrival date of the force. Burundi has experienced political upheaval and war since the assassination in October 1993 of its first democratically elected president, Melchoir Ndadaye. Approximately 200,000 Burundians have died since the civil war began. Based on the Arusha Peace Agreement of August 2000, a transitional government, made up almost equally of Hutus and Tutsis, was inaugurated on 1 November 2001. However, fighting has continued despite the ceasefire accords signed in Arusha, Tanzania, on 7 October and 2 December 2002 between the government and all rebel factions, except the Forces nationales de la liberation led by Agathon Rwasa. APB reported on Thursday that the agreement on the statutes related to the rights and duties of the peacekeeping troops and the logistic details of getting the mission's equipment into Burundi. The AU force is expected to supervise the implementation of the ceasefire accords and help with the stabilisation of the country, ABP reported. It will also help in disarmament and reintegration of displaced people and refugees. When the AU pledged in February to provide peacekeeping troops, Ethiopia, Mozambique and South Africa offered contingents but they have not yet arrived. However, the AU has sent observers to Burundi to shore up the ceasefire agreements. The first of the observers arrived in Bujumbura on 12 February. On 12 March, eight Gabonese soldiers arrived in Bujumbura, bringing to 43 the number of AU ceasefire monitors in country. Their arrival brought the force to its full complement. Burkina Faso, Gabon, Togo and Tunisia are the other countries that contributed personnel to the AU observer mission.

AFP 29 Mar 2003 Burundi peace force deploying in coming week: vice president BUJUMBURA, March 29 (AFP) - Domitien Ndayizeye, vice president of the war-torn African state of Burundi, said Saturday a South African peace mediator had assured him an African peacekeeping force would be deployed in Burundi in the coming week. "The last obstacles have been cleared, the mediator hopes this force will be dispatched next week," Ndayizeye told journalists on his return home to Burundi's capital Bujumbura after talks in South Africa. The two main political parties in Burundi on Saturday signed a political and security agreement in Pretoria, witnessed by South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma in his mediation role. "We insisted on the arrival of the African Mission which is indispensable to begin the process of encampment (of the various troop and rebel units) and the introduction of a true ceasefire," Ndayizeye said on his return. The peacekeeping force is to be made up of troops from Ethiopia, Mozambique and South Africa, together with 43 military observers already deployed in Bujumbura by the African Union. The African force was originally scheduled to be deployed by December to supervise Burundi's ceasefire accords, signed last year by three of the four rebel movements which have been involved in civil war in the country. The security pact was signed in Pretoria by Alphonse Kadege, president of the Tutsi-dominated Unity for National Progress (UPRONA), and Ndayizeye, who is also president of the Hutu-dominated Burundi Democratic Front (FRODEBU). Ndayizeye, a Hutu, is due to take over as president from Pierre Buyoya, a Tutsi, on May 1 in a transition designed to end an ethnically based civil war which has claimed more than 250,000 lives in the small central African country since October 1993.

Central African Republic

AFP 16 Mar 2003 Central African rebels seize capital, dissolve government by Christian Panika BANGUI, March 16 (AFP) - Renegade former army chief Francois Bozize suspended Central Africa's constitution and dissolved government and parliament after his supporter seized control of the capital Bangui while President Ange-Felix Patasse was on a trip abroad. In a radio broadcast, rebel spokesman Parfait Mbaye described Bozize as the "president of the republic." Bozize himself went on radio to address the nation, saying he was suspending the constitution and dissolving the government and the National Assembly. "However, I will meet with political parties and social leaders of the nation as soon as possible to agree on a programme of transition," he said. His spokesman said Bozize supporters were now in charge and that the military should return to barracks. The regime change was a "fait accompli." He said the new leader wanted Bangui residents to stop looting and stay at home. Bozize ordered a curfew Sunday following wild scenes of looting. The CAR, rich in minerals including gold, diamonds and uranium, has been plagued by coups and frequent changes of government since independence from France in 1960. Proclaiming a mission "of peace and national reconciliation" with a "temporary interruption of the democratic process," Bozize in his radio address announced a period of national recovery under a transitional government backed by a special council to include former heads of state. Patasse sacked Bozize as head of the armed forces in October 2001. Fighting erupted in Bangui, capital of the poverty-stricken state of some 3.5 million people, on Saturday while Patasse was in Niger at a pan-African summit. At least five people were killed in the coup, according to updated reports, and dozens were wounded. Patasse's plane was shot at as it tried to land Saturday at Bangui airport. It was then diverted to neighbouring Cameroon. African diplomats said Patasse was not expected to remain in Cameroon for long. Talks were under way to find a country which would take him in temporarily, with Gabon and Libya being mentioned. Bangui streets were relatively calm Sunday, though sporadic gunfire could be heard following a night of looting of government buildings, including Patasse's residence. Government forces appeared to have offered little resistance. Many Bangui residents welcomed the rebels, applauding passing patrols. "There was food in this country, but it was destined for certain categories of people, but not for us," said a housewife rummaging through the house of former first vice president of the ruling party, Hugues Dobozendi. Saturday's coup attempt was the second in five months. Bozize's supporters tried to topple Patasse in October, but the attempt failed when Libyan forces dispatched by Colonel Moamer Kadhafi to put down a rebellion in May 2001 defended Patasse. He also used fighters sent by a rebel leader in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo. Patasse has accused neighbouring Chad of backing the latest attempts to oust him. Long-running tensions between Chad and the CAR, said to be founded on rival claims to oil-rich territory near their border, were heightened when Bozize sought refuge in Chad in 2001. Libya's troops in the CAR, believed to number around 200, left in December and were replaced by a 350-strong regional peacekeeping force dispatched by the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC). According to reports three Congolese troops with CEMAC were killed in Saturday's fighting. CEMAC issued a statement condemning the coup, saying it undermined its efforts to bring about a peaceful national dialogue to resolve the country's political crisis. Gabon, which has troops in the CEMAC contingent, warned Bozize's supporters not to attack them. The curfew imposed Sunday does not apply to CEMAC, the rebels' statement said. Among long-term plans, Bozize Sunday identified "reunification and restructuring" of the armed forces and a "vast programme of disarmament in all regions of the country", plus the restructuring and revitalising of the administration, the rehabilitation of the country's finances and reinforced efforts to fight AIDS. France, which denounced the coup on Saturday, evacuated 40 of its citizens from Bangui on Sunday aboard two military planes, and warned those remaining to stay indoors.

AFP 17 Mar 2003 Coup leaders tighten grip on Central African Republic BANGUI, March 17 (AFP) - Central African Republic coup leader Francois Bozize on Monday tightened his grip on the country as France urged an all-inclusive national dialogue to end its former colony's long history of coups and unrest. The African Union meanwhile condemned the putsch which was mounted at the weekend during a trip abroad by President Ange-Felix Patasse. Bozize, the country's former army chief, said in a statement read on national radio that searches would be carried out "to unmask the thieves and other looters, as well as their middlemen" who had ransacked the capital Bangui after the coup. The fighting and looting was said Monday to have claimed 13 lives and left many more injured in the mineral-rich but impoverished country that has been plagued by coups and mutinies since Jean-Bedel Bokassa came to power in a military uprising in 1965. Bozize called for more troops from nations belonging to the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) to be drafted in to stabilise the volatile situation. A 310-strong CEMAC force was deployed in the Central African Republic in December to protect President Patasse after earlier coup attempts, but only troops from Gabon, Congo and Equatorial Guinea took part. "I am proposing the following solution: that the reinforcement of CEMAC forces be extended to all countries without exception... with the support of the French forces who have been sent to Bangui to evacuate foreign nationals," Bozize told Radio France Internationale. He added the coup was the "only solution" for the country and said it had "passed off without any real problems." Bozize suspended the constitution and dissolved the government and parliament after his backers seized the capital. France on Monday deployed 300 soldiers to Bangui to assist in the evacuation of foreign nationals and control access to the main airport of the nation landlocked in the heart of Africa between Cameroon, Chad, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Congo. Eighty people, including 60 French nationals, were flown to Gabon on a French army plane on Sunday, the French foreign ministry said. The former colonial power meanwhile called for full and comprehensive dialogue as the only real means of pulling the country out of its seemingly unending cycle of unrest. Bozize has been behind at least two earlier attempts to topple Patasse, the target of at least seven coup bids during a decade in power. "Only a true, all-inclusive dialogue will bring a return to legality, to national cohesion and peace," said French foreign ministry spokesman Francois Rivasseau. Patasse had proposed in November that the Central African Republic (CAR) hold a national dialogue that would bring together all of the country's key political and military players. He made his proposal after a coup bid launched in October by backers of Bozize was put down by government troops, backed by rebels from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Libyan soldiers. In a speech broadcast late Sunday, Bozize reassured Central Africans that the coup at the weekend was only "a temporary suspension of the democratic process". Rivasseau on Monday reiterated France's condemnation of the coup against "a democratically elected government". The acting head of the African Union, Amara Essy, and the AU's current president, South Africa's Thabo Mbeki, strongly condemned the coup, as did regional African bodies, including CEMAC and the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD). But Bozize rejected the chorus of criticism and attacked "10 years of democratic meanderings" by Patasse. Patasse has sought refuge in neighbouring Cameroon, after the plane in which he was returning to the CAR from a regional conference in Niger was fired on Saturday above Bangui.

BBC 18 Mar 2003 Fear grips looted Bangui Bozize (r) once put down a coup against Patasse (l) Initial euphoria has turned to fear in the Central African Republic where the rebel leader General Francois Bozize has seized control of the country. "The shooting has stopped this morning but there is still looting. Rebels have been shooting the looters dead," a Bangui resident told BBC News Online by telephone. "Administrative buildings, shops and schools remain closed. There are very few cars on the streets." The BBC's Joseph Benamse in Bangui says 15 people have died since rebels marched into Bangui on Saturday afternoon. France has sent 300 soldiers to protect foreign citizens in the country and reinforce peacekeepers sent by the Central African Economic Community (Cemac) last year. Meanwhile, the foreign ministers of Gabon and Congo have arrived in Bangui for talks with General Bozize and the Cemac force, reports the French news agency, AFP. General Bozize has called for more Cemac troops to be sent to Bangui in order to stabilise the station. A spokesman for the African Union said it was recommending that CAR be suspended from the body. Stranded president Ousted President Ange-Felix Patasse remains in Cameroon after his plane was fired upon in Bangui as he returned home from a conference in Niger. He has not yet issued a statement. General Bozize, who has declared himself the new president, has suspended the constitution and dissolved both government and parliament. According to local sources, he has met with the head of the army Colonel Antoine Gambi, the head of the police and the para-military gendarmerie, which indicates the military may be willing to back the rebel leader. Meanwhile, locals are wondering whether General Bozize has backing from outside the CAR. Witnesses say there are Arabic-speaking turbaned Chadian nationals among his supporters who are currently patrolling the streets. 'Dialogue' The United States has asked France to help protect its citizens and backed a French call for "a real, all-inclusive dialogue" as a necessary step to end the cycle of unrest in the CAR. A spokeswoman for the US State Department urged General Bozize "to take steps toward national reconciliation that will lead to a democratically elected government". Mr Patasse, who was democratically elected in 1993, has weathered numerous coup attempts. Following an outbreak of fighting last October, the country was divided into two - between rebels loyal to Mr Bozize, and government troops. Government troops regained control of the country this year, but the rebels remained at large in rural areas in the north, and in southern Chad.

IRIN 18 Mar 2003 New leader consolidates power, France sends troops , 18 Mar 2003 (IRIN) - The leader of the coup in the Central African Republic (CAR), Francois Bozize, met army and police chiefs on Monday in an attempt to impose law and order in the capital. "Our top priority is the capital's security," Parfait Mbaye, Bozize's spokesman, told IRIN. Mbaye added that there was "no animosity" between the leaders of ousted President Ange-Felix Patasse's security forces and the new administration, and that many soldiers, gendarmes and policemen had resumed their duties. However, the looting that started when Bozize's fighters entered Bangui and overthrew the government on Saturday continued through Monday. Youths armed with weapons stolen from Patasse's official home bound their heads with turbans, to look like Chadians, and went on looting sprees, targeting vehicles and other property. The ousted government had often accused Chad of supporting Bozize. In a communique on state-owned Radio Centrafrique, Bozize, the CAR former army chief of staff, promised that searches would be carried out to "unmask the thieves and other looters" who had pillaged the capital after the coup. Eight alleged looters were shot dead by soldiers on Monday in various suburbs of Bangui. Offices, schools and shops remained closed on Tuesday, despite Bozize's call for a resumption of normal activities. Looters also gutted petrol stations, making transport more difficult. Meanwhile, 150 French soldiers, redeployed from the Gabonese capital, Libreville, arrived in Bangui on Monday. They were the first of 300 troops sent by France to evacuate French nationals and to secure the main M'poko airport, AFP reported. Sixty French women and children were flown to Gabon on a French army plane on Sunday, the French foreign ministry said. Around 100 French nationals have taken refuge at the French embassy in Bangui, while others gathered at various sites after their homes were looted. Bozize, who was until the coup in exile in France, has called on Paris and member states of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community to send more troops to help stabilise his country. The African Union (AU) has condemned the coup and called for the reinstatement of Patasse's democratically elected government. The AU's Central Organ of the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution in the African Union has recommended CAR's suspension from the continental body.

IRIN 24 Mar 2003 Bozize appoints prime minister BANGUI, 24 March (IRIN) - The new leader of the Central African Republic (CAR), Francois Bozize, has appointed Abel Goumba as prime minister of a transitional government. Goumba, 76, who is one of the founding fathers of the CAR in the 1950s, said it would take him at least a week to form his government. "I cannot form a government without first having consultations with all the political forces, all the stakeholders, and the diaspora," he told IRIN on Sunday, just hours after his appointment. He said the Concertation des partis politiques d'opposition, an alliance of 12 opposition parties, should perform an important role in the new administration. Bozize, who seized power in a coup on 15 March, immediately engaged in intense consultations with political actors inside the country, including ousted President Ange-Felix Patasse's Mouvement de liberation du peuple centrafricain (MLPC). He enacted a transitional constitution, which does not set a time-frame for the transition. A leading MLPC figure and former interior minister, Jacquesson Mazette, said on Saturday that his party's executive board would meet to decide whether it would be in the opposition or join the new government. Meanwhile, hundreds of soldiers registered over the weekend to resume service on Monday, after a week of uncertainty. At least 1,000 soldiers - some in uniform, others in civilian clothes - registered on Saturday at one centre, the Ecole superieure d'administration et de magistrature. At the same time, the military authorities organised door-to-door searches in Bangui's various suburbs for goods stolen during the massive looting that engulfed the capital in the aftermath of the coup. Soldiers, policemen and peacekeepers of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central African States (CEMAC)loaded trucks with recovered property for return to its owners. A similar operation to recover and return stolen vehicles has been ongoing since Thursday, led by the 100 Chadian soldiers reinforcing the 303-strong CEMAC force. Life in the capital began returning to normal on Monday, with the reopening of shops and markets. Small numbers of cars appeared on the streets after the reopening of two petrol stations, selling rations of up to 10 litres to each vehicle. Bozize conducted a number of meet-the-people tours in different parts of the city over the weekend, seeking to reassure local residents, business people and traders, and members of various religious denominations.

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

NYT 9 Mar 2003 As Peace Accord Is Fleshed Out, Ivory Coast Fighting Resumes By SOMINI SENGUPTA BIDJAN, Ivory Coast, March 8 — The ink had not yet dried on another promise for peace in this country as fighting broke out in its unruly west overnight, with civilians fleeing their ransacked villages and men firing at French soldiers who are here to enforce a cease-fire in what was once the jewel of their empire. In Accra, the capital of neighboring Ghana, officials representing the Ivoirian government of President Laurent Gbagbo, and the rebels who have sought to overthrow him since September, agreed to the composition of a national reconciliation government, as envisioned by a peace accord signed nearly six weeks ago. Rebels dropped their most contentious demand — control of the Interior and Defense Ministries in exchange for seats on what is to be a newly established national security council. The proposed council is to have authority over all matters relating to the country's defense. The mediators of the Ghana talks, which began on Thursday, sounded an optimistic note today, saying that a new government would be announced before March 14. "Let us start," Albert Tevoedjre, the United Nations envoy to the Ivory Coast, said in an interview. "We are already late, and the country is suffering." The final communique from the Accra talks called for "the cessation of massacres and killings," though, as Mr. Tevoedjre acknowledged, a number of issues were still left for the new government to tackle, among them the disarmament of both rebel and government forces. Judging from the stalemates of the past, whether this latest deal will hold is anyone's guess. Since agreeing to a peace accord nearly six weeks ago, Mr. Gbagbo has been repeatedly accused of equivocating, and, in recent weeks, he has faced a growing chorus of international pressure to keep his promise. The peace accord, agreed to in late January in Marcoussis, France, envisioned a power-sharing deal between Mr. Gbagbo and the rebels who now effectively control half the country. The peace accord also called for both sides to lay down their arms and promised an investigation of charges of atrocities in the more than five-month-old civil war. As if on cue, with yet another peace deal in hand, fighting broke out in the west this morning. Unidentified armed men clashed with French peacekeepers near the western town of Duékoué. Two French soldiers, there to enforce the cease-fire line, suffered minor wounds, said the French Army spokesman, Lt. Col. Philippe Perret. More than 100 armed men, all Liberians who claimed to be fighting on behalf of the Ivoirian government, were taken into French custody late last night. The Ivoirian government has long denied recruiting refugees to serve as soldiers. The Liberians were disarmed and detained by the French, awaiting the arrival of Ivoirian authorities and relief workers.

WP 10 Mar 2003 For Now, Ivory Coast's Relaxed Rebels Enjoy Goodwill Northern Group Noted for Politeness, If Not Administration By Emily Wax Page A12 BOUAKE, Ivory Coast -- Lounging on rickety plastic chairs, the sweaty rebels with their fabulous hairstyles -- curvy cobras shaved into close-cropped hair -- swat away the mosquitoes, surf the Internet and let out a series of yawns. They laze away a sweltering Tuesday afternoon checking out the "R&B Diva" page on MTV's Web site, reading the international news and huddling as they launch an Internet search to see whether their rebel group -- the Patriotic Movement of Ivory Coast -- has made headlines. As the sun melts away and darkness falls, women in painted-on jeans and camouflage tank tops float over and flirt, offering steaming pots of goat, rice and tomato stew and invitations to go to a bar and dance. All around Ivory Coast, which has been mired in civil war since September, the rebels are understood to be hard at work, administering the northern part of the country and planning their march to take over Abidjan, the commercial capital 210 miles south. But here in Bouake, the rebel headquarters, it's clear that they are not doing much at all. "We are fatigued. We are too famous now," explained Saki Seraphin, a wiry man in his twenties with a video camera who is the director of the rebels' Web site, radio station and closed-circuit television operation in Bouake, called Radio Mutineer. "We are just always in demand." These rebels, who have more satellite phones than battle scars, have had a packed schedule since they captured half the nation after a failed coup on Sept. 19. With creamy new suits and a fresh dose of political confidence, the rebels jetted off to Togo in December for a peace summit, then to Paris in January for more talks. The talks produced a peace agreement that has yet to be implemented. In February, the rebels were off on a whirlwind tour of West Africa to huddle with leaders in Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria and Burkina Faso. "Being respectable rebels isn't easy," Seraphin said with a laugh, as his friends attacked the pots of rice and apologized for eating so much. "French portions in Paris were too small. We Africans, we need more." It seems almost like a reality television show. Seraphin, in fact, said he intends to submit what he calls his cinema verite footage to MTV -- after the war ends and the rebels win, of course. The question that hovers unanswered over Bouake, aid workers and analysts say, is what happens if the rebels, known as the MPCI, actually do win? With a deadlocked peace pact and the country on the verge of battle again, Ivorians, analysts and diplomats wonder whether the northern rebels could run a functioning government. "They are not just guys in army boots running around. They make a good presentation," said Jeff Drumtra, Africa policy analyst for the U.S. Committee for Refugees. "But the question remains: How much is superficial and how much substance remains? It will be a very important answer." Government leaders have accused the rebels of rape and other violent crimes, and a recent report by Amnesty International said that the insurgents executed at least 52 paramilitary police officers and eight of their sons during the initial days of the war. Rebel leaders deny the accusations, saying the police died in battle. Independent human rights groups and people who live in Bouake have vehemently dismissed similar allegations as propaganda fabricated by a government that the United Nations has accused of death-squad activity. As the rebels jetted around the globe, dining on goat cheese salads and miniature steaks with world leaders, they were treated well. Ghanaian President John Kufuor, head of the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States, now refers to them as "new forces" instead of rebels. Much of the goodwill can be attributed to the sharp contrast between the MPCI and the two other rebel groups fighting the government of Ivory Coast. The latter two, from the western part of the country, emerged relatively late in the war and are known to have Liberian guerrillas among their ranks. While the MPCI rebels have been polite to civilians, organized and calm -- paying cash for cars they commandeer and shooting any looters in their ranks, witnesses say -- the western rebels have been violent and rapacious. Yet after five months in rebel hands, Bouake has hardly become a paradise. Government offices are not functioning. Businesses are boarded up. Children have not been able to attend school. Half the town's population has left. Because banks are not open, money is scarce and residents barter household items for food. From time to time, even the rebels have had to trade a goat for a case of orange soda, or swap a bunch of sneakers for cigarettes. Their leaders live in abandoned government buildings; most sleep on the floor or on thin mats. They say they have enabled the impoverished, mostly Muslim north to break away from the more prosperous south and that they are creating a government of their own. But half the country is still waiting and worrying that dwindling food reserves will soon run out. "Of course, all of the official systems are not there," said Michele Page, who is working in Bouake with the U.N. World Food Program. "And there is a real sense from the people that the community wants to get back to normal. But there is also a real belief that the MPCI group is allowing them to do that." Aid agencies said the rebels have encouraged leaders in the north to organize temporary schools, return to prayer services and shop at the market. On Jan. 27, a local aid group called School for All started 12 pilot programs of several hours of school a day. There are few books or in-depth lessons, but parents say it is better than having their children sit around all day in the heat. "The rebels aren't bad to us at all," said Marie Songo, who sells eggs in the market and has three children. "We actually prefer them to anyone else." Some express worry that the rebels lack the skills to run a government -- though they say the same about President Laurent Gbagbo and his administration. "We are unsure what skills the rebels have, but we're also unsure what skills the Ivorian government has," said Drumtra of the U.S. Committee for Refugees. "This was brewing for a number of years." The rebels say their agenda and motives are sincere and that they want only what they have asked for since Sept. 19: better representation of southerners in the government. Their television station, which broadcasts news from both their network and the government's, has been lauded for presenting a balanced picture in a country where journalism is often combined with political views. "We want an end to xenophobia. We want the Ivory Coast to be one again," said Sgt. David Konate , a founding member of the MPCI, who invited everyone to go out dancing. "We will go to America and fight for our beliefs if we have to. We don't mind." While he spoke, Seraphin's camcorder was rolling. A group of women were cheering. But the town was silent and waiting.

AFP 10 Mar 2003 At least 60 killed in fighting in western Ivory Coast: sources ABIDJAN, March 10 (AFP) - At least 60 civilians were killed in fighting on Friday in western Ivory Coast, diplomatic and military sources in Abidjan said Monday, as a new "security council" set up to end a six-month war prepared to meet for the first time on Tuesday. Diplomatic and military sources in Abidjan said most of the bodies in the town of Bangolo, where clashes took place on Friday, were mutilated or had their throats cut. Earlier Monday, an international committee monitoring the implementation of a French-mediated peace in Ivory Coast confirmed several deaths in a statement. The statement said that the commander of French peacekeeping forces in Ivory Coast, General Emmanuel Beth, had confirmed "that serious clashes in Bangolo (on March 7 and 8) had claimed numerous civilian lives." French forces enforcing a shaky ceasefire in Ivory Coast had disarmed and apprehended several people after the fighting, said the statement by the committee, which is led by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special envoy to Ivory Coast, Albert Tevoedjre. Meanwhile, a 15-member "security council" set up to monitor the sensitive defence and interior ministries in a new power-sharing government to end the war which has split the world's leading cocoa producer was set to meet in the political capital of Yamoussoukro, the president's office said. Ivory Coast's new Prime Minister Seydou Diarra said the composition of a new government would be revealed in Yamoussoukro on Thursday. President Laurent Gbagbo -- a member of the council which includes Diarra, members from the three rebel movements and seven political parties and the police, gendarmerie and army -- were scheduled to attend the meeting. The main rebel group said the three insurgent movements would be represented at the meeting. "Security for the meeting will be assured conjointly by the French and Ivorian armies," said Lieutenant-Colonel Philippe Perret, head of the 3,000-strong French peacekeeping force in Ivory Coast. At talks in the Ghanaian capital Accra at the weekend, the main rebel group dropped its claims to the security posts, opening the way to an agreement on a unity government in line with a French-brokered peace accepted by President Gbagbo in January. During two days of talks, seven Ivorian political parties and the three rebel movements, who between them control the north and west of Ivory Coast, hammered out an agreement on the government, the creation of which is seen as crucial to restoring peace in the west African nation. On Saturday, they agreed to give rebels two posts, including the communications ministry, in the new government, and to set up the "security council" in charge of the security ministries. "

Mar. 10, 2003 Ivory Coast Army Denies Alleged Massacre AUSTIN MERRILL Associated Press ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast - After the discovery by French forces of "numerous dead" in a disputed region in the western part of the country, the Ivory Coast's army Monday rejected rebel claims that they were responsible for a massacre there. The claims came as the government said it was close to forming a unity government called for in the West African nation's shaky January peace deal. French army spokesman Lt. Col. Philippe Perret said French soldiers dispatched to Bangolo, in the cocoa- and coffee-rich western reaches of the former French colony, had seen "numerous dead" and evidence of significant violence. The region is contested by several rebel and pro-government groups. Perret could not confirm the number of casualties or the parties responsible. "We had nothing to do with that," Ivorian army spokesman Lt. Col. Jules Yao Yao said. "The chaos out west worries all of us, but we don't know who" is responsible for the killings. Western rebel commander Felix Doh, reached via satellite telephone in the area of Man, about 30 miles north of Bangolo, accused government forces of killing hundreds of civilians, calling it a `criminal" act. Western Ivory Coast has grown increasingly unstable over the past weeks as fighters from neighboring Liberia - notorious for their drug use and indiscriminate violence - have joined in the fighting. About 3,000 French troops are stationed in Ivory Coast to monitor a shaky cease-fire and protect foreign nationals. The front between the Ivorian army and rebels from the north has been largely quiet in recent months, although sporadic fighting continues to be reported in the country's west. A 1999 coup in Ivory Coast shattered decades of prosperity and calm in the West African nation. Since then the country has been plagued by political and economic instability. The current rebellion, which began on Sept. 19 with a failed coup attempt, has displaced more than 1 million people, according to the United Nations. Presidential spokesman Toussaint Alain said Monday the government estimates the war has killed at least 3,000 people, blaming Liberian fighters in the west for the most serious violence. Meanwhile, in the commercial center Abidjan, Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo met Monday with officials from the United Nations, African Union and a West African economic bloc to discuss an agreement reached over the weekend concerning the allotment of ministry posts in a reconciliation government. A coalition government was first proposed in a Jan. 24 French-brokered peace accord, but has yet to be implemented. Prime Minister Seydou Diarra - appointed as part of the peace accord - said the new government would be revealed in the political capital, Yamoussoukro, on Thursday. Rebel leader Guillaume Soro said late Monday that all rebel movements would be represented in meetings with Ivorian government officials in Yamoussoukro starting on Tuesday to begin selecting individuals for ministry posts. It would be the first official trip for rebel leaders into government-held territory since the conflict began. "

BBC 10 Mar 2003 Ivory Coast deaths confirmed President Laurent Gbagbo has the final say on any peace deal French troops in Ivory Coast say they have found evidence of extensive killings in the town of Bangolo, in the west of the country. A French army spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Philippe Perret, said the evidence of violence was very visible and had clearly affected many people. But he would not confirm a statement by rebel forces in the area that more than 200 civilians had been killed. News of the violence could put at risk an agreement on power-sharing reached between the government and rebel forces on Saturday. The leader of the Mpigo rebel group, Felix Doh, whose troops control Bangolo, claimed that the massacre specifically targeted civilians and blamed loyalist militia fighting alongside Liberian mercenaries for committing it. The Ivorian army has denied these claims. They have sugegested Liberian rogue groups may be to blame. Threat to peace process Rebel commander Ousmane Coulibaly said the victims were mostly foreigners and Ivorians from the mainly Muslim north. IVORY COAST CONFLICT Hundreds killed More than a million displaced 3,000 French peacekeepers Nation divided in two Power sharing deal still to work Who are the rebels? "I asked the French to come and see the dead. There is an entire Dioula neighbourhood that was decimated. All the houses are full of bodies, only the imam escaped alive," he told Reuters news agency from Bangolo. "There are more than 200 bodies, maybe 300. And there are more corpses in the bush," he said. Shortly after the attack, late on Friday night, French troops based on the road south of Bangolo detained 110 armed men. The group, made up of Ivorian militia and Liberian mercenaries, admitted to being pro-government forces called the "Lima" group. Mr Doh now says that his troops may now be obliged to respond. In an ambiguous statement, he said that if the international community did not react effectively, then he would. It was a direct threat to the peace process that up until now has been making positive strides forward. Less than 48 hours ago rebels agreed with ruling party politicians on the formation of a new unity government. The deal gives nine out of the 41 portfolios to the three rebel factions and seven to the main opposition party RDR. A key aprt of the agreement is the creation of a 15-member security council which will take responsibility for defence and interior issues. However, the deal has still to be approved by President Laurent Gbagbo.

AFP 12 Mar 2003 Ivory Coast to take atrocity cases to new world court YAMOUSSOUKRO, Ivory Coast, March 12 (AFP)- Ivory Coast decided Wednesday to take alleged atrocities committed during its six-month war to the new UN permanent war crimes court, by way of the UN Security Council, a source close to President Laurent Gbagbo said. The government will press the Security Council to bring a suit before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague regarding human rights abuses committed in Ivory Coast since a rebel war began there on September 19 last year, the source said. The aim would be to have the ICC "identify, track down and try those who ordered and perpetrated atrocities committed on Ivorian territory and falling within its senior jurisdiction," said an official statement, the content of which was made known to AFP. The demand was issued by Ivory Coast's permanent representative to the United Nations, Philippe Djangone Bi. Numerous serious abuses of human rights have been reported behind both rebel and government lines since the conflict began, dividing the west African country in two. In Ghana at the weekend, the rival Ivorian sides sealed a breakthrough agreement lifting obstacles barring the formation of an interim government by Prime Minister Seydou Diarra, who formally took office on Monday. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on Tuesday attended a ceremony in The Hague where 18 ICC judges were sworn in to sit on the new UN court, established as the world's first permanent tribunal for war crimes. International rights group Amnesty International recently issed a report on the summary execution of 60 pro-government gendarmes on Ivorian rebel territory, while the United Nations released a report that said there were possible links between "death squads" active in Abidjan and Gbagbo's entourage. Gbagbo has denied any links with the so-called "death squads" and alleged that accusations were part of a smear campaign to discredit him and his wife Simone, a powerful force in the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) ruling party. Ivory Coast is not among the 89 countries which have ratified the Rome Treaty of 1998 setting up the ICC. Thus, rather than lodging a case directly with the ICC as other countries have done, it must initially go through the UN Security Council, which is also empowered to file suits. The ICC's prosecutor, yet to be appointed, will also be entitled to initiate legal proceedings. Late February, Ivory Coast said it would file a suit at the ICC against what it claims is a politically motivated and biased United Nations report denouncing government-backed death squads. "The Republic of Ivory Coast has decided to file a suit at the ICC in the wake of persecution committed after a coup bid on September 18 against the legally and democratically elected government," lawyers Pierre Haik and Eric Sossah stated. The communique said Ivory Coast would "seek a complete and impartial probe ... into all human rights violations". A report following a visit by UN Deputy Human Rights Commissioner Bertrand Ramcharan said the "death squads in Ivory Coast comprised people close to the government, the presidential guard and a tribal militia" from Gbagbo's Bete ethnic group. The United Nations, United States and France have criticised the existence of the death squads and warned that they were liable for prosecution and punishment in international courts.

BBC 18 Mar 2003 Ivorian opposition return home Ouattara is yet to return to Ivory Coast Senior members of the main opposition party in Ivory Coast have returned to the country to take their places in the new government aimed at ending the six-month civil war. Rally for Republicans (RDR) members landed in the commercial capital Abidjan on Tuesday morning, amidst tight security provided by West African peacekeepers. Amongst the group of returning politicians were the newly appointed Ministers of Justice and Agriculture, Henriette Diabate and Amadour Gon Coulibaly. They are due to take their posts in a new unity government which includes rebels and political opposition parties. Only half the members of the new government, attended its first meeting last week, citing security concerns and logistical problems. The next cabinet meeting is on 20 March in the capital, Yamoussoukro. 'Significant breakthrough' The leader of the party and former prime minister, Alassane Ouattara, who fled the country when his house was torched, has not returned to the Ivory Coast. A spokesman for the RDR in the UK told the BBC's Network Africa programme that their concern now is for the security of their ministers. Diarra has been asked to ensure the security of ministers He said: "We ask the prime minister to take all necessary precaution. We want to make sure that after their cabinet meetings our ministers can go home without anyone knocking on their doors during curfew hours, take them away and kill them". However, the BBC's correspondent in Abidjan Kate Davenport said their arrival is a very significant breakthrough and it shows that the RDR seemed "satisfied with the security arrangements". The formation of the new government, lead by Prime Minister Seydou Diarra, had hung in the balance until peace talks in Ghana two weeks ago. At that meeting the main northern rebel group agreed to give up the controversial positions of defence and interior as stated in the French-brokered peace plan in January. "Security council" A new 15-member "security council" has been agreed to oversee the running of the army, the police and the para-military gendarmerie. NEW GOVERNMENT Gbagbo's FPI: 10 seats Former ruling PDCI: 10 seats RDR: 7 seats Main MPCI rebels: 7 seats Western rebels: 2 seats Others: 5 seats Q&A: Why the fighting? Our correspondent says rebels have in recent days been appearing on state television, something which she adds, would have been unthinkable at the height of the violent pro-government protests two months ago. The arrival of the main opposition leaders comes as the government of President Laurent Gbagbo rejected a UN report blaming its forces for the massacre of about 100 people in the town of Bangolo earlier this month. Deputy Defence Minister Bertin Kadet said there was no link between regular Ivorian forces and Liberian guerrillas who are believed to have carried out the killings. He accused French forces of deliberately trying to blame his forces for massacres committed by Ivorian rebels. Million displaced The report, which was presented to the United Nations on Friday, was based on statements given by French troops, who arrested over a hundred Liberians on the night of the killings. The main MPGI rebels, who took up arms against President Gbagbo last September, control the largely Muslim north, where support is strong for the RDR. The south remains under the control of Mr Gbagbo. During the rebellion, several Muslims and opposition sympathisers have been killed in government-controlled areas. Hundreds of people have been killed and more than a million displaced in the conflict, which has worsened ethnic and religious rivalries in Ivory Coast. Former colonial power France has some 3,000 peacekeepers monitoring a ceasefire.

ICRC 19 Mar 2003 Press Release 03/17 Côte d'Ivoire: Four Red Cross volunteers found dead Geneva (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was deeply shocked to learn of the death of four volunteers of the Red Cross Society of Côte d'Ivoire who worked for the local branch in Toulepleu, a town in the western part of the country. The bodies of Gonzreu Kloueu, his son Thierry, Te Goue and Vally Camara, all missing since 12 January 2003, have just been found and identified. According to initial reports, the four volunteers were abducted by armed men while carrying out their duties. The ICRC extends its deepest sympathy to the families of the deceased and to all the volunteers of the Red Cross Society of Côte d'Ivoire. The organization calls for an immediate investigation into the circumstances of this tragic incident and for new security guarantees enabling Red Cross personnel to pursue their efforts to meet the urgent needs of people living in the Toulepleu area.

DR Congo

IRIN 7 ar 2003 Kampala, Kinshasa say UPC claims of Bunia massacres "are false" - The Uganda People's Defence Forces and the Kinshasa government have dismissed claims by the leader of the Union des patriotes congolais (UPC), Thomas Lubanga, that they massacred residents of Bunia in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as the Ugandan military and allied Lendu militias drove out the UPC from the city on Thursday. "Of course these allegations are false - he [Lubanga] is the one who attacked us," Maj Shaban Bantariza, the Ugandan military spokesman, told IRIN on Friday from Kampala. "There were no massacres. There is no trouble at present in Bunia. You can walk around town freely." As for the Lendu militias, Bantariza said the Ugandan military had stopped them from pillaging. Lubanga told IRIN on Friday that after his troops had withdrawn from Bunia, Ugandan soldiers, among whose ranks he alleged were members of the Forces armees congolaises (FAC), "went on to massacre the population and pillage the town" as Ugandan tank crews who had been mobilised for the attack sat and watched. Lubanga said the killings targeted UPC collaborators and people of the Hema community, to which he belongs. "They pillaged basically all of the merchants of our ethnic group who were sustaining the bulk of economic activity in the city," he said. Lubanga, whose fighters were routed after several hours of intense combat, said he was camped eight kilometres outside Bunia, from where he planned "to continue to fight the foreign occupation". No independent figures regarding numbers of killed and wounded are yet available. However, UPC allies, the Rwandan-backed Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD-Goma), reported on Friday a preliminary toll of the fighting in Bunia as 500 deaths, most of whom were of civilians. Lubanga accused the Ugandan military of covering-up the killings. "This morning, Ugandan troops forced the population to gather all corpses and load them on trucks which brought them to the airport. This was done to erase all evidence [of killings]," he said. Bantariza, however, dismissed these accusations. "There are no dead in town, because there was no resistance," he said. "The UPDF suffered only one fatality while the UPC was shelling our positions outside of Bunia." Lubanga also denounced the reported arrival of several large cargo aircraft bringing additional Ugandan troops. For its part, the RCD-Goma concurred with Lubanga's allegations that Kinshasa had sent forces to Bunia. "Beginning at 04:20 GMT, the Ugandan army deployed its arsenal of heavy artillery and tanks and other armoured vehicles mounted with heavy armaments from the National Airport of Bunia and began to pillage the city," Jean-Pierre Lola Kisanga, an RCD-Goma spokesman, said in a communique issued on Friday. At the same time, he added, along the axis of Bogoro, south of Bunia, a government army regiment that included elements of the Armee du peuple congolais (the army of Mbusa Nyamwisi’s RCD-Kisangani/Mouvement de liberation) and ethnic Ngiti-Lendu fighters launched attacks on UPC positions 17 km south of Bunia. Kisanga said several public and private buildings were also destroyed. Because of this fighting in Bunia, RCD-Goma withdrew from peace talks that were nearing conclusion on Thursday in Pretoria, South Africa. However, they returned later in the evening and added their signature to two agreements - one on a transitional constitution, the other on the formation of a unified national army - that had been signed by all other parties to the inter-Congolese dialogue. Meanwhile, the Kinshasa government said its army was not even present in Bunia. "There are no government troops in Ituri or Bunia," Luaba Ntumba, the minister for human rights, told IRIN on Friday. He recalled that the Luanda agreement of 6 September 2002 signed by presidents Joseph Kabila of the DRC and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda accorded responsibility for security in Bunia to the Ugandan military. "It is for this reason that Uganda maintained two battalions there," he said. "However, according to the most recent agreement reached on 11 February in Dar es Salaam, Ugandan forces must leave the city by the end of March, to be replaced by the national police." Bantariza expressed a similar point of view. "We are doing what we can to see the IPC [Ituri Pacification Commission] is put in place as per the Luanda accord signed by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and DRC President Joseph Kabila, so that we can withdraw from the Congo," he said. "If stability and peace can be brought to this region, we can then begin the nationwide peace process," Ntumba added. The UPC, however, feels that this process cannot take place for so long as it is not taken into account. "They want to unify all of the armed factions without us, but what will become of the 12,000 armed men under our control?" Lubanga said. He was reacting to the agreement reached on Thursday by all parties to the inter-Congolese dialogue on the transitional constitution and unified national army. UPC was not a party to these talks, nor was it a signatory of the 17 December 2002 peace accord reached in Pretoria.

AFP 11 Mar 2003 UN rights rapporteur wants special court for DR Congo KINSHASA, March 11 (AFP) - The United Nations' rapporteur on human rights in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Julia Motoc, has pressed the government to set up a special court for crimes against humanity committed between 1996 and 2002. "The time has come to put an end to impunity in Democratic Republic of Congo and I believe that a special court for the Congo will be important in judging those responsible for crimes," Motoc said late Monday. In a three-day trip to the vast country emerging from a war which embroiled half a dozen African nations at its height, Motoc on Saturday had talks with President Joseph Kabila. She then headed eastwards to Kisangani in Orientale province, Bukavu in Sud-Kivu and Goma in Nord-Kivu, which lie more than 1,300 kilometres (800 miles) from the capital, in territory controlled by Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD) rebels. Motoc said she had pressed Kabila to go ahead with a plan to scrap by the end of March the country's Court of Military Order, set up under his late father's regime and which fails to meet the standards of international law. The tribunal, whose judgements are without appeal apart from presidential clemency, in January sentenced 30 people to death in a mass trial of suspects in the murder of president Laurent Kabila in January 2001. The office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is already working on proposals for a DRC court which would "try to punish those who committed crimes against humanity," Motoc said. Under the proposal, judges appointed by the Kinshasa government would sit alongside others selected by the international community, added Motoc, who comes from Romania. Setting up such a tribunal would call for a complete reform of the justice system and training schemes for judges, the rapporteur said, but "programmes are already in hand to reform the Congolese judiciary". Motoc added that these programmes had Kabila's support, but the UN was still urging his government to reverse a decision to suspend a moratorium on the death penalty. Major DRC players in the war that began in August 1998, the year after then rebels led by Laurent Kabila toppled the kleptocratic dictatorship of Mobutu Sese Seko, have accused each other of war crimes, including the massacres of civilians and cannibalism.

Guardian UK 11 Mar 2003, Congo cannibalism claim provides first challenge, James Astill in Nairobi The first case likely to be heard by the international criminal court involves allegations of cannibalism. A UN investigation found evidence that the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC), which controls much of the north of the country, had massacred and eaten civilians. It was referred to the international criminal court by Congo's government and the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), a French non-governmental organisation. A second complaint deals with the MLC's incursion into the Central African Republic last year, at the invitation of its besieged president, Ange-Felix Patasse. The FIDH has accused both Mr Patasse and Jean-Pierre Bemba, the leader of the MLC, of sponsoring war crimes and crimes against humanity, including the massacre of civilians outside the Central African Republic's capital, Bangui. The MLC's alleged crimes in Ituri province were reported by UN investigators in language framed to suggest genocide: in an operation codenamed "Clean the Slate", its fighters swept through the province, murdering, raping and putting more than 150,000 people to flight. "The operation was presented to the people almost like a vaccination campaign, envisioning the looting of each home and the rape of each woman," said Patricia Tome, a spokeswoman for the UN ceasefire monitoring mission in Congo. "They cut out the hearts and other organs of their victims and forced families to eat them. One little girl was executed, cut into little pieces and then eaten." With Congo's government exerting little control outside the capital Kinshasa, and its legal system incompetent, Mr Bemba's case may seem a perfect curtain raiser for the new international criminal court. Yet Congo analysts remain sceptical. Few of the nine national armies, six main rebel groups, and hordes of local militias who have fought in Congo's four-year war have avoided accusations of similar atrocities - raising questions over why Mr Bemba should be singled out. The government referred Mr Bemba to the court this year while in the middle of fraught power-sharing negotiations, but since he agreed to trade his territory for a vice-presidency last week it has been suspiciously silent on the matter. Moreover, even if charges are filed against Mr Bemba, it is unclear who would bring him to justice. He is almost as powerful in Congo as President Joseph Kabila. The UN mission in Congo, meanwhile - which has proved the most expensive in history, costing around pounds 375m a year - has shown no appetite for confrontation.

AFP 17 Mar 2003 Civilians bear the brunt of conflict in DR Congo by Vincent Mayanja BUNIA, Democratic Republic of Congo, March 17 (AFP) - Marie Dwagani, 24, whose foot was recently blown off when she stepped on a landmine in this Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) town, sat groaning in what must be excruciating pain. The mother of two stepped on a landmine as she ran for her life on March 6 when fighting erupted between Ugandan troops and the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), a small rebel group. "We decided to dip her leg in salt solution so that it does not become septic and remove the shrapnel and dirt in her flesh," said a member of staff in Bunia hospital. Aid agencies said this week that up to 60 people were killed during the fighting and 200 others were wounded. Thirteen-year-old Rehema Milka escaped death narrowly when two bullets hit her. "I was in the house when gunshots started then I felt a sharp thing hitting me on the head and the other on the shoulder," she said. Antoinette Manyosi, 47, also lost her leg when she stepped on a landmine in January. Forty people were admitted in Bunia hospital on March 6 with bullet wounds and more than 200 others were treated and discharged. The sprawling hospital lacks facilities, medicines and trained personnel. Bunia lies in the Ituri province, a strife-torn region which borders on Uganda. Despair has left some people nostalgic of the calm that prevailed during the regime of Mobutu Sese Seko, the dictator who reigned over what was then called Zaire from 1965 to 1997. "Mobutu gave us peace, but now people are suffering and the situation is catastrophic," said Mileyo Lotiyo Misaka, the governor of Ituri. "We have no schools, roads have broken down, hospitals have no medicine and we have lots of diseases," Misaka told a group of visiting Ugandan journalists. Typhoid, meningitis, malaria and cholera have become major killers in the area, he added. Hospital superintendent Pascal Mbokawa said he has not received his salary from Kinshasa for several years and that to keep the facility running, each patient is charged a fee. "Some relief agencies help by providing some medicines to the hospital so that we can handle cases here," said Mbokawa. Tribal clashes have made it impossible for relief agencies to have access to people outside Bunia town. in Ituri, where people had been living together more or less peacefully for generations, recent years have seen the ethnic groups' disputes over land and power escalate into raids and counter-raids that claimed thousands of lives and forced many thousands more to flee their homes. Most of the fighting in the region has pit ethnic Hema against their Lendu rivals. Kampala first sent troops to the area in 1998, to back a rebellion against the regime of late DRC president Laurent Kabila and to counter the threat of Ugandan Allied Democratic Forces insurgents who reportedly had bases in the region.

IRIN 18 Mar 2003 Ituri ceasefire deal signed KINSHASA - Delegates of the Ugandan and Congolese government, different rebel groups, and ethnic militia operating in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) signed a ceasefire accord on Tuesday in Bunia, the principal city in Ituri District of Orientale Province. The ceremony was presided over by Amos Namanga Ngongi, the UN secretary-general's special representative to the country. Diplomats accredited to the DRC were also present, including the envoy of Angola, which mediated the 6 September 2002 accord between presidents Joseph Kabila of the Congo and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda. The UN Mission in the DRC, known as MONUC, said the ceasefire would be followed on Thursday by the establishment of a preparatory committee for the establishment of the long-awaited Ituri Pacification Commission. Formation of the commission has been delayed several times by fighting between various rebel factions and militias. The withdrawal from the DRC of all Ugandan troops, who now control Bunia after booting out its erstwhile allies of the Union des patriotes congolais (UPC), is only expected after a Congolese local administration is established in the city. This is an issue due to be discussed by the Ituri commission. "Ethnic [community] leaders and the representatives of different armed movements will be involved in this process," Hamadoun Toure, the MONUC spokesman, told IRIN. The issue of Uganda's troop withdrawal has been a source of mounting tension between Kampala and Kigali, which supports the Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie-Goma and its new ally, the UPC. Describing the Ugandan troops in the DRC as a threat to Rwanda's security, Kigali has threatened to redeploy its troops to eastern DRC. That possibility has prompted DRC Foreign Minister She Okitundu to describe the Rwandan threat as a maneouvre to provoke a "remake of the battle of Kisangani" that began there between Ugandan and Rwandan troops on 4 June 2000, thereby creating a split between once very close allies.


Al-Ahram 27 Feb. - 5 March 2003 Pulling the carpet Hani Mustafa speaks to Atom Egoyan, the director celebrated in Cairo's first Canadian Cinema Festival Though described by El-Sayed El-Desouqi, its director, as a forum for Canadian-Egyptian exchange, the first Canadian Cinema Festival, held in Cairo last week, offered only the work of the Armenian- Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan. Screenings were held at the Artistic Creativity Centre, Opera House Grounds, often in the presence of Egoyan, who arrived in Cairo from Germany where he headed the Berlin Film Festival. In this sense the event was a celebration of the director in the city of his birth (Egoyan was born in Cairo in 1960, living in Heliopolis until he emigrated with his family in 1963). With a more expansive programme upcoming rounds of the festival could better serve the purpose of introducing the work of Canadian filmmakers, though for the time being we must be content with a programme featuring only Egoyan, the highlight of which was the screening the director's latest film, Ararat. This opened the festival on 16 February -- it was screened in Cannes, outside the official competition, in 2002. The Sweet Hereafter, which won the special jury award at Cannes in 1997, and Exotica, which won the Cannes critics' award in 1994, were also included in the programme. Ararat would at first sight seem to be about the Armenian holocaust, an initial impression reinforced by the initial titles, displayed against the backdrop of an oil painting of a mother and child that gradually metamorphoses into a sepia tinted photograph of the same figures. Yet Egoyan, rather than undertake any form of documentation, extends instead a complex web of dramatic lines, each of which pursues the fate of one family, weaving a human narrative that is at odds with the opening scene. "The structure of the film is not confusing," Egoyan told Al-Ahram Weekly. "Actually, it is quite clear. But at the beginning you are not sure that these pieces are going to connect. The most complex part is about the relationship between the mother and the step daughter. There are a lot of relationships and each one has to be analysed. If you don't analyse the film it becomes difficult, but if you are willing and curious, it begins to resemble a carpet -- distinct strands woven together." The film opens at a Canadian airport with Edward (played by Armenian-French singer Charles Aznavour) intercepted by the customs officer, David (Christopher Plummer), who objects to Edward entering the country with a pomegranate -- symbol of Armenia -- since it is prohibited to import foodstuffs; Edward responds by eating the pomegranate in front of the officer. Many characters are then presented separately, without Egoyan giving any indication of the connection between them. One dramatic strand concerns Ani, an Armenian- Canadian woman in her 40s (played by Egoyan's wife Arsine Khanjian) and her relationship with her son Raffi (David Alby), from her first marriage, whose relationship with Celia, the daughter of her late (second) husband, is worrying her. This strand of the drama is in itself extremely complex. Ani, an art historian who has written a monograph on the Armenian-American painter Arshile Gorky, teaches art history and during lectures on Gorky, who committed suicide in 1948, is confronted by Celia who believes that it was Ani's relationship with her father that drove him to suicide. It is not a plot line that seems integrated with the rest of the film: apart from the link Celia forges between her father's suicide and that of Gorky, who lost his family in the holocaust in 1915, connections with the Armenian tragedy are barely developed. Raffi himself becomes the focus of several dramatic strands, as his step-sister's lover, desperately searching for the reasons why his father should have been killed during an aborted attempt to assassinate a Turkish diplomat. Egoyan's determination to weave a single carpet results in the forcing of connections: Edward, for example, is in Canada to work on a film about the holocaust. He solicits the help of Ani as an expert on Gorky, who witnessed events in Van as a child. Through Ani's intervention Raffi becomes part of the film team, working as a driver and deputy producer. David's son, meanwhile, is a security officer at the art museum where Gorky's double portrait of himself and his mother, based on the photograph in the opening sequence, is exhibited; in one scene he prevents Celia from slashing the painting following a clash with Ani. And David's son's half- Turkish friend, Ali, is cast as the head of the Turkish forces in Edward's film. The intermeshing of so many narrative strands is an attempt by the director to avoid turning what is obviously a film about the genocide into an unmediated piece of propaganda: "I am very aware that if the film just showed the genocide, and showed it for emotional reasons, it would be very easy to say it's propaganda. Now propaganda is simple, repetitive and doesn't generate questions, so I did the opposite. Maybe I went too far in showing that this is not propaganda, that it isn't necessarily the Armenian point of view. I wanted to create a form that would allow the issue to be discussed with some degree of distance, critical distance, but also with an understanding of the reality of living with the issue today. My biggest fear, and the easiest thing that could have happened would have been for the film to be dismissed as propaganda. If you look at the film Aznavour is making you will see what I mean. But having it within the larger setup shows how his generation, the survivors' children who were told such stories by their mothers, might come to see it that way." In seeking to make a film that might transcend both static violence and political statement Egoyan opted to allow the unravelling of the narrative threads non-chronologically. Scenes at the airport serve as an anchor within this complex structuring, as scenes shift from a filmed recreation of events in 1915 to Gorky painting in New York in the 1940s, to the encounters of the contemporary characters as they pass through customs. That between Raffi and David, which occurs midway through the film, is used both as an opportunity to illuminate related aspects of the narrative and as introduction to the eventual denouement. Raffi is holding film canisters that he tells David are exposed and cannot be opened. Their conversation clarifies several points, not least the nature of Raffi's involvement in Edward's project, and allows David a final act of magnanimity on his final day as a customs official. When, later in the film, it is clear that the canisters are full of heroin, David opts to let Raffi walk free, convinced that he did not know what he was carrying. Eschewing melodrama, Egoyan uses Edward's documentary to present historical scenes and though, on occasion, it is made deliberately obvious that the massacres are happening on a set, this does not render them any less harrowing. "I think I wanted to show how four generations interact," Egoyan says, "and even within each generation there are complicated stories. It is very ambitious, but it was necessary for me to tell the story this way. Maybe someone else would have found a simpler way of doing it."


Reuters 27 Feb 2003 Ethiopia drought may be worst since 1984 - US envoy By David Brough ROME (Reuters) - Ethiopia is probably facing its worst drought since the great famine of 1984 and will need a huge mobilisation of food aid to prevent famine again this year, Tony Hall, U.S. ambassador to the U.N. food agencies, said. Hall, a former Democrat congressman of Dayton, Ohio, has recently returned to his Rome base following a visit to Ethiopia with assistant administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development Roger Winter between February 15-21. "My visit there with Roger Winter confirmed that this year Ethiopia will experience probably its worst drought since 1984/85," Hall said in an open letter sent to Reuters and other organisations late on Wednesday. "I am strongly convinced, after visiting the Ethiopian countryside and seeing literally thousands of acutely malnourished children, that the international community must move immediately to provide the large quantities of food and non-food emergency assistance that will be necessary to prevent famine in Ethiopia again this year." Hall's remarks contrasted sharply with an interview he gave to Reuters in November in which he said Ethiopia was unlikely to be facing a crisis on the scale of the 1984 famine that killed nearly one million Ethiopians. According to Hall's report, 11.3 million victims of drought will require about 1.4 million tonnes of food aid in 2003, and an additional three million people will need to be closely monitored. "With 20 percent of Ethiopia's population at risk, unless deftly handled, 2003 could well become a crisis of similar magnitude to the catastrophe of 1984," Hall said. "Given the depth and wide geographic spread of the hunger, greater leadership and involvement of the United Nations at the country level is required," he added. "And donors need to be seized with a heightened sense of urgency." The scenes at feeding sites were ones of despair and tragedy, Hall said. "Mothers had nothing to offer their hungry children," he said. "Children who should have been playing had no energy to even move. Senior citizens looked decades older than they actually were." Ethiopia is once again faced with the threat of famine, Hall said. "It is even worse than I expected," he said. "There is a tremendous amount of malnutrition, and I am numbed by the sheer numbers of acutely malnourished children." The famine of 1984-85 was followed by serious food shortages in 1992, 1994, 2000 and 2002. Of the country's 67.2 million people, almost half -- 28 million -- live in deep and long-term poverty, and are vulnerable to drought, acute malnutrition and even starvation, Hall said.

IRIN 12 Mar 2003 Government blamed for ethnic conflict ADDIS ABABA, 12 Mar 2003 (IRIN) - Ethnic conflict is “spreading like wildfire” in Ethiopia because the government is failing to tackle the problem, according to a national human rights organisation. The Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO) urged the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) to crack down on tribal clashes. In its latest report, the organisation laid the blame for recent troubles between the Surma and Dizzi tribes who live in southwest Ethiopia at the door of the government. The latest clashes in the Bench and Maji zone occurred after a member of the Dizzi tribe was killed. In a revenge attack, two Surma were killed. The nomadic Surma then carried out another attack on Dizzi groups living in at least four local districts. More than 1,000 Dizzi tribe members fled their homes and some 31 people were killed in the clashes which broke out last July, according to the report. “The ethnic policy pursued by the EPRDF government badly undermined the culture and tradition of mutual respect and concern that held the two tribes together for years on end,” the report said. EHRCO said that groups carrying guns in areas where ethnic clashes occur should be disarmed and that elders should be used to calm down tensions. It also said that talks between the Dizzi and Surma tribes could ensure “an environment of mutual respect, peace and tranquility”


Accra Mail 14 Mar 2003 Ghanaian Elected Vice President of ICC, Mrs. Akua Kunhyehia, Dean of the Faculty of Law of the University of Ghana, Legon, who was recently elected to serve on the International Criminal Court (ICC), has also been elected as the first Vice President of the court. Nana Akuffo-Addo, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, on Monday made this known to newsmen on his arrival at the Kotoka Airport, Accra, from The Hague, Netherlands. He was in that country to attend the inauguration of the ICC as well as the induction of an 18-member, including Mrs Kunhyehia to serve on the court, where a Canadian was elected as president of the ICC. Nana Akuffo-Addo said the election of Mrs Kunhehyia had given Ghana's legal system a boost, adding that the government is determined to ensure that the rule of law is adhered to and that those who would violate the concept would be made to face the law. Mrs. Kunhyehia, who accompanied the Attorney-General back home, said when President Kufuor informed her of his intention, she quickly accepted it. "I feel humbled but challenged. This is a honour to Ghana, my family and President Kufuor who nominated me." She said the court would try only individuals and not states, adding that she would work hard to make Ghana proud.


Daily Nation (Kenya) News Analysis Sunday, March 9, 2003 Does Kenya really need a reconciliation commission? By SUNDAY NATION Team "And You Shall Know the Truth, And the Truth Shall Set You Free." The ringing words of the Gospel of John (8:32) were, in our time, echoed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who wrote in the foreword to the report of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which he chaired: "There can be no healing without truth". True enough, in Kenya, a national conversation - a debate - is taking shape about the propriety of holding a similar process here. The pressure has been welling up from human rights groups, pro-democracy activists and civil society groups. A common theme is that the wounds of the ethnic clashes and of the Mwakenya trials, and the truth of political murders like those of Dr Robert Ouko and J.M. Kariuki can best be confronted through the "moral carthasis" of a truth and reconciliation commission. The pressure for it has intensified with the grisly disclosures about the torture chambers at Nyayo House. The victims want their voices to be heard, and one of the twists they have pushed into the debate is whether they are merely owed some financial compensation for their sufferings, or whether the country owes itself a "collective healing" through a public forum where such evils would be openly confronted. And how about the victims of the ethnic clashes? What do we do about those who lost their lives? And what of those who lost their land? Do they get compensated, or should they be given alternative land? Truth and Reconciliation Commissions are not new. They have been established before in countries as disparate as Sierra Leone and East Timor, where the common denominator is a compelling imperative to exorcise and come to terms with an unpleasant past. The most famous precedent, one which Kenyan activists look most to, is the post-apartheid South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was chaired by Archbishop Tutu, winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace. These are countries with a unique past of repression and impunity, and the question has been raised whether the Kenyan experience, however deplorable, mirrors the extraordinary situation created by apartheid. In other words, is Kenya so badly torn that it needs a truth and reconciliation commission? Could we be setting ourselves up for a process of revenge and witch-hunting in the name of national healing? The argument is by no means settled. But for people like Mr George Kegoro, the Law Society of Kenya secretary, a truth commission is a necessity. "We have had some extraordinary happenings in our past history, like the ethnic clashes, and even perhaps Goldenberg. I think the Narc government, despite their own internal contradictions, will have to set up such a commission. The question is, is there an overwhelming public demand for it?" Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Kiraitu Murungi, under whose docket the establishment of such a panel would fall, has yet to give a categorical direction to this question although, in fairness, he has not ruled out its formation either. He has met some of the groups agitating for a truth commission, and the impression he has given them is that the matter is definitely on the cards. "He is quite serious about it," according to constitutional lawyer Kathurima M'Inoti, a partner in a legal firm where Mr Murungi, before his induction to government, was a senior partner. Subukia MP Koigi wa Wamwere is one of those figures who went through the brutal baptism of the Nyayo House chambers. He has also in the past found himself on the receiving end of the repressive legal regime that surrounded ethnic clashes in his native Nakuru District. Not surprisngly, he has been among the most vocal proponents of an all-inclusive mechanism of transitional justice. "There can never be reconciliation without justice," Mr Wamwere says. "Victims will acknowledge equality with, and concede humanity to, their former oppressors, torturers and killers of their children, parents, brothers and sisters only if justice is given." How will this justice be ensured? Mr Wamwere draws from the classic underpinning of Archbishop Tutu's commission when he says: "A person can never seek forgiveness if he clings to what he stole. That can never be an expression of remorse. To express genuine remorse, a wrongdoer must admit crime, express sorrow and ask for forgiveness." This view is not a new one. It is widely shared among those who consider themselves victims, and those others who have taken up the debate. Neither is it a new view that certain crimes of the past simply defy straightforward prosecution. For the converted, they are looking ahead to actual mechanisms and modes of restitution. Mr Nzamba Kitonga, a senior counsel and a former Law Society of Kenya chairman, expresses a widely shared view within the legal fraternity that there should be a two-tier system of transitional justice. "There are those injustices that happened a while ago, and where tracing back the evidence would not be easy. For example, there have been the past political murders. One might form a general idea of government culpability, but actual details of who ordered what, who pulled the trigger, might not come that easily. For these, we need a mechanism for redress like a truth commission, even if the redress is [only] emotional." For the second tier, he puts "those other crimes which can't wait for such a commission and must be dealt with through criminal justice. Those who have stolen public funds, or grabbed land, must be dealt with through criminal prosecution. Nobody should get this idea that you can steal and escape through a truth and reconciliation commission." A similar line was taken by NCCK general secretary, the Rev Mutava Musyimi, who told the Sunday Nation: "Maybe the thing to do is to separate economic crimes from human right crimes. With the latter, you get an entry point for a truth and reconciliation commission. Issues sorrounding the Wagalla Massacre [in North Eastern Province in 1984] or the Nyayo torture chambers are better dealt with in a non-prosecutorial way. Up to a point, you need some space for amnesty. If we have learnt anything from Arusha and Nuremberg, it is that restitution and prosecution do not always bring healing." Resolving these painful issues The Rev Musyimi was referring to the ongoing Arusha tribunal on the Rwandan genocide and the post-World War II Nuremberg trials set up by the victors to punish top Nazi figures. The uniqueness of the South African Truth Commission was that it granted amnesty to applicants who were ready to make full disclosure of their political crimes. Thus, the commission was able to draw up a rounded picture from the information supplied not just by victims but the perpetrators as well. But could there be another mechanism of resolving these painful issues of the past that does not necessarily involve creating a new-fangled commission? Mr P.L.O. Lumumba, the secretary to the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission, points to the Eighth Schedule of the Draft Constitution prepared by the CKRC which, under the heading Transitional and Consequential Provisions, provides a mechanism for handling the issues of truth and reconciliation. "That provides a framework, based on the views given by Kenyans, to confront the issue of transitional justice, of ethnic clashes, of human rights abuses, and of land ownership," he told the Sunday Nation. To lend support to this view is Mr Gibson Kamau Kuria, a senior counsel who has written prolifically on the issue of truth and reconciliation. Dr Kuria agrees that the Draft Constitution's provisos can be used towards the same end. His point of divergence, however, is that the draft approaches the complex question of restitution and recompense too narrowly and legalistically as one of simply charging culprits, resettling victims of ethnic clashes, and so on. "A truth and reconciliation commission is based on the view that large-scale violations have taken place which the existing legal process is inadequate to confront. People are focusing on criminal justice while the issue is much wider," argues Dr Kuria. Indeed, it can be said that the approach adopted by the Akiwumi Commission on Tribal Clashes [which was appointed in June in 1998] with regard to reconstitution was similarly legalistic. The whole debate concerning a truth commission rests on the argument that much as the issue of ethnic clashes raised inescapable questions of criminal culpability, there is also the need to look at the problem from the wider, political level. In other words, while victims expect first and foremost the perpetrators to be punished, they also expect a measure of compensation and restitution. Wider issues of amnesty Above all, the the country is assumed to be ready for a climate of general reconciliation and forgiveness. But Mr Lumumba does not contest this argument. If anything, he is the first to agree that the Draft Constitution is legalistic, but only because the drafting of such documents takes this hue. "First of all, you need a legal framework, a legal organ to operate under. From there you can enact and confer powers to that organ to enable it to deal with those wider issues of amnesty and reconciliation. It is the nature of constitutions not to be written in fine detail. One can always enact special legislation to give relevant constitutional provisos meat." In the end, the lawyer, who has a reputation for oratorical flourish, says his commission and the crusaders for a truth and reconciliation panel are speaking the same language, essentially. "It doesn't have to be called a truth and reconciliation commission. That nomenclature was South African. You can have a structure that deals with the same issues but which has been created differently." Dr Kuria makes more or less the same point that once the crucial aspect of disclosure and reconciliation is factored into the review draft, the whole issue of creating a truth and reconciliation commission could well become redundant. There may well be a problem in having a truth commission which is seen not to jell with the overall work of the constitutional review. The Rev Musyimi would prefer a timetable where the ongoing constitutional review work is first brought to closure. According to him, "you don't want two major national processes crowding each other. You don't want to go into an overkill and set up something that will try to do everything." Inevitably, the question of a truth commission's composition would have to be dealt with. There is wide consent within the concerned fraternity that such a commission must be quasi-legal in structure. It need not comprise exclusively judges and lawyers and advocates, but it must have a strong legal capacity nonetheless. The very fact that its scope is beyond the law, it must bring in other eminent players, be they clergymen or politicians who command wide respect. If it is reconciliation the country truly seeks, then such a commission must have a really powerful symbol, like Archbishop Tutu was for the South African Commission. A while back, the Kenya Human Rights Commission had floated well-known names of clergymen it thought could chair such a commission. There was no unanimity on the list. The Rev Timothy Njoya was there, too, but some of the people felt he is either too partisan or too clouded by the immediate past to be a fair mediator. Interestingly, the KHRC list did not include the Rev Musyimi. Despite [or perhaps because of] busying himself with matters of political and constitutional reform, the clergyman did not appeal to many fellow activists as suitable for that role. Matters touching on the gross financial scam called Goldenberg have now been put under a special tribunal headed by Appellate Judge S.E.O. Bosire. It is not quite clear how far a truth commission that is given unfettered remit would want to touch on this scandal, assuming the commission concluded the massive looting Goldenberg represented was part of the crimes it was probing. The tribunal earlier appointed to probe the conduct of immediate former Chief Justice Bernard Chunga was similarly expected to bring out some dark skeletons of the Mwakenya inquisition that Chunga prosecuted. In any truth and reconciliation process, Mwakenya torture victims have made it plain that they will seek that the issue be made a priority.

East African Standard (Nairobi) 8 Mar 2003 Officials Hid Genocide Suspects, Says Kalonzo Francis Openda Nairobi Foreign Affairs Minister Kalonzo Musyoka yesterday accused some top officials of the former Kanu government of shielding suspects of the Rwanda genocide. He expressed regret that some Government officials aided and assisted Rwanda's genocide suspects to evade justice. A top suspect in the genocide, Felicien Kabuga has been in the country since the genocide but last week Kalonzo said Kabuga had fled after the search for him was intensified. "We have every reason to believe he is no longer in the country. We are unable to catch him," said Kalonzo when he met a team of top US officials in the country for bilateral talks. Speaking in his office yesterday when he met Rwanda's Ambassador to Kenya, Seth Kamanzi, Kalonzo said the previous government mishandled the genocide tragedy. Similarly, he said, the precious regime did not adequately support the ongoing Arusha-based genocide tribunal. "The Narc Government is determined to correct the mistakes of the past by doing everything possible to assist the Rwanda people reconstruct their country," he said. Kamanzi said his country will support Kenya's bid for membership of the Nepad implementing committee. He equally sought Kenya's support for Rwanda's efforts to join the East African Community (EAC). Kamanzi said Rwanda's membership in EAC will be of benefit to the entire region. The envoy called for easy issuance of visas to Rwandese nationals travelling to Kenya. He added Kenya was Rwanda's leading trading partner in the region hence the need to ease travel. "Kenya is the number one source of imports from Rwanda accounting for 26 per cent of Rwanda's global imports," he said. Earlier Kalonzo bade farewell to outgoing Indonesia High Commissioner to Kenya Tupuk Sutrisno. Surutsino appealed to the Kenya Government to open an Embassy in Indonesia.


IRIN 17 Mar 2003 Civilians flee key central town MONROVIA, 17 Mar 2003 (IRIN) - An exodus of civilians from the central Liberian town of Gbarnga, 150 km north of the capital, Monrovia, began on Sunday as clashes intensified in nearby Gbalatua between government forces and Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) rebels. The exodus caused panic among other civilians in Kakata, the provincial headquarters of Margibi County on the Gbarnga-Monrovia highway, fleeing civilians told IRIN. Several roadblocks, they said, had been mounted by government soldiers on the highway to screen the displaced civilians. Several vehicles carrying heavily armed soldiers headed towards Gbarnga from Monrovia. At Monrovia's Paynesville and Red Light suburbs, some of the displaced said they heard heavy artillery fire as they fled, and that it had sounded nearby. The displaced included students from a Roman catholic minor seminary and health workers from Phebe Hospital, the only referral health institution in the area. They told IRIN on Monday that many of them had walked the whole distance after failing to get scarce public transport. A driver who usually travels on the route said commercial vehicles could not reach Gbarnga due to the "confusing situation" there. Gbarnga has been a military and political stronghold of President Charles Taylor. It was captured by the LURD in May 2002 but retaken by government soldiers within a month. The LURD have since been trying to recapture it again. Meanwhile, the Liberian government has asked its defence ministry to expand a team that is to investigate the circumstances surrounding the deaths of three aid workers of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) during a recent attack on Toe Town, near the Ivorian border. The government blamed the attack on Liberian mercenaries from nearby Cote d'Ivoire. The dead aid workers included Emmanuel Sharpolu and Musa Kita, Liberian nationals, and Kaare Lund of Norway. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan last week demanded a full inquiry into their deaths. Representatives of the European Union, the UN system in Liberia, the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, the National Bar Association and the Female Lawyers Association of Liberia are to be included on the team, a government statement said.

IRIN 24 MAr 2003 UNHCHR concerned about protection of civilians ABIDJAN, 24 Mar 2003 (IRIN) - The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) on Monday expressed profound concern at the continuing armed conflict in Liberia, its consequences and toll on the civilian population, the UNHCHR reported. In a statement, Sergio Vieira de Mello, urged all parties to the conflict "to commit themselves immediately to the protection of civilians, especially their physical integrity and the means necessary for their survival and exhorts them to resolve their differences peacefully within the context of the rule of law and democratic principles." The High Commissioner, the statement said, had continued to receive credible reports of serious abuses and violations of human rights and humanitarian law by both parties, including extrajudicial killings, torture, rape, deliberate targeting of civilians, abductions and forcible recruitment of children and displaced persons in camps. "Parties to the conflict should ensure respect for human rights and humanitarian law in areas under their control and in the conduct of hostilities. Where these abuses and violations occur, parties have an obligation to bring perpetrators to justice," UNHCHR said. "The High Commissioner underlines that there can be no impunity for violations of human rights and humanitarian law." UNHCHR endorsed an appeal by the Security Council and International Contact Group on Liberia to the Government of Liberia and the rebels of the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD), to enter into cease fire negotiations. The Liberian conflict has pitted government forces against the LURD since 1999 when the rebels took up arms to try and topple President Charles Taylor. Fighting has escalated in recent weeks, displacing thousands of people.

IRIN 26 Mar 2003 IDPs panic as fighting nears capital MONROVIA, (IRIN) - Fighting between Liberian government troops and rebels of the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) group was reported on Tuesday at Kley junction, 35 km from the capital, Monrovia, as the rebels moved closer to the capital. The sound of gunfire, which started at midday, caused panic among thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in several nearby camps including Ricks, Jah Tondo and Water-in-the-Desert. Residents of Monrovia were also worried and the main markets of Duala and Waterside were closed down. Cellular communication was interrupted briefly. Humanitarian sources said their staff were stopped by loyalist forces from driving out of the capital. Defence Minister Daniel Chea was quoted by Reuters as confirming the attack on Kley junction, which is the closest the rebels have come to Monrovia in recent weeks. Last week, fighting escalated in central Liberia as government forces attempted to retake Gbarnga, provincial capital of Bong County, from the rebels. Large numbers of government troops headed towards Gbarnga, 150 km north of Monrovia, on Saturday. Residents of the town and surrounding areas had fled earlier to Monrovia and Totota, and also to Ganta, 55 km north of Gbarnga on the Guinean border, the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported. Displaced people continued to arrive in Totota, 50 km southeast of Gbarnga, where an estimated 42,000 IDPs were being assisted. The IDPs, most of whom were from upper Bong and neighbouring Lofa County were being accomodated mainly in four camps. "These camps are overwhelmed by the new influxes and aid agencies are constructing new reception centres in a bid to accommodate the new arrivals. As of 18 March, 6,480 persons have been registered in camps," OCHA said in a situation report. LURD has been fighting since 1999 to topple President Charles Taylor.


Reuters 5 Mar 2003 Nigeria assassination raises oil region tensions By Daniel Balint-Kurti LAGOS, March 5 (Reuters) - The killing of a major opposition leader in Nigeria on Wednesday has raised fears of growing turbulence in the oil-rich southern Niger Delta area ahead of presidential elections due to take place next month. Marshall Harry, a key Niger Delta politician and opponent of President Olusegun Obansanjo, was shot at close range by unidentified gunmen at his house in the capital Abuja. The killing was the latest in a string of assassinations that have plagued Nigeria since its return to democracy from 15 years of military rule in 1999. Chima Ubani, the head of Nigeria's Civil Liberties Organisation, said Harry's killing was a bad omen for April's scheduled presidential and local elections. "I believe his killing, if not properly handled, could spark off reprisal violence and other sorts of violence within Rivers State," he said. Throughout the Niger Delta, indigenous people are demanding a greater share of the oil drilled in the region, which makes Nigeria the world's seventh largest oil producer and the fifth biggest supplier to the United States. The issue has dramatically raised political tensions in recent months and was a factor in violent riots last month in the oil city of Warri. "We are acutely worried about what appears to be the emerging pattern that killings such as this, suspected to be politically motivated, seem to be beyond the powers of the police to unravel," four non-governmental organisations in the Rivers State capital of Port Harcourt said on Wednesday. The groups said in a statement they would "refuse to accept any excuse" from police for not bringing the killers to justice. "MASS ACTION" THREATENED In last month's riots in Warri more than 20 people were killed, including members of the security forces. The riots were sparked by a row over delineation of local electoral wards, but were closely linked to distribution of government funds. Last week, militant youths from the Ijaw ethnic group in Warri threatened unspecified "mass action" by this Sunday if the government did not meet demands including the resolution of a long-running dispute over the sharing out of oil revenues. In the past, mass action by Ijaw youths has included kidnapping local and expatriate oil workers, seizing vehicles for ransom and disrupting the operations of oil firms. The major multinational oil companies operating around Warri are ChevronTexaco and Royal Dutch/Shell group. Hundreds of protesters took to the streets in a peaceful protest against the killing of Harry in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, witnesses said. Sam Idah, a spokesman for Harry's All Nigeria People's Party, claimed the assassination was aimed at preventing its candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, from winning the April 19 presidential election. He said the party would launch his presidential campaign in Port Harcourt on Saturday despite the murder.

This Day (Lagos) 12 Mar 2003 CAN Appeals for Calm Over Ethnic Clashes Onwuka Nzeshi Warri The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) yesterday rose in condemnation of the perennial ethnic conflicts in Warri with an appeal to the Delta State Government to address the issues in order to avoid further bloodshed and destruction of property. Executive members of CAN in Warri at a news conference, accused some unnamed elite members of the society of financing the fratricidal wars. CAN appealed to the war lords to desist from the inglorious act. Chairman of CAN in Warri and Bishop of the Warri Dioceses (Anglican Communion), Rev. Nathaniel Enuku, who addressed the press conference expressed dismay over the incessant ethnic clashes which had affected economic fortunes of the state. "Apart from the loss of lives and properly, we are losing our position of fame as the 'oil city'. Many companies are relocating to other places. Our once booming city has become a ghost city." If nothing is down to check the excesses of this daylight mass destruction and killing, the glory of God in Warri will be gone. "We have often blamed the youth for the destruction going on but the truth is that it is not only the youth themselves who raise money with which the sophisticated weapons, the sound of which we hear, are being purchased, the clergy alleged." Meanwhile, the CAN has commenced the distribution of relief materials to the families of those displaced by the last ethnic conflict in the city. Food stuffs with over a hundred thousand naria was conveyed to different refugee camps maintained by the churches yesterday.

Vanguard (Lagos) 12 Mar 2003 Wealthy Individuals Behind Warri Crises, Can Alleges Sola Adebayo Warri THE Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) (Warri and Environs) Delta State chapter, alleged yesterday that some unidentified wealthy persons were financing the unending Warri war. CAN at a news conference in Warri over the recent crisis in the oil city said some wealthy individual raised money to buy sophisticated weapons with which they equipped the youths to unleash terror on the defenseless and law abiding residents of the city. The branch CAN chairman, the Rt. Revered N. A. Enuku and acting Secretary, Reverend Eddy Ote - Bebor at the news conference on behalf of the body said "there are those who are financing the war. "We appeal to them to please channel their God - given wealth to other more profitable ventures with God's blessing." We also appeal to those who are making business with war, and those who believe that they are relevant only when there is war, especially those who engage in the purchase of arms and will like the war to go on, so that they can continue to make money out of human blood". Consequently, CAN asked the government to take a decisive action to prevent a recurrence of the inter-ethnic crisis in the oil city.Enuku and Eddy-ote - Bebor recalled that "not too long ago, we wrote a letter to the governor to call on the various groups to a peace meeting. "We are so glad to note that he did so, according to an announcement from Delta Radio Television (DRTV). But we are still using this medium to appeal to the Governor of the State - Chief James Ibori not to relent in his efforts in this direction until permanent peace is guaranteed in Warri." They restated the readiness of the church to be part of the peace process. CAN pleaded with the Warri warriors to put a halt to the senseless destruction of lives and property, saying that "we have watched how our own people have been involved in wanton destruction of lives and property. "Our hearts bleed when we think of the atrocities committed in this city since 1997. We appeal to all, in the name of God, to halt this senseless destruction, please let enough be enough. Let us think peace, let us support peace, let's close our ranks for lasting solution, let us co-operate with the authorities put in place so that peace can reign". The Christian Association lamented that Warri city was losing it's fame as the oil city, due to the perrenial ethnic clash in the city, saying many companies were relocating to other places. Further regretted that "our once booming city has become a ghost city. We appeal to all and sundry to sincerely seek and pursue peace." We specially appeal to the state government and call our state governor - Chief James Ibori to approach the matter with great desire for peace and use his good offices to call all groups that are involved to see reasons why we need peace. If nothing is done to check the excesses of this daylight mass destruction and killing, the glory of God in Warri will be gone". They warned. Similarly, the CAN warned the victims of the war against any retaliatory moves, appealing to them to exercise restraint. Their words "it is also very important to observe that in a situation such as this, there are people who will feel disgraced and feel they have lost more than others in the war and may therefore be tempted to retaliate; we sincerely appeal to them to exercise restraint. They must know that vengeance is for God, retaliation is opening up another battle line, which will cause further destruction. God knows how to pick you up again".

Vanguard 15 Mar 2003 WARRI: 7 feared dead, as Ijaw youths, security agents clash By Sola Adebayo Saturday, March 15, 2003 WARRI, DELTA — SEVEN persons, including two soldiers were feared dead in Okerenkoko village in Warri South West Local Government Council of Delta State, last Thursday evening. The deceased lost their lives in clash between security agents and Ijaw Youths at Okerenkoko end of Warri/Escravos waterways. Also, three policemen were being held hostage by the Ijaw Youths at Okerenkoko village at press time. Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) which engaged the services of the security agents had raised an alarm over the lives of the hostages in a letter to the police high command in Warri. In the letter, SPDC requested the quick intervention of the Warri Police Area Commander, Mr. Joseph Abiona to save the lives of the policemen. Already, the waterways of Delta State, particularly Warri/Escravos had become a no go area as the armed Ijaw Youths and soldiers engaged in ceaseless gun duel between Thursday and early hours of yesterday. Two soldiers and five Ijaw youths were reported dead in the clash. Vanguard learnt that trouble started when Ijaw Youths mounted blockades at Okerenkoko end of the Warri/Escravos waterway to protest alleged non-challant attitude of the Federal and Delta State Governments to alledged lopsidedness in the composition of electoral Wards in the Warri South West Council in favour of their Itsekiri neighbours. The Ijaw Youths who had earlier given a seven day ultimatum to the Federal Government to address the issue allegedly chased away few personnel of NNS Umalokun from the waterways to enable them enjoy full control. The Youths reportedly vowed not to allow passage of individuals and goods, especially those belonging to the multi-national oil companies through the waterways until the issue of electoral Wards delineation in Warri South West was revisited. Thursday’s bloody clash erupted when the security agents (soldiers and policemen) escorting a barge of SPDC to a riverine location ran into the blockade mounted by the embittered Youths at Okerenkoko village. The youths, reportedly ordered the barge back to its point of departure in Warri, an order the security agents vehemently ignored. The security agents who were apparently unaware that the youths meant serious business allegedly opened fire on them ostensibly to scare them from the scene. However, our correspondent learnt that the youths returned fire an action which further infuriated the security agents. In the ensuing gun duel, seven persons,including two soldiers died while an unknowm number of security agents and youths also sustained various degrees of gun shot injuries. The youths and security agents engaged themselves in vociferous exchange of fire between Thursday evening and early hours of Friday. The youths had kidnapped three policemen. They were yet to secure freedom. The leadership of Ijaw ethnic nationality in the state were trying to reach out to the commanding officer of NNS Umalokun, Navy Captain Titus Awoyemi and his 7th Battalion, Effurun, Counterpart, Lt. Col. Gar Dogo on the possible means of resolving the impasse amicably as at the time of filing this report yesterday evening. The chairman of the caretaker Committee of the Controversial Warri South West Council, Chief David Pere was sighted yesterday afternoon trying to facilitate a meeting between the Ijaw leaders and the service commanders, Pere assured that peace would return in earnest. Dogo who confirmed the development in a telephone chat with our correspondent however declined further comment, apparently because of his mood. Meanwhile, socio and economic activities had paralyzed in the riverine areas of the state due to the incident.

This Day (Lagos) 17 March 2003 Military Positions for Reprisal Attack in Delta Onwuka Nzeshi Warri A reprisal military action capable of making the infamous "Odi Massacre" a child's play is afoot at Okerenkoko, the coastal village where an armed local militia group gunned down no fewer than four soldiers and left several others badly wounded last Thursday. Heavily armed military troops have begun a desperate manhunt for the killers of the security operatives, even as they combed the cluster of island settlements and fishing camps in search of three policemen reportedly abducted by the armed community youths. Although the military commands in Warri have kept sealed lips on the incident leading to the death of the soldiers, security sources disclosed that a special operation was on to fish out those behind the killing of the soldiers. "Anywhere in the world, you don't joke with killing armed forces personnel and so if those youths think they can just kill soldiers and go scot free, they are merely deceiving themselves. "And come to think of it these boys were all dressed in brand new MOPOL (mobile police) uniforms and armed with AK 47 rifles. If their activities lead to a serious action against them and their communities, well they will have themselves to blame," a military source told THISDAY in an exclusive interview yesterday. It was gathered that the youths who took part in the ambush were indeed acting in solidarity with an unnamed oil bunkering baron whose barge and consignments were seized by some military personnel on routine patrol. THISDAY checks revealed that the barge was being escorted by soldiers to the NNS Umalokun, navy base, Warri when the armed youths disguised as mobile policemen intercepted them and opened fire at close range.

IRIN 17 Mar 2003 Five killed as troops, militants clash in Niger Delta LAGOS- Clashes between navy troops and ethnic Ijaw militants near Nigeria's southern oil town of Warri resulted in the death of five civilians, heightening tension in the town and other parts of the Niger Delta, community activists said on Sunday. Activists of the Federated Niger Delta Ijaw Communities (FNDIC) group said in a statement that the civilians died when troops had lauched a raid on Okerenkoko, an Ijaw community, on Thursday. The soldiers had accused community members of planning to disrupt the operations of oil transnational Royal/Dutch Shell and to attack nearby communities, they said. Nigerian navy spokesman, Shinebi Hungiapuko, confirmed there had been clashes between troops and armed militants. He said the situation was still under control but did not give further details. Shell has key oil facilities in the area. It said on Sunday it had begun evacuating "non-essential" staff from the affected areas in compliance with its safety regulations. The company has also shut down two oil facilities with a combined output of 55,000 barrels per day as a precautionary measure, officials said. Shell officials also said three policemen escorting a company barge on the Esravos River were taken hostage on Friday and were yet to be freed. The latest unrest has its roots in a violent dispute which broke out in Warri in February between the Urhobo and Itshekiri communities over the delineation of electoral wards ahead of April-May general elections. The Ijaw community later sided with the Urhobo, alleging that the way the boundaries of the wards were drawn up favoured the Itshekiri. "Our fear is that the whole political processes in Warri is being militarised," Bello Oboko, president of FNDIC, said in a petition to President Olusegun Obasanjo, a copy of which was sent to IRIN. "Security operatives have been secured to perpetuate unlawfully delineated electoral wards." Tension in the Warri area has added to apprehension that the coming elections, the first since the 1999 vote that ended more than 15 years of military rule, may be marred by violence. Rival supporters of different political parties have clashed in various parts of the country, while several cases of political assassinations have been recorded nationwide.




BBC 19 Mar 2003 Obasanjo warns of poll violence Dan Isaacs BBC, Abuja President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria has issued a strong warning that the current high level of violence in the country is posing a threat to the success of next month's elections. Obasanjo says politicians are living in fear Speaking at a conference of all political parties held to discuss the issue, Mr Obasanjo said the situation was so serious that it had created a climate of fear among all Nigerians. President Obasanjo's message was clear and unequivocal. Any election, he said, conducted in the prevailing circumstances will be tainted by the scale of its corrupted, political environment. And he warned that victory could go to those best able to organise violence and intimidation. Much worse His words reflect a growing concern at the highest level that these sporadic outbreaks of violence witnessed across the country are just a prelude to much worse unrest to come over the next few weeks of campaigning. Violent elections would be 'tainted' In particular the assassination two weeks ago of Marshall Harry, a senior opposition figure, has caused widespread alarm among the political establishment. Politicians, the president said, seemed to live in fear of each other, at the mercy of each other's stones, sticks and bullets, deployed by paid and organised thugs. These words by the president, and the high-level meeting called to address the issue, are a positive sign, however, that the problem is at least being addressed squarely.


Vanguard (Lagos) March 21, 2003 Warri Crisis: Lawmaker Tells Itsekiri Kinsmen to Defend Selves Austin Ogwuda Asaba AS the spate of attacks by Ijaw youths on Itsekiri towns assume wider dimension, the members of the Delta State House of Assembly representing Warri North Constituency, Mr. Misan Ukubeyinje has called on his kinsmen (Itsekiri) "to rise up to the challenge of defending themselves since the government has failed to protect us." The assembly member who accused both the Federal Government and the Delta State government of alleged inability to checkmate the massacre of the Itsekiri people called on the federal government to legalise the use of arms by all Nigerians so that we could be free to defend ourselves since the government has failed in their responsibility to protect lives and property." However, state police command spokesman, Mr. Victor Obasuyi told our reporter, "I am yet to be briefed on the issue of arrest over the issue." Ukubeyinje in a statement in Asaba yesterday said "whereas the people of Warri North have been living in peace without any quarrel between the Ijaws and Itsekiris for a long time, the situation is not quite the same today. . Instead of the Federal and State governments, their military and security apparatuses to do everything possible to prevent the much-publicised threatened attack on the Itsekiri communities," he went on, "they remained aloof and irresponsive to the plight of the helpless, innocent and law-abiding citizens. "The resultant effect of the failure of the Federal Government, State Government, the military and all security apparatuses is the sacking of Ugborodo, Urunton, Mandigho, Ogheye, Eghoro and other communities all belonging to the Itsekiri who never provoked the attack. "What it all boils down to," he pointed out, "is that the government of President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Delta State government have failed in their responsibility to protect the lives and property of Nigerians, particularly the Itsekiris of Delta State," adding that "the rampant assassinations in the country and failure of the military and security agencies to prevent and fish out culprits of these violence further buttresses this point. "It must be noted that the attack on the mentioned communities in Warri North and Warri South-West left behind a toll of deaths and injuries in their hundreds." Continuing, he said, "it is my view that this government in their actions have encouraged violence by allowing private individuals to have cache of arms and ammunitions and openly threaten violence and actually manifest same. Besides, the military and security agencies know all the leaders behind these violence and yet they allow them to move freely and even aid them with government facilities.

IRIN 21 Mar 2003 At Least 60 Reported Killed As Troops Battle Delta Militants Lagos At least 60 people were killed on Thursday in Nigeria's volatile Niger Delta oil region during a pitched battle between troops and ethnic Ijaw militants fought a pitched battle, military sources and militants said. The latest confrontation signaled a worsening of a confrontation that has disrupted the operations of oil transnationals in the area and cut Nigeria's oil exports of about two million barrels a day by more than 10 percent. A military boat on Thursday brought in the bodies of five soldiers said to have been killed in an exchange of fire with Ijaw militants near the riverine village of Okerenkoko. Their colleagues told reporters the bodies of five other dead soldiers were yet to be recovered. Activists of the Federated Niger Delta Ijaw Communities (FNDIC) said troops armed with machine guns and bazookas attacked their positions, killing at least 50 militants. The clashes were the latest twist in a conflict sparked by a violent dispute that broke out in the Delta town of Warri in February between the Urhobo and the Itshekiri communities over the delineation of electoral wards ahead of April-May general elections. Tension mounted in the area after the FNDIC joined the Urhobo in demanding the modification of the constituency boundaries which, they alleged, favoured the Itshekiri. "The Ijaws have a conflict with the Itshekiris and the military is taking sides with them and shooting only the Ijaws," George Timinimi, FNDIC spokesman, told IRIN. "We will fight them to a standstill." The group asked oil transnationals in their region, located in the northwest of the Delta, to close their operations and leave the area in their own interest, threatening to vandalise pipelines and other oil industry facilities if the military launched further attacks against them. Oil giants Royal/Dutch Shell and ChevronTexaco, which have operations in the conflict-ridden area have been pulling out their staff and shutting down facilities. They have also been helping to evacuate scores of displaced people from communities affected by the fighting. Shell said on Thursday it had closed 10 oil pumping facilities producing some 127,000 barrels of crude oil daily. ChevronTexaco said it had closed all its onshore facilities and cut its output of 140,000 barrels daily of crude oil. It said in a statement it would not be able to meet export commitments for March and April. The Nigerian authorities this week sent additional troops to the area. Army chief Lt Gen Alexander Ogomudia and other service chiefs were expected to visit Warri on Friday to discuss strategies for pacifying the militants. FNDIC activists said troops started the latest round of violence when they raided Okerenkoko last week, killing five people. The soldiers had accused community members of planning to disrupt the oil operations of Shell in the area and attacking nearby Itshekiri villages, they said.

BBC 22 Mar 2003 'Dozens dead' in Nigeria clashes Some villagers have escaped the violence in canoes Villagers fleeing violence in Nigeria's oil-rich western Niger Delta say dozens of people have been killed in clashes between soldiers and rival gangs of ethnic militants. Fighting between two local communities, the Ijaw and Itsekiri, has been raging for more than a week, drawing in thousands of soldiers. The refugees described soldiers and militants burning down dozens of villages and firing indiscriminately. The violence prompted the US oil company, Chevron Texaco, to suspend operations in the region on Thursday - slashing output levels in Africa's biggest producer by 13%. Some reports said the Anglo-Dutch company Shell had also confirmed it would not be able to meet its contractual obligations on Friday. Refugees from both communities, retreating from the swampy region south of the town of Warri, told of scores of deaths. Ruth Tinghala described soldiers firing "horizontally" and torching homes and shops. "I saw many [people] fall," she told news agency AP. "I didn't stay to see if they were dead or alive." Ijaw leaders and refugees say 50 fighters were killed in battles with navy and army forces in the village of Okorenkoro on Thursday alone. They say a state of siege has been imposed on the Ijaw community, with navy gunboats and troops imposing a 24-hour blockade on the creeks around their villages, according to the AFP news agency. Military officials have previously denied attacking civilians, and stressed they used minimum force when possible. Ten government troops are said to have been killed. Ijaw demands On Thursday, Chevron Texaco evacuated hundreds of villagers by air from areas affected by the violence. On Wednesday, President Olusegun Obasanjo issued a strong warning that the current high level of violence in the country was posing a threat to the success of next month's elections. The Ijaw are demanding more political representation and compensation from oil companies operating in the area. They say the oil industry has polluted their fishing communities. A militant Ijaw leader has said that protests against the Itsekiri and the oil companies will continue until the government addresses the issue. Our correspondent Dan Isaacs says that this is extremely unlikely ahead of the elections and he says it is difficult to see how an effective poll can take place in this part of the southern Delta under the present circumstances. He adds that even if the unrest subsides, many hundreds, perhaps thousands of people have been displaced and election officials will be extremely wary about operating in such an unstable region.

IRIN 31 Mar 2003 Seven killed as police clash with separatists LAGOS, At least seven members of a group campaigning for an independent Biafra were killed on Saturday in southeast Nigeria during a confrontation with the police, police and witnesses said. More than 5,000 members of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) were travelling in a convoy of about 130 cars and buses to a rally when they were confronted by heavily armed police at Umololo village in Imo State. "There was an argument and then a fight and the police shot dead seven people," Ray Onyeukwu, who said he witnessed the incident, told IRIN. The chief of police in Imo State, Ben Eghomone, confirmed the death of the seven and told reporters they had attempted to disarm the police. "Will the police stand and wait to be disarmed?" he said. But MASSOB said in a statement on Monday the police had opened fire unprovoked on their convoy of vehicles, killing 50 members. The group's leader, Ralph Uwazuruike, and 300 other members were subsequently arrested and taken into custody, the statement said. Uwazuruike founded MASSOB in 1999 with the aim of reviving the 1967 secession of southeastern Nigeria - dominated by the Ibo ethnic group - as Biafra, which resulted in the three years of civil war. More than one million people died in the war, mostly from starvation. Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, who as a colonel in the Nigerian army declared Biafra, is running for the presidency on April 19 as the candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance party. After Biafra's defeat in 1970, Ojukwu fled into exile in Ivory Coast, but returned in 1981 after he was granted a state pardon. While Ibo nationalism and complaints of unfair treatment by successive regimes since the end of the civil war feature prominently in his campaign, Ojukwu has distanced himself from Uwazuruike's movement, which has frequent run-ins with the authorities.

IRIN 24 Mar 2003 Ethnic militants threaten to blow up oil facilities LAGOS, Militants from the Ijaw ethnic group in southern Nigeria's Niger Delta region threatened on Monday to blow up oil facilities they have seized if military raids continued against their villages. Armed militants of the Federated Niger Delta Ijaw Communities (FNDIC) said they had seized 11 oil pumping stations belonging to Royal/Dutch Shell, ChevronTexaco and TotalFinaElf. They said the action was in reprisal for attacks by the military whom they accuse of siding with their Itshekiri rivals in communal clashes over the past few weeks. Dan Ekpebide, a leader of FNDIC, said combined army and navy troops had attacked several Ijaw communities since last week, killing and injuring scores of people and forcing thousands to flee their villages. "If they continue these attacks we'll have no alternative but to blow up all these facilities under our control," he told IRIN. In the latest confrontation between troops and the militants on Saturday, five people, including two soldiers and three employees of TotalFinaElf were killed in a battle for the control of two of the company's facilities in the western Niger Delta, army spokesman Col. Chukwuemeka Onwuamaegbu said. TotalFinaElf subsequently announced its withdrawal from the Upomami and Kpoko facilities. The three oil transnationals affected by the current crisis have so far cut their output, which amounts normally to about 800,000 barrels per day (bd) - more than one-third of Nigeria's daily production of about two million bd. FNDIC said more than 55 of its militants had been killed since an initial confrontation with troops at the village of Okerenkoko, and that an unknown number of unarmed villagers have been killed by soldiers. The military authorities said more than 10 soldiers have so far been killed, bringing known casualties to more than 65 dead. The conflict is linked to a violent dispute which broke out in the Delta town of Warri in February between the Urhobo and the Itshekiri communities over the delineation of electoral wards ahead of April-May general elections. The Ijaw community took sides with the Urhobo, alleging that the boundaries favoured the Itshekiri.

Ijaw militants say halting fighting LAGOS, 27 Mar 2003 (IRIN) - Ijaw militants in Nigeria's Niger Delta, who have engaged troops and rival Itsekiris in two weeks of fighting in which up to 100 people died, said on Wednesday they had stopped fighting after the Delta State governor James Ibori promised to meet their demands. Ijaw communities in the western Niger Delta had alleged that distribution of electoral wards ahead of April general elections were lopsided in a way that would disenfranchise their communities in favour of their Itsekiri neighbours. Fighting between the rival communities had sucked in the army after clashes between troops and Ijaw militants resulted in the death of several soldiers. An escalation in the fighting forced oil transnationals operating in the area to shut down their operations and 40 percent (over 800,000 barrels per day) of Nigeria's daily oil output of about two million barrels. The Ijaw militants also seized several oil facilities and threatened to blow them up if the military continued to attack their communities. "We met with the governor and he promised to prevail on the military authorities not to carry out reprisal attacks on our villages," Bello Oboko, president of the militant Federated Niger Delta Ijaw Communities, told IRIN. "He also promised to intervene to ensure our political demands were met." Abel Oshevire, spokesman for governor Ibori confirmed the militants had agreed to end further violence. The governor, he added, prevailed on the belligerent groups to give the Independent National Electoral Commission time to to re-draw electoral wards in "a just and equitable" manner. Nigerian army spokesman, Col. Chukwuemeka Onwuamaegbu, described the decision of the youths to lay down arms and pursue a peaceful resolution of the crisis as "a very welcome development". He said there had been no incidents since Tuesday in the conflict area and expressed hope things would remain that way. Thousands of soldiers have been deployed in the waterways of the western Niger Delta to protect the facilities of oil transnationals ChevronTexaco, Royal/Dutch Shell and TotalFinaElf, evacuated in the heat of the violence and help quell the fighting. The conflict is linked to the violent dispute which broke out in Warri in February between the Urhobo and the Itsekiri communities over the delineation of electoral wards ahead of April-May general elections. The Ijaw community took sides with the Urhobo, alleging the sharing of wards was lopsided in favour of the Itsekiri. Tension in the Warri area has added to apprehension that the coming elections, the first since the 1999 vote that brought President Olusegun Obasanjo to office and ended more than 15 years of military rule, may be marred by violence. Rival supporters of different political parties have clashed in different parts of Africa's most populous country while several cases of political assassinations have been recorded nationwide.

Reuters 30 Mar 2003 Oil pilfering behind Nigeria unrest, official says By James Jukwey LAGOS, March 30 (Reuters) - Bloody clashes in the Niger Delta, which witnesses say have claimed another two lives, are caused by illegal hacking into pipelines to steal oil, according to a Nigerian local ruler. The fighting has forced oil firms to shut in 40 percent of the West African nation's output. Governor James Ibori of the southern Delta state where fighting has raged between rival ethnic groups told the Sunday Punch newspaper that prominent persons in the area employed youths to tap into pipelines carrying crude and oil products which were then sold on the black market. Ibori said a bid by the authorities to check the activity, known in local parlance as "bunkering" in the Niger Delta's tangle of creeks and swamps, triggered the bloody clashes between militant ethnic Ijaw youths and their Itsekiri rivals. Scores of people have died in the violence including a dozen soldiers killed by Ijaws while trying to clear the waterways and quell the disturbances. Witnesses in the Delta said a soldier and a policeman were killed on Saturday when Ijaw militants, who have fought running battles with their Itsekiri rivals in the western delta in the last three weeks, attacked a village near the oil hub of Warri. It is the first serious clash in the area since a ceasefire reached last week that led to a lull in the fighting. Analysts say if not properly handled the current crisis could derail Nigeria's first general elections since the return to civilian rule in 1999. Legislative polls are set for April 12 and the presidential vote one week later. In election related violence, witnesses said on Sunday that more than 100 people were missing and some feared drowned after jumping into a river during violent clashes between supporters of rival political parties. They also said one woman was killed in Saturday's rally involving supporters of President Olusegun Obasanjo's Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the opposition ANPP party near the oil city of Port Harcourt in the Niger Delta. OIL MAJORS SHUT IN Oil majors Royal Dutch Shell and ChevronTexaco have shut in more than 800,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Nigeria's 2.2 million bpd crude oil output because of the clashes. The oil majors have subsequently delayed oil shipments, helping drive international oil prices higher and dealing a blow to revenues in a country that exports little but crude. Oil industry sources say as much as 100,000 bpd of Nigerian crude output is lost to illegal siphoning of oil, which has forced Shell to separately declare force majeure on 50,000 bpd. "The whole trouble is being fuelled by those who have continued to play one ethnic group against another to destabilise the activities of the oil firms," Ibori said. "There are some powerful elements that buy arms and cause havoc in the area," said the governor in Delta state's capital Warri. He said federal authorities must tackle bunkering to guarantee peace in the area. Troop reinforcements to the region have raised fears of a military offensive against the Ijaw militants, who are threatening to blow up oil installations in areas they control. Recent travellers to Warri say there has been large scale destruction of private and public proverty in the city during the clashes. "Along some major streets, rows and rows of houses have been flattened," said Nike Badmus, a lawyer who regularly travels to Warri on business from Lagos. "At the best of times Warri is a tough place with no good roads or basic amenities. Now it's worse," she added. Delta locals say that while bunkering may be responsible for the recent clashes, widespread poverty among inhabitants of the Niger Delta is the root of the problem. Since the early 1990s, there has been increased agitation especially by the youths of the delta for the area to be given control of the oil resources. Some radicals have even spoken of seceding from this nation of 120 million, Africa's most populous.

Seven Killed As Police Clash With Separatists Email This Page Print This Page Visit The Publisher's Site UN Integrated Regional Information Networks March 31, 2003 Posted to the web April 1, 2003 Lagos At least seven members of a group campaigning for an independent Biafra were killed on Saturday in southeast Nigeria during a confrontation with the police, police and witnesses said. More than 5,000 members of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) were travelling in a convoy of about 130 cars and buses to a rally when they were confronted by heavily armed police at Umololo village in Imo State. "There was an argument and then a fight and the police shot dead seven people," Ray Onyeukwu, who said he witnessed the incident, told IRIN. The chief of police in Imo State, Ben Eghomone, confirmed the death of the seven and told reporters they had attempted to disarm the police. "Will the police stand and wait to be disarmed?" he said. But MASSOB said in a statement on Monday the police had opened fire unprovoked on their convoy of vehicles, killing 50 members. The group's leader, Ralph Uwazuruike, and 300 other members were subsequently arrested and taken into custody, the statement said. Uwazuruike founded MASSOB in 1999 with the aim of reviving the 1967 secession of southeastern Nigeria - dominated by the Ibo ethnic group - as Biafra, which resulted in the three years of civil war. More than one million people died in the war, mostly from starvation. Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, who as a colonel in the Nigerian army declared Biafra, is running for the presidency on April 19 as the candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance party. After Biafra's defeat in 1970, Ojukwu fled into exile in Ivory Coast, but returned in 1981 after he was granted a state pardon. While Ibo nationalism and complaints of unfair treatment by successive regimes since the end of the civil war feature prominently in his campaign, Ojukwu has distanced himself from Uwazuruike's movement, which has frequent run-ins with the authorities.

Vanguard (Lagos) 31 Mar 2003Nwajiuba Condemns Killing of Massob Members Chidi Nwkopara IMO State gubernatorial candidate of National Democractic Party (NDP) Chief Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, has condemned what he called "the mindless massacre of our citizens at Umuloto Okigwe, by men of the Nigeria Police ", even as the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) put the figure of the dead at 50. Speaking exclusively to Vanguard in Owerri at the weekend, Nwajiuba said that "from the look of things, the police overreacted and I do not see the killing and maiming of our citizens as the best way to handle an assemblage of people." He said that police did not report that it lost any of its personnel, it would be safe to say that they were simply firing at a crowd of unarmed persons. "If the police thought that members of MASSOB were doing an illegal thing, the right thing would have been to arraign their leaders in court and definitely not massacre the people like they reportedly did over the weekend," Nwajiuba said. Continuing, the NDP gubernatorial candidate lamented that "if it is true that the police unleashed the onslaught on MASSOB because the state governor, Chief Achike Udenwa, was billed for his campaign tour of the area on the same day, then one can safely say that we are in for hard times." He urged the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun, to institute a high powered probe into the ugly incident, with a view to getting the trigger happy fellows within its rank and file, as well prosecute them. Imo State has witnessed series of ugly assassinations and the current one by the police, who are supposed to preserve and protect property amount to senseless massacre of our citizens," Nwajiuba reasoned. Answering another question, NDP gubernatorial candidate insisted that the police must stop the systematic elimination of precious lives, adding that "they must imbibe the culture of civilised societies and organisations." His words: "It is on record that before the coalition forces stormed Iraq they employed diplomacy for years. Why should our police officers be trigger happy? Why must Imo State be the only place where anything goes? I expect Imo State government to come up with a statement on this senseless massacre of our citizens."

Focus On Political Parties' Campaign Strategies Email This Page Print This Page Visit The Publisher's Site UN Integrated Regional Information Networks March 25, 2003 Posted to the web March 25, 2003 [This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] LAGOS, 25 March (IRIN) - Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo began his campaign for re-election in "hostile" territory this month. Makurdi, the city in central Nigeria where, on 1 March, he addressed his first rally since winning the ruling party's nomination in January, is the capital of Benue State, where troops acting on his orders raided several villages in October 2001, killing hundreds of civilians in reprisal for the killing of 19 soldiers by a local militia. Obasanjo did not receive an easy welcome to Makurdi despite making an earlier trip to the city in January to apologise - for the first time - for those killings. On the eve of his visit hundreds of protesters poured out onto the streets, denouncing his planned rally, until police dispersed them with teargas and arrested suspected leaders. It took a heavy police presence to ensure that the president campaigned in Benue without incident. Obasanjo had scored a sweeping victory in Benue in the 1999 election that ended more than 15 years of military rule in Africa's most populous country. But after the army killings his popularity in the state, which is the heartland of the politically vital Middle Belt region, plummeted. Opposition politicians have since begun to look at Benue as one of the states they would pluck from the grip of the ruling party in their bid to deafeat the former military ruler at the polls. "It was very important to us that we had that rally in Makurdi," Terna Iyorse, a PDP supporter, told IRIN. "After the unfortunate incidents of 2001 it seemed as if the President's rating in the state was at an all-time low, so the party decided to take on the most difficult task first." Muhammadu Buhari, the presidential candidate of the main opposition All Nigeria People's Party (ANPP) is widely seen as Obasanjo's main rival for the presidency. Like the president, he was a former military ruler. But while Buhari is a Muslim Hausa-Fulani from the north, Obasanjo is a Yoruba Christian from the southwest. In a Nigeria riven with deep ethnic and regional rivalries, where one comes from always counts in politics. Acutely aware of this of this factor, the two front-runners have had to make very strategic choices of running-mates. Obasanjo has retained Vice President Atiku Abubakar, a northerner and a Muslim, in the hope of winning a substantial number of votes from the region as he did in the last election. Buhari, for his part, chose Chuba Okadigbo, a former university professor and an Igbo from the southeast. Okadigbo had been elected a senator on the platform of the ruling PDP four years ago but switched loyalty to the ANPP last year. Buhari has also moved to distance himself from his perceived support of Shari'ah, the strict Islamic legal system adopted by 12 states in the Muslim north in the past three years. Where Buhari had been reported in the past as backing Shari'ah punishments such as amputation for stealing and death by stoning for adultery, he has been reported recently in his campaigns as saying he would respect Nigeria's constitution - contradicted by these penalties - if he became president. His choice of Okadigbo is also significant. Nigeria's southeast, dominated by the Igbo - the third biggest of Nigeria's more than 250 ethnic groups - had failed in an attempt to secede as Biafra in the late 1960s. Since the defeat of Biafra in 1970, people from the region have accused successive governments of marginalisation. Obasanjo is widely perceived in the region to have intensified the marginalisation and his political rivals have been all too eager to capitalise on the apparent resentment. Former Biafran secessionist leader Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, who is the presidential candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), is pitching his campaign on redressing perceived injustice against the southeast since the end of the civil war. If he wins, Ojukwu said, he intends to devolve more powers to Nigeria's regions, to give the people a greater measure of self-determination. By so doing he also hopes to leave the central government substantially weakened and undeserving of the desperate attentions of power-seekers. To improve his chances of winning, Ojukwu has chosen Sani Bayero, a northern Muslim from the royal family of the north's biggest city, Kano. The Alliance for Democracy (AD), which with the PDP and ANPP took part in the 1999 elections, is not offering a presidential candidate for the April ballot. The party, which swept the six states in the ethnic Yoruba region of southwestern Nigeria, has adopted Obasanjo - who is from the area - as its presidential candidate as part of a deal reached with the ruling party. Four years ago AD had backed Obasanjo's rival at the polls, Olu Falae, accusing the president of being a stooge of powerful interests in the mainly Muslim north. But during his current tenure, the president favoured the region with strategic appointments both in the armed forces and government and appears to have won over the most influential political personalities from the southwest. Whereas he won scant votes among the Yoruba four years, he is expected to score a massive victory in the southwest in the coming polls. The Yoruba are the second largest ethnic group in Nigeria. The largest are the Hausa-Fulani of the north. "What the leading parties in Nigeria have a common is the lack of any programme saying what they would do to improve living standards," political analyst Paul Obodoukwu told IRIN. "None is talking about improving water and electricity supply, building roads and improving education. They are all basically playing on ethnic sentiments." The difference appears to be with a group of some 25 smaller political parties, registered for the polls after a prolonged legal battle against stiff conditions imposed by the electoral commission. They have been weighing the option of choosing "a consensus candidate". Most are left-leaning and have tried to bring up issues related to living standards and the country's poor economic performance in the midst of huge resources in their campaigns. Lawyer and human rights activist Gani Fawehinmi is being touted as a possible candidate for the parties, but some members of the coalition have begun to shown signs of dissension, with at least seven offering presidential candidates of their own. "If the parties can unite, there is a chance they can make an impact and offer a viable alternative to the main parties," said Obodoukwu. "Otherwise, Obasanjo stands the best chance of making it back to the presidency."


AFP 3 Mar 2003 US to sign 22nd ICC immunity deal with Rwanda: officials, WASHINGTON, March 3 The United States expects to sign a deal with Rwanda this week that will give US troops their immunity from prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC), State Department officials said Monday. The pact, which will be the 22nd so-called "Article 98 agreement" the United States has entered into, is to be signed on Tuesday during a visit here by Rwandan President Paul Kagame, the officials said. Washington refuses to support the ICC, arguing that it could become a forum for politically motivated prosecutions against US citizens, including civilian military contractors and former officials, and has been on a worldwide campaign to sign such immunity deals. Since last July, when the treaty creating the ICC came into effect, the United States has signed immunity deals with 21 other countries. The others are: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Djibouti, the Dominican Republic, East Timor, El Salvador, Gambia, Georgia, Honduras, India, Israel, the Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Micronesia, Nepal, Palau, Romania, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Tuvalu and Uzbekistan.

Reuters 4 Mar 2003 USA and Rwanda agree to criminal court exemption The United States and Rwanda have agreed to exempt each other's citizens from prosecution in the International Criminal Court, the US State Department said yesterday. Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State, and Charles Murigande, the Rwandan Foreign Minister, will sign the accord, known as an Article 98 agreement, at the State Department today. However, Washington objects to the International Criminal Court on the grounds that it could launch politically motivated prosecutions of US civilian and military leaders. The United States signed the treaty, creating the court under former President Bill Clinton, but it never went to the Senate for ratification. The Bush administration last May decided to renounce any obligation to cooperate. It is seeking Article 98 agreements with as many countries as possible. Rwanda will be the 22nd country to sign such an agreement with the United States. The others are Afghanistan, Bahrain, Djibouti, the Dominican Republic, East Timor, El Salvador, Gambia, Georgia, Honduras, India, Israel, the Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Micronesia, Nepal, Palau, Romania, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Tuvalu and Uzbekistan. -

AP 5 Mar 2003 3 Rwandan Rebels Are Arrested in 1999 Killing of 2 Americans WASHINGTON, March 4 — American officials have hailed the arrests of three Rwandan rebels who were seized over the weekend in the 1999 killing of two American tourists in Uganda, saying the action sends a warning to terrorists everywhere. Michael Chertoff, head of the Justice Department's criminal division, said Monday that the arrests — four years to the day after the killings — declared that "those who commit acts of terror against Americans, whenever and wherever, will be hunted, captured and brought to justice." Rob Haubner and his wife, Susan Miller, along with four British and two New Zealand tourists, were hacked and bludgeoned to death by Rwandan Hutu rebels while on a trip to see rare mountain gorillas, officials said. The rebels had specifically sought out English-speaking people in a bid to weaken American and British support for the new Rwandan government, they said. "This was a vicious, cold-blooded, brutal attack that was intended to make a political point," said United States Attorney Roscoe Howard of the District of Columbia, where a federal grand jury indicted the three on Feb. 25. Those charged with murder, conspiracy and other counts were identified as Rwandan nationals Leonidas Bimenyiamana, 34; François Karake, 38; and Gregoire Nyaminami, 32. The three suspects were arrested Saturday with the help of the Rwandan government and flown to Puerto Rico for initial court appearances, with trials to be held later in Washington, D.C. The charges carry a possible death penalty. The men were said to be members of the Liberation Army of Rwanda, formed in 1996 in refugee camps in neighboring Zaire by members of the former Rwandan Armed Forces and civilian militia known as the Interahamwe, who carried out the 1994 genocide. The Liberation Army first attracted notice in late 1996 when it issued a statement putting a bounty on Americans. Gerard Gahima, Rwanda's attorney general, said the three men charged were among about 3,000 rebels who were captured during a wave of attacks on Rwanda from rebel bases in Congo in May and August 2001. Interrogations revealed that they had participated in the 1999 attack, Mr. Gahima said. "They basically admitted involvement in the attack and indicated that they were foot soldiers, not masterminds," Mr. Gahima said. Mr. Chertoff said the investigation is continuing and further arrests are possible. Mr. Haubner and Ms. Miller, both employees at Intel Corporation in Portland, Ore., were among a group of about 30 tourists visiting Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in hopes of seeing some of the rare mountain gorillas that roam the remote rain forest near the borders with Congo and Rwanda. The rebels invaded the tourist campground on March 1, 1999, and forced 17 tourists who spoke English to remove shoes and begin marching. They also killed one of the park's guards, according the indictment, by pushing him under a truck and setting it on fire. Eight were killed along the march with machetes and axes. Ms. Miller was also allegedly raped by one of the suspects. One survivor of the attack was given a note by the rebels warning the United States and Great Britain not to interfere in Rwanda. Similar notes were found on the bodies of two of those killed.

Stanford (Univ) Daily 7 Mar 2003 Scholar offers new insight into Rwandan genocide Erica Simmons UC-Berkeley political science doctoral candidate Scott Straus has dedicated himself to understanding the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Yesterday afternoon at the Center for International Security and Cooperation, Straus used his findings to offer new insight into the patterns of genocide in Rwanda. “The abundance of commentary on the Rwandan genocide has created the illusion that we understand what went on,” Straus said. “Rwanda is a case about which much has been written, but we are still in a fairly early stage of presenting an explanation.” Straus explained that after the assassination of 21-year President Juvenal Habyarimana on April 6, 1994, the central African nation was plunged into a 100-day campaign of violence in which half a million Tutsis were killed. In contrast, only 10,000 Hutus, the other major ethnic group in Rwanda, were killed before the rebel army, RDF, took control of the country and ended the genocide. Most of the victims were unarmed civilians. Straus questioned the idea that the violence was the result of long-standing enmity between the two ethnic groups. He cited the hundreds of interviews he has conducted with Rwandans currently imprisoned for their roles in the genocide, saying that “very, very few of them seemed to believe in this racial ideology.” In an attempt to determine exactly what was at the root of the genocide, Straus has compiled extensive quantitative data. Ninety-six percent of the prisoners he interviewed had Tutsi neighbors and 68 percent had Tutsi relatives through intermarriage. He said that, contrary to common belief, “the more integrated a society, the more likely genocide [is].” Straus latched onto youth and wealth as statistically significant factors in the onset of genocide. “The areas that were the wealthiest in Rwanda were the areas where violence starts earliest, which goes directly against the frustration-aggression argument . . . that the poorest areas would have the most violence,” Straus explained. Straus argued that political and military authorities in Rwanda sparked the conflagration of violence. “Once the dynamic of violence starts in a community, there is a turn to mass mobilization,” he said. “Those people who say no are killed . . . and that example spreads as rumor across the country. You get a relatively small group of people who do the majority of the killing and the majority of the intimidating, comprised largely of . . . youth and people with military training.” Straus’ data broke down the onset of violence in regions of Rwanda day-by-day. He felt that the quickness with which genocide struck different areas might be linked to important causal factors. He found that, despite differing regional proclivities toward genocide, every region not controlled by the RDF eventually succumbed to violence — violence which killed similar percentages of Tutsis in each region. “Despite earlier violence [in] some places and greater resistance in some areas, once the violence starts, it’s all the same,” Straus said. “My interviews with perpetrators show that once the violence starts, you see a group of rural elite who take control of the commune and make sure they have as many participants as they can, [who believe that] it is better for me to go out and join this group of attackers, otherwise I will be killed.” While appreciative of Straus’ intensive research, some in the audience — which was comprised of several dozen CISAC fellows and both undergraduate and graduate students — questioned just how much could safely be inferred from the quantitative data. “You’re not going to find that education changed whether this started on Tuesday or Thursday,” said Ben Valentino of the Institute for International Studies in reference to Straus’ assertion that wealth and education were factors in the onset of violence. Straus also touched on the preventable nature of the genocide, pointing to the lack of action by the international community and organizations like the United Nations. “Two weeks into the genocide, if you’d had an intervention force going, you could’ve saved half [of the victims],” he said. “I still think this was a very preventable genocide.”

Reuters 8 Mar 2003 Rwandan Leader Defends Mass Release of Prisoners By Adam Tanner SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Rwandan President Paul Kagame defended his recent decree releasing up to 40,000 inmates, including thousands of genocide suspects, saying on Saturday the move was necessary for national reconciliation. "Keeping people in prison endlessly is not a cure to our problems. You have to carry out justice, you have to reconcile people," the mild-mannered Kagame, flashing an occasional smile, told Reuters in an interview. "I understand people who find it difficult to accept some of these things, especially the victims." "I am one of the victims," he said, referring to what he said was numerous relatives killed in a 1994 slaughter of 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus. "But I find myself in the position sometimes where people look at me as being insensitive to their problems." "But that is the price you pay for being in leadership," he added. More than eight years after the mass killings, Rwanda's prisons are overflowing with more than 100,000 people suspected of being involved in the genocide. With a population of a little more than seven million people, the rural nation's legal system has been unable to process all of the cases. "It is not an amnesty that we are giving these prisoners. It is really simply, logically, managing a situation based on the laws already in place," he said. "The law provides for leniency in the cases of confession." "If, for example, a charge against you would fetch a maximum sentence of 15 years and you come out, confess and apologize and, you know, help the whole justice process, that 15 years is reduced to seven and a half," he continued. "They deserve to be out as long as they confess." Rwanda is due to come to the end of its post-genocide political transition this July, which means Kagame faces elections for the first time since taking power. A transitional national assembly appointed him president in 2000. In the interview, he dismissed critics such as Amnesty International who say he has restricted political and civil liberties by, for example, jailing non-violent protesters. "It is coming to fruition now, so why are people complaining today? I think it is people who just enjoy chaos," he said. "We do not refuse openness, freedom of political activities and expression and so on." "But the simple thing we have been saying, and there is unanimity in Rwanda, we are saying yes, that is the way forward. But (remember) our history -- so let's have some rules in place that guide us so that we do not slide back into this situation that we had in the past."

Sierra Leone

NYT March 11, 2003 World Briefing: Africa SIERRA LEONE: U.N. COURT INDICTS 7 A special United Nations court sitting in Sierra Leone indicted seven men on charges of crimes against humanity in connection with that West African nation's the civil war, which ended last year. The indictments cite those considered to be directly responsible for atrocities, including Foday Sankoh, the jailed leader of the rebel army, and the government's internal affairs minister, Sam Hinga Norman. Five of the seven are in custody and two are at large: Johnny Paul Koroma, a warlord who briefly took power in a 1997 coup, and Sam Bockarie, Mr. Sankoh's former field commander. Somini Sengupta (NYT)

AFP 11 Mar 2003 Sierra Leone takes on 'milestone' war crimes indictments by Rod MacJohnson FREETOWN, March 11 (AFP) - Sierra Leone woke up Tuesday to the indictment of seven top people, including the west African nation's interior minister, by a special UN war crimes court for their role in a brutal 10-year civil war. The court's registrar David Vincent said Tuesday that Internal Affairs Minister Sam Hinga Norman would be held "in a country outside" Sierra Leone. Norman who controlled the pro-government "kamajor" militia of traditional warriors fighting on behalf of President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, was arrested on Monday. The others indicted alongside Norman and Foday Sankoh, the charismatic leader of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebel group who has been in detention for more than two years, include rebel commanders Issa Sesay, Morris Kallon, Sam Bockarie and Alex Brima, and former junta leader Johnny Paul Koroma. Koroma and Bockarie are in hiding, presumably in a neighbouring country, but the rest have been arrested. The prosecution charged Monday that the accused were guilty of crimes including "murder, rape, extermination, acts of terror, enslavement, looting and burning, sexual slavery, conscription of children into an armed force." Sankoh founded and led the RUF which started a savage decade-long war against the government from 1991 which claimed more than 100,000 lives. Thousands of civilians had their limbs hacked off during the conflict in Sierra Leone, one of the world's poorest countries despite its large diamond reserves. Mass rape was also used to terrorise the population. Court officials said several other indictments would come up in the coming days. There was speculation that one of them could target Liberian President Charles Taylor, accused of funding and arming the RUF in return for the so-called "blood diamonds" mined by them. Taylor has consistently denied such allegations although he remains under UN sanctions for his perceived support for the Sierra Leonean rebels. A group led by Liberian lawyer Amos Sawyer is vigorously campaigning for Taylor's indictment. The arrest of Norman was a shock both for him and many people in the war-ravaged country. A witness who saw Norman on Monday, said: "he seemed to be in a daze and seemed to think it was a bad dream." Cigarette seller Mohammed Koffi said: " I suspect the court prosecutor wants to strike a balance to give a sense of fair play and point out that it is not only the RUF which bears responsibility in the war." But Aminata Sillah, a 25-year-old housewife whose arms were amputated during the war, was indignant. "I am in sympathy with Hinga Norman who fought on the side of freedom. Let's not forget that the kamajors gave some beatings to the RUF and forced them to the conference table. It's sad that Norman should end up like this." University lecturer Pat Lewis hailed the indictments as a milestone. "We have finally started seeing the light. It marks a turning point in Sierra Leone's political and democratic emancipation," he said. Bintu Swarray, whos lost both her sons in a rebel ambush, added: "A clear message has been put up that crimes against humanity will no longer go unpunished and that violators will have to pay for their actions." The statement of the UN special court's prosecutor David Crane included an excerpt from the opening remarks of Robert Jackson, the prosector at the Nuremberg court in Germany trying crimes committed during World War II on behalf of four nations, Britain, France, Russia and the United States. It ran: "We are able to do away with tyranny and violence and aggression by those in power against the rights of their own people only when we make all men answerable to the law." The Freetown court's statement called upon the people of Sierra Leone -- or those of neighbouring countries where they may be in hiding -- to turn Koroma and Bockarie over to the authorities. Sierra Leone and the United Nations signed an agreement in January last year to set up the tribunal.

IRIN 12 Mar 2003 SIERRA LEONE: Special Court indicts seven ABIDJAN, 12 Mar 2003 (IRIN) -The Special Court for Sierra Leone made its first indictment on Monday, that of seven people who are to stand trial for crimes against humanity which they are accused of committing during a decade-long civil war. "This is a very important step in bringing those who committed atrocities with impunity in Sierra Leone in the last decade to justice," Chief Press and Public Affairs Officer David Hecht told IRIN on Tuesday. "It is a new model for international justice and a major step for people who suffered the atrocities to see that justice will be done." A statement from the Court said on Monday that five of the seven, including former rebel leaders Foday Sankoh and Issa Sesay, and Sam Hinga Norman, the current minister of internal affairs, were arrested and taken into the custody of the Court. The two others, Johnny Paul Koroma - who headed the military junta that ruled Sierra Leone from May 1997 to February 1998 - and ex-rebel commander Sam Bockarie alias "Mosquito", are at large. In accordance with their rights, each of the accused would have a duty counsel assigned to them by the Court "should they require it to represent their interests at this initial hearing". They would be brought before a judge of the Court "as soon as is practical and in any event within seven days", it noted. It said Norman would be held outside Sierra Leone while the other four would be held within the country but at a location outside the capital, Freetown. Although the Sierra Leonean government had given amnesty to ex-combatants and others who committed various atrocities, the Special Court would not take this into consideration since according to the Court, there is no amnesty for crimes against humanity. Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Tuesday welcomed the announcement of the indictments saying it was a tremendous step forward for the cause of justice in Sierra Leone. "This is a key step towards accountability for the horrific crimes of the civil war in Sierra Leone," Peter Takirambudde, executive director of the Africa division of HRW said. "We applaud the court for having the courage to indict persons who were on all sides of the conflict." The Special Court was created through an agreement between the United Nations and the government of Sierra Leone and has a three-year mandate. It is expected to work side by side with the country's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The Court will run as a tribunal that will seek to punish those most responsible for violations of international humanitarian law.

BBC 15 Mar 2003 Sierra Leone accused face court Sankoh led the rebels Sierra Leone's former rebel leader, Foday Sankoh, has appeared before a United Nations court in Sierra Leone after being indicted on war crimes charges. Mr Sankoh, the leader of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) during the 10-year civil war, was the first of four accused due to appear before the tribunal on Saturday. The BBC's Tom McKinley - reporting from the courthouse in the south-eastern town of Bonthe - says the former rebel leader, slouched in a wheelchair with his grey dreadlocks falling over his face, looked a pitiful sight. The presiding judge, Benjamin Itoe from Cameroon, asked Mr Sankoh several times to confirm his identity and, after getting no response, decided that the hearing could not continue. Judge Itoe granted a defence request for a full physiological and psychological examination of the defendant. Mr Sankoh and three other senior rebel figures are accused of crimes including murder, rape, acts of terror, sexual slavery and extermination. The UN set up the Sierra Leone tribunal to prosecute those considered to have the greatest responsibility for war crimes committed during the conflict. RUF rebels were blamed in particular for atrocities such as amputating the limbs of civilians, including young children. Foday Sankoh is also being tried under Sierra Leone law on other charges, including murder. The former rebel leader faces the death penalty under national law if found guilty, but the special UN court does not have the power to impose capital punishment. Murder charges RUF commander Issa Sesay appeared before the tribunal after Mr Sankoh. The list of 17 charges against him, which included unlawful killing, and physical and sexual violence, took an hour to read out. He pleaded not guilty on all counts. Our correspondent says the indictments seemed to indicate that President Charles Taylor of Liberia played a significant role in Sierra Leone's civil war. The court registrar said that Mr Sesay and his colleagues had acted in concert with Mr Taylor - a statement which adds weight to speculation that the Liberian leader may, at some stage, also be called to face the court. The two other rebels expected to appear are Morris Kallon, another RUF commander, and Alex Brima, a former leader of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) which initially fought with the rebels, but later switched allegiance to the government. However, Sierra Leone's Internal Affairs Minister, Sam Hinga Norman, who was indicted with the others on Monday, has not been summoned to appear in court. Mr Hinga Norman was a leader of the Kamajor militia, which supported the government during the civil war. Correspondents say he is seen by many in Sierra Leone as a hero who stood up to the rebels. Both the Kamajors and the rebels were accused of widespread brutality, including rape, arson and plunder of civilian property. At large The chief prosecutor has also called on West African countries harbouring the former rebel commander, Sam Bockarie, and former AFRC leader, Johnny Paul Koroma, to hand them over. Mr Koroma ruled Sierra Leone during one of the bloodiest periods of the decade-long civil war. He seized power from President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah in 1997, but was driven out again early in 1998. Sam Bockarie, known by his rebel name Mosquito, is one of the country's most notorious rebel leaders. He left Liberia in February last year where he had sought refuge following pressure on that country by the UN. He was reported to be in Ivory Coast.

Reuters 18 Mar 2003 Sierra .Leone war crimes court will hunt guilty anywhere By Silvia Aloisi FREETOWN, March 18 (Reuters) - The U.S. prosecutor for Sierra Leone's special war crimes court vowed to hunt down any foreigners who played a major role in fuelling one of Africa's most brutal conflicts, be it with money or guns. The comments added to speculation that Liberia's President Charles Taylor, under United Nations sanctions for backing Sierra Leone's rebels with arms in return for diamonds, would be among those indicted by the U.N.-backed court. David Crane, a 52-year old former Pentagon lawyer and the court's chief prosecutor, said on Monday he was still working to find those bearing the greatest responsibility in the conflict, be they inside or outside Sierra Leone. "As long as it falls within the mandate of the court...I can go anywhere, reach out and get them," Crane told Reuters. "This case is far bigger than Sierra Leone. There is clear evidence of regional and international involvement -- in terms of funding, political backing and military support." The court was set up to try those responsible for the worst atrocities in a decade-long war that shocked the world with its violence against civilians, including the deliberate amputation of limbs, mass rape and forced recruitment of child soldiers. The court has already indicted seven people, including notorious rebel leader Foday Sankoh and the West African country's interior minister, for crimes against humanity. Crane said he hoped trials would begin in the summer. War in the former British colony was declared over in January last year after U.N. peacekeepers disarmed more than 47,000 rebel or pro-government militia fighters. An estimated 50,000 people were killed in the conflict, although Crane said he believed the death toll was closer to 100,000. Crane could not comment on individual criminal cases or future indictments, but said leaders of the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF) acted "in concert with Taylor at all relevant times" -- as stated in the indictments against them. "JOINT CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE" Crane said Sierra Leone's gems, some of the world's purest, fuelled the creation of what he called a "joint criminal enterprise" bringing together rebels, members of a former military junta and international accomplices. Their aim was to gain power and take control of diamond mining areas. "The whole conflict was about diamonds. How did the rebels keep the war going for such a long time? They traded guns for diamonds. Without diamonds, they wouldn't have had the guns and there wouldn't have been a decade-long war," he said. The court is expected to try some 20 ringleaders, although Crane did not give a precise figure. "We haven't closed the book on anyone. We are looking at everything and everyone," he said. He added last week's indictment of Interior Minister Sam Hinga Norman, a close ally of President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, and six other people had shown that "we mean business". "The fact that victims can see someone humbled before the law, that is justice," Crane said. The court will only try people Crane referred to as the "kakatua" -- big fish in the local Creole language -- and probe crimes committed after 30 November 1996, meaning thousands of fighters on both sides will probably never face justice. A truth and reconciliation commission, styled on the body that helped South Africans come to terms with the apartheid era, aims to at least partially fill that gap by bringing together victims and persecutors to tell their stories. But, unlike the special court, it will have no power to punish. Crane said second- or third-tier players found responsible for particularly gruesome acts would be turned over to Sierra Leone's authorities, but insisted on the need to rehabilitate former fighters -- many of whom were children forced to kill. "We have a lost generation in this country. I don't condone their crimes, but we have to reintegrate them into society. If we keep hounding them, all we will do is get them right back into the bush," he said.

IRIN 24 Mar 2003 Further psychiatric evaluation for Sankoh ABIDJAN - A Special Court judge on Friday called for further psychiatric examinations for Foday Sankoh, leader of the former rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF). He is one of seven people so far indicted by the Court for bearing the greatest responsibility for crimes against humanity during Sierra Leone's 10-year war. After receiving an initial psychiatric report on Sankoh, Judge Benjamin Itoe, sitting at a court in Bonthe south east of the capital Freetown, ordered that copies of the report written by psychiatrist Peter Verkaeed be provided to lawyers of the prosecution and defence, a news release from the Court said on Friday. The prosecution requested that the judge enter a "not guilty" plea on behalf on Sankoh. Sankoh has not responded verbally since his first Court hearing earlier this month. The judge denied the request deciding instead that all three judges of the trial chambers needed to make a determination. The case was adjourned to date to be fixed by the registrar. Public hearings were also held for three other indictees - former RUF commanders Alex Brima, Issa Sesay and Morris Kallon who, like Sankoh, each face 17 charges. Their cases were also adjourned, the release said. A fifth indictee, Samuel Hinga Norman has had closed hearings at an undisclosed location, it added. Two others, Johnny Paul Koroma and Sam Bockarie, remain at large. Meanwhile, the judge also held a hearing for an eighth suspect detained by the Court, Augustine Gbao. His detention came at the request of the prosecutor David Crane. According to the news release, the prosecutor has 30 days to either lodge an indictment or request that the suspect be held for a further 30 days. If the suspect is not indicted after being detained for 90 days, he or she must be released, according to the Court rules.


ICG 6 March 2003 Negotiating a Blueprint for Peace in Somalia Somalia's peace talks are in danger of collapsing and need stronger leadership from mediators, the international community and Somali factions themselves. A serious problem is that faction leaders and civil society representatives are self-appointed, with real risk that the negotiation will produce another "government in exile" unable to provide a working administration inside the country that represents popular will. The 27 October 2002 ceasefire has been violated so often it is practically meaningless. The Leaders Committee of the Conference appears tempted to try for a "quick fix", by declaring an interim government first and leaving details of a durable settlement to be worked out later. If there is to be hope of success, the new chairman and his team must redirect the process toward constructing a comprehensive blueprint for peace and governance. ------------------------------------- For the full report, please see CrisisWeb - http://www.crisisweb.org

AFP 11 Mar 2003 Somalia's govt accuses Ethiopia of occupying southern towns NAIROBI, March 11 (AFP) - Somalia's interim government, which controls only small parts of the country, Tuesday accused neighbouring Ethiopia of sending troops to occupy the regions of Gedo and Bakol, in southern Somalia. "Ethiopian forces with heavy armour, including tanks, crossed and occupied once again several parts of Somalia," Mohamed Abdi, the deputy speaker of the Somali Transitional National Assembly (TNA), told a press conference in Nairobi. He claimed that the Ethiopian troops had on Sunday and Monday morning occupied the villages of Dollow, Elbarde and Qudajome in the two regions. Somalia's Transitional National Government (TNG) often accuses Ethiopia of occupying Somali territory. "Since 1996, Ethiopian forces have been entering Somalia at will under the pretext of pursuing Islamists such as Al-Ittihad," said Abdi. The Al-Ittihad al-Islamiya (AIAI) is a militant Somali Islamic group. Last April, an Ethiopian court sentenced five Somalis it said were AIAI members to death for 1996 bomb attacks on hotels and other "terrorist acts" in Ethiopia. Ethiopia has repeatedly denied charges of wanting to topple the TNG, which controls only parts of Mogadishu and little else, or of seeking to destabilise Somalia. Abdi urged the international community to condemn the alleged Ethiopian "aggression" and demanded that Addis Ababa withdraw from the Somali peace process, where it has a mediating role. He warned that the TNG could withdraw from peace talks in Kenya if Ethiopia continued to be a member of the committee mediating between Somali groups brought together by the regional Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD). "If Ethiopia continues to be a member of the technical committee overseeing the talks, we will pack and leave the conference," Abdi warned. The technical commitee is made up of diplomats from Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya. Other IGAD members are Eritrea, Sudan, Uganda and Somalia, which has been without an effective central government since 1991 when the regime of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown.

AFP 16 Mar 2003 Nine killed in weekend violence in Somalia MOGADISHU, March 16 (AFP) - Nine people were killed and at least 15 wounded in three unrelated incidents of violence in Somalia at the weekend, witnesses said on Sunday. Four people were shot dead and 11 wounded when rival militia belonging to the Abgal subclan exchanged gunfire in Elgher district of central Somalia on Sunday, elders contacted by field radio told AFP. Late on Saturday, unidentified gunmen opened fire in Elgher, which is situated in the Galgudud region, killing two people. Also Saturday, three other people were killed and four wounded when gunmen opened fired on a minibus in the Somalia capital. Somalia last had a functioning government in 1991 when the regime of dictator Mohammed Siad Barre was overthrown. The country has since then been ripped apart by interclan warfare.

South Africa

Independent SA 2 Mar 2003 Genocide charge is no laughing matter By Christelle Terreblanche Pieter-Dirk Uys thought long and hard before sending an email message suggesting that preparations be started for a possible international genocide trial against President Thabo Mbeki and Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang. The message to hundreds of acquaintances proclaimed: "The South African people are dying today because of government carelessness and political negligence". In reaction, the government said in a statement that Uys was being "flippant". "I am absolutely serious about this," Uys said this week, emphasising that it was a suggestion "to those who can take it further". 'I hope that people are offended by the use of the term genocide' "In the last 48 hours I've been contacted by people who can take it very far, very far... not just lawyers, but people focused on amnesties, on all these things that lead to where Milosovic is today." Uys is not apologetic about his indictment: "Genocide is such a terrible thing, and I am very aware of the sphere it brings us into. If one thinks of Nazis killing Jews, Burundi, Rwanda and Cambodia. "I hope that people are offended by the use of the term genocide, because I am terribly offended that I even used this word, and yes, I will apologise if I am convinced it was uncalled for." Uys stressed that he thought long and hard before sending the e-mail, but that it was the result of years of discussions with people on the ground. He first sent the email to Mbeki and Tshabalala-Msimang, the accused. An official response from the Government Communications and Information Service has since arrived: "While we are convinced that there are limits to satire, we do recognise Uys's right to overstate matters and respond flippantly to serious issues. 'Pieter-Dirk Uys, jislaaik, are you mad?' "We would have thought that Pieter-Dirk Uys would realise from his own experiences in Aids prevention, as most South Africans do, that searching for scapegoats and instant solutions is not the correct response to the challenge of HIV/Aids." Uys said in reaction: "People die unnecessarily, and I am sorry, there is no flippancy here." Among the dozens of responses, his favourite reads: "Pieter-Dirk Uys, jislaaik, are you mad?" "Yes. Mad as hell! But not as insane as those who think there are limits to satire!,"Uys said. "For me the definition of genocide is to destroy a part of society willfully." Uys's appeal ironically came days before the 2003/4 budget revealed a full roll-out of anti-retrovirals for rape victims and mother-to-child transmission, as well as provisional money for universal treatment. But pills are not what Uys's anger is about, although he supports the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC). "This has got nothing to do with money," he said angrily. "The reason it is so complex at the moment is because there is no leadership here E no minister of health. We have a puppet talking on behalf of the president, and that is why they both deserve a lot of anger." Seated at the "Bloedrivier" section of his Darling restaurant, Evita se Perron, Uys used the metaphor of apartheid to explain why it is wrong to stay quiet. "Why is it always after the action, that people say, 'there has been genocide'?", he asked. "Why wait for ten years and look back to 2003 and realise that two of the major leaders of this country, refused to lead?" He is convinced that like the apartheid years, people are too frightened to do anything. "The people who are denying (the virus) are probably so consumed by fear that they need more care than anybody", he said, adding that he would not be surprised if the government was fearful. "Because the ANC celebrated democracy in 1990 in Lusaka, without condoms E and it's now 12 years later. Steve Tshwete did not have a backache. Peter Mokaba was not poor, and we keep on getting told that its the poverty, and that is where the genocide comes in."

SAPA 26 Feb 2003 'Probe Mbeki and Manto for genocide' February 26 2003 at 06:42AM By Angela Quintal President Thabo Mbeki and Health Minister Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang should be investigated on charges of genocide because of their stance on HIV and Aids, according to South African playwright and satirist Pieter-Dirk Uys. In a message addressed to "All who can take it further", he writes: "The weapon of mass destruction is in South Africa and being harboured by the South African president and his minister of health. It is HIV/Aids." Uys called for an "investigative process" to be put in place as soon as possible, "with vigorous support in local South African and international legal and political circles". This process could result in Mbeki and Tshabalala-Msimang being summoned to appear before the International Court of Justice in The Hague for genocide. "Rather this happen now than in 10 years time, when the world will no doubt look back at 2003 and the actions of the South African president and his minister of health, and realise that by acting sooner, millions of lives could have been saved from an unnecessary death from Aids. "The South African people are dying today because of government carelessness and political negligence," Uys said. Borrowing from government's rallying call to arise and act, Uys said: "The time to act is now. Vuk'uzenzele." The health ministry was not in a position to comment immediately. Last year, Uys launched a 40-minute Aids awareness video, directed at people in the workplace, titled Having Sex With Pieter-Dirk". Introducing a range of South Africans, starting with apartheid-era cabinet minister Piet Koornhof, Uys used humour in the belief that laughing at one's fears makes people less fearful. "We are not laughing at HIV/Aids, we are laughing at the absurd attitudes and dangerous taboos that stop people receiving the information that can save their lives," Uys reportedly said at the time. "The bottom line is clear: Aids will succeed in South Africa where apartheid failed. If 40 percent of our workforce is already HIV-positive in 2002, half of them will be dead in 2006. Investment will dwindle, business will shrink. Fears will again reign supreme." Uys also visited 200 schools and 400 000 children in an Aids awareness drive throughout South Africa, and has recently performed in shows tackling Aids and politics, including Foreign Aids and Symbols Of Sex And State.

FinalCall.com 1 Apr 2003 The Sharpeville Massacre: An atrocity against Africa By Dr. Conrad W. Worrill - Guest Columnist The Sharpeville massacre in Witwatersrand, South Africa resulted in over 200 deaths and injuries in March 1960. The Massacre drew the sometimes reluctant attention of the world and churches to the evils of South Africa's apartheid system. As we build the Reparations Movement throughout the African World community, we should not forget the atrocities that have occurred against African people. One such major atrocity in our history is the Sharpeville Massacre. One of the tragedies of post apartheid South Africa is too much about the numerous atrocities during the vicious era of the White supremacist regime being forgotten. African people should never forget history! It is in this connection that the National Black United Front always commemorates the March 21, 1960 Sharpeville Massacre. African Liberation Movement forces, around the world, commemorate the Sharpeville Massacre and this is the 42nd anniversary of this tragic event in South African history. Just as the Blacks in America demonstrated and subjected themselves to arrest in the south during the 1950s and 1960s to protest racist segregation laws, African people in the Sharpeville area of South Africa began organizing to demonstrate against the White supremacist Pass Laws System in 1960. The Pass Laws System in South Africa was a method the South African government employed to "officially" check on the whereabouts of Blacks at all times. Blacks had to carry a document much like a passport that had to be stamped, before they were allowed any movement in the country. On December 19, 1959, the Pan African Congress/PAC "resolved to embark upon a campaign directed against the Pass Laws which subject the African people to humiliation of constant arrest." The Black community is familiar with police harassment and brutality. The Pass Law System in South Africa gave police unlimited authority in arresting people at will. During the week of March 20, 1960, the Pan African Congress requested permission to hold a public meeting on Sunday. The request to meet was refused by South African government officials. The Pan African Congress decided to launch the Pass Book Campaign on March 21 by holding a rally and demonstration to protest these vicious laws. Unable to hold public meeting, members of the PAC called their members to meet at the Sharpeville Tennis Court grounds. (Sharpeville is the African location known as Vereeniging.) According to eyewitness accounts, on March 21st, "a great number of people had assembled at the tennis court where they were addressed on the objects of the campaign and had explained to them the decision to surrender peacefully to the police for arrest that day." Further eyewitness accounts explain that, "at 1:30 a.m., a Riot Squad with two security staff cars arrived at the scene of the meeting. Without endeavoring to ask anybody what the gathering was about, the police started shooting from their vehicles into the air to frighten and disperse the crowd." Later that morning, "a great number of armed white people invaded the location and while they were ostensible patrolling the streets, intimidating people with the obvious intentions of causing retaliation so that they might be afforded an excuse to carry out their objective of smashing by brutal force the opposition to the Pass Laws." Leaders of the Pan African Congress continued their planned march to the police station in accordance with the decision to surrender themselves for arrest. Hundreds of people followed the leaders singing the South African Black National Anthem. After Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe, the first PAC national president, and his aides had been arrested, thousands of unarmed Africans gathered at the police station in Sharpsville. The White police force fired on the defenseless men, women, and children. Sixty Africans were killed on the spot and 178 were wounded. More than 80 percent of those shot were shot in the back as they fled. It is because of this incessant act of violence that we commemorate the Sharpeville Massacre. It is important that we continue to analyze and discuss events that help us understand the role of history in the liberation of African people. African people must never forget history! Remember the Sharpeville Massacre! Get involved! Help build the Reparations Movement! (Dr. Conrad Worrill is national chairman of the National Black United Front www.nbufront.org


IRIN 7 Mar 2003 Government accused of violating ceasefire agreement NAIROBI, 7 Mar 2003 (IRIN) - The Brussels-based think tank International Crisis Group (ICG) has accused the Sudanese government of violating a key agreement on the cessation of hostilities, signed with the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLM/A) last October. In a statement issued on Thursday, the ICG said government forces and government-sponsored militias had continued to attack oilfields in Western Upper Nile in an effort to dislodge the SPLM/A and continue to expand oil industry development in the disputed region. The primary victims of the violence were civilians, the statement said. "The international community must immediately condemn the continuing violation of the cessation of hostilities by the government of Sudan," said John Prendergast of the ICG. "The parties must be held accountable for agreements signed in the context of the peace process. Otherwise, neither the government, the SPLM/A, nor the Sudanese people can be expected to take the process seriously." The statement cited four attacks in the Western Upper Nile region that took place between 13 February and 22 February this year. The statement also cited similar attacks in December and January. The December and January attacks were documented by the US-backed Civilian Protection Monitoring Team (CPMT) which was established under the framework of the peace process to monitor attacks on civilians. In its February report, the CPMT said there had been an increased government military build-up in the region and the forced conscription of a large number of local Nuer and Dinka boys and men in the region, Khartoum and elsewhere. "Many thousands of civilians have been forcibly displaced from their villages by direct military attack in the [Western Upper Nile] areas of Lara, Tam, Nhialdou, Leel and the villages south of Mankien and Mayom," the CPMT report stated. In the October accord, the sides agreed to observe a countrywide ceasefire to create the right environment for ongoing peace talks in Kenya. The parties reaffirmed the agreement with an addendum, signed on 4 February, outlining measures to ensure the protection of civilians in the affected areas. ICG said the fighting "does not immediately threaten the peace talks". But, it warned: "If this grave breach of signed agreements is not challenged by the international community, however, it will set a precedent that the parties have no reason to take other parts of the peace process seriously, including any final agreement and accompanying international guarantees that may be reached."

AFP 8 Mar 2003 Arab NGOs open conference on assistance to south Sudan KHARTOUM, March 8 (AFP) - Some 50 Arab non-governmental organisations began two days of talks here Saturday to discuss Arab League calls for increased aid to southern Sudan to dissuade it from breaking away to form a separate state. "The Arab League places the unity of Sudan and the development of the south at the top of its priorities," the League's envoy to Sudan, Nadia Makram Ebeid, told the meeting. Ebeid said she would take delegates on a tour of southern Sudan to assess the assistance needs on the ground and convene a follow-up conference on May 27. The rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army has been fighting the Khartoum government since 1983 in Africa's longest-running civil war. An outline peace agreement reached by the two sides in Kenya last year foresees seven years of autonomy for the mainly Christian and animist south leading up to a referendum on independence, an outcome that is strongly opposed by Sudan's fellow members of the Arab League.

AFP 11 Mar 2003 Canada's peace envoy urges world to pressure warring Sudanese NAIROBI, March 11 (AFP) - The Canadian envoy to the Sudanese peace process, Senator Mobina Jaffer, on Tuesday urged the international community to step up pressure on warring sides to reach a peace agreement. "The international community should continue to maintain and step up collective pressure on the parties to sign, and live up to, a peace agreement," Jeffer said in Nairobi after returning from Sudan. "The diplomatic community involved in peace process should ensure that resources needed to reach peace are available," she said, explaining that Canada on its part had given a total of 11 million dollars (9.9 million euros) to peace talks and humanitarian assistance to Sudan. "Canada is fully committed to support the Sudan, we have also delivered a constitutional experts to help in drafting of agreements," Jeffer told AFP. While in Sudan, "I spoke to a lot of people in the north and the south. 'We are tired of war' and 'we need peace' are the consistent messages I got from them," she said. Sudan has been wracked by unrest since its independence in 1956. The latest phase of conflict started in 1983 when the rebel Sudanese People Liberation Army (SPLA) mostly of them Christians and animists in the south took up arms against Khartoum. Jeffers said some countries involved in efforts to halt the conflict is Sudan, which has killed more than 1.5 million people and displaced more than four million others, were sending conflicting messages of peace in their actions. "We should be careful of the signals we send to Sudan. How can you tell Sudanese to stop fighting when you are taking war to other countries?" she said referring to US efforts to bring peace in Sudan at the same time preparing for a possible war against Iraq. Last July the government and the SPLA agreed during talks in Kenya that Sudan's south would enjoy autonomy for six years, after which a referendum would be held to decide the region's political future. "Sadly, signatures on a peace agreement do not necessarily signal the start of a Sudanese renaissance, it only signals the start of hard work ... to earn each other's trust and confidence," she warned.


IRIN 7 Mar 2003 MP says LRA leader committed to ceasefire KAMPALA, 7 Mar 2003 (IRIN) - A member of parliament in Uganda's northern Gulu district, Norbert Mao, has said the leader of the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), Joseph Kony, has committed himself to a ceasefire. Mao told IRIN that Kony had called him by satellite phone on Wednesday and made the pledge. He said the two spoke for over an hour. "For the next three months he [Kony] will not wage any attacks and will concentrate on ordering his forces to observe a ceasefire," Mao told IRIN. The three-month period would allow talks between the government and the LRA to take place, and facilitate the formalisaton of a bilateral ceasefire, Kony reportedly said. Meanwhile, two LRA rebels were killed yesterday by Ugandan soldiers in Lalogi sub-county in Gulu district. "The rebels came and said they were hungry and wanted some food and were not going to fight or kill anyone because they were observing a ceasefire," said local councillor Stephen Okello. "However, soon after they left the UPDF [Uganda People's Defence Force] attacked them and hit at them, killing two of the rebels and injuring others." On Tuesday, the rebels held a rally at Paibona in Aswa County in Gulu to assure local residents that they were observing the ceasefire, he added.

AFP 10 Mar 2003 Ugandan president stops anti-rebel operation in parts of north KAMPALA, March 10 (AFP) - Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni on Monday announced the cessation of military operations in several areas of the north, to allow mediators to establish contact with rebels. The Ugandan army is fighting rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), who are active in several northern districts. "With effect from March 10, 2003 to March 15, 2003, the UPDF (army) shall cease operations in the areas of Wipolo and Lalogi, Pader district to give the LRA a safe zone to make contact with the religious and cultural leaders and the presidential peace team," Museveni said in a statement. Museveni's announcement follows an unilateral ceasefire declared by the LRA nine days ago. "In order to ensure that no confusion arises, the LRA is advised to notify government on their movement to the area so that safe passage can be arranged," said Museveni. He said LRA fighters can assemble in specific places which he named as the areas between Adodi hills and Aswa river, north of Apyeta-Palabek road, Akilok game reserve, Ngomoromo and Latwala hills. A Roman Catholic priest trying to broker peace between the government and the LRA on Friday accused the army of sabotaging efforts to initiate dialogue. Father Carlos Rodriguez alleged that government troops last Thursday surrounded a place where a team of religious leaders and a local chief would have met LRA representatives in northern Uganda, thus pre-empting the meeting. The LRA has been fighting since 1988 to overthrow President Yoweri Museveni's secular government, ostensibly to replace it with one based on the biblical Ten Commandments. Their campaign has been marked by violence against civilians in northern Uganda where they regularly kill or abduct villagers.

IRIN 18 Mar 2003 Eight killed in LRA attack - Rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) killed eight people on Monday during an ambush on a truck in Mucwini, Kitgum district, in the north of the country, according to the Ugandan army. The eight were reportedly killed instantly when the LRA hit the truck with a rocket propelled grenade. A commander of the Ugandan People's Defence Force (UPDF), Paddy Ankunda, told IRIN he was disappointed by the attack, which came a day after President Yoweri Museveni extended a truce for five days, to allow talks to take place between the government peace team and the rebels. "If they continue committing their atrocities of abducting, killing and looting we shall have no option but to come out and defend the population which is one of our duties," he said. On Sunday, the rebels also looted merchandise and property in Buyatira trading centre, in Gulu district, but no injuries were reported. A spokesman for the Acholi Religious leaders, Lam Cosmos, said it was possible that acts of indiscipline by the LRA would continue and people should not expect the atrocities to stop instantly, the BBC reported. Cosmos added that the priority was still to nurture the peace process and build trust between the two sides. Two recent attempts to hold face-to-face talks between the government team and LRA representatives have failed.

IRIN 1 Apr 2003 Political pluralism may curb insurgencies, analyst says NAIROBI, 1 Apr 2003 (IRIN) - A decision by President Yoweri Museveni to allow political parties to operate freely in Uganda could help end a 17-year insurgency in northern Ugandan and increase the prospects for peace with the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), according to regional analysts. Museveni last week indicated that he supported a multiparty system in Uganda, but said the decision should be subjected to a countrywide referendum. Addressing the ruling Movement party's top decision-making organ, the National Executive Committee (NEC), Museveni also called for the retaining the Movement, not as a political party, but as an organisation. David Mafabi, the political director of the Kampala based think tank, the Pan African Movement, told IRIN that opening up the political space in Uganda would reduce the number of political groups taking up arms. "Whatever the case, this is welcome," he said. "It can only impact positively on the country's political situation. It can only assist in the peace building in the country." Museveni, who came to power in 1986, has opposed political pluralism which he said contributed to ethnic divisionism and civil war. His recent change of heart has been seen by some analysts as a move to quell growing discord within the Movement, deflect pressure from donors, and woo back dissidents opposed to his seeking a third term. Apart from long-established political parties such as the Uganda People's Congress (UPC) and the Democratic Party (DP), the Movement is also facing stiff opposition from the Reform Agenda, a political pressure group led by Kiiza Besigye, Museveni's former ally and main challenger in the 2001 presidential elections. "Museveni has not changed his position on political parties. He is only facing reality, that some people won't follow the Movement, and even within the Movement, there are cleavages," Mafabi told IRIN. "You need to go back to his writings where he has always argued that many political parties do not work in African countries," he said.


Africa News 6 Mar 2003 International Bar Association Calls For International Criminal Court To Investigate And Try Robert Mugabe, International Bar Association The International Bar Association (IBA) today called for the trial of Robert Mugabe for serious violations of international humanitarian law. The IBA addressed its call to all State Parties to the International Criminal Court (ICC), each of whom has the authority to request that prosecution be initiated. The IBA urged that the first act of the ICC's Prosecutor should be directed at the alleged atrocities committed by Zimbabwe's President and his regime. 'No single act would more accurately reflect the purpose and importance of the ICC than to have Mr Mugabe as the first individual tried by the new Court', said Mark Ellis, the IBA's Executive Director. 'Fortunately for the international community and for those who have suffered under Mr Mugabe's policies, the existence of the ICC means that if found guilty he will not escape being held accountable for his actions.' Mr Ellis states that there is already sufficient evidence to justify the investigation of allegations that Mr Mugabe has committed and continues to commit crimes against humanity. These are defined as acts that are part of a widespread or systematic attack against any civilian population, including murder, torture, imprisonment or other inhumane acts of a similar nature intentionally causing great suffering. Evidence and reports are emerging almost daily in support of these claims from Zimbabwe, where threats, beatings, and torture appear to be systematically directed at those groups who stand outside, or criticise the ruling Zanu-PF party. Mr Mugabe's rhetoric increasingly defines those who do not actively support him as traitors, and many of the actions of the police and the militia appear to be motivated by such rhetoric. In the current atmosphere, the independence of the rule of law has been consistently undermined, as frequently highlighted by the IBA's Human Rights Institute. The ICC came into existence on 1 July 2002 as the first permanent court ever established to investigate and try individuals for the most serious violations of international humanitarian law, including crimes against humanity. The ICC is currently recruiting its first Prosecutor, hence the timing of the IBA's call. About the International Bar Association In its role as a dual membership organisation, comprising 16,000 individual lawyers and 180 Bar Associations and Law Societies, the International Bar Association (IBA) influences the development of international law reform and shapes the future of the legal profession. Its Member Organisations cover all continents and include the American Bar Association, the German Federal Bar, the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, the Mexican Bar Association and the Law Society of Zimbabwe. Grouped into three Sections - Business Law, Legal Practice, and Energy & Natural Resources Law - more than 60 specialist Committees provide members with access to leading experts and up-to-date information as well as top-level professional development and network-building opportunities through high-quality publications and world-class Conferences. The IBA's Human Rights Institute works across the Association, helping to promote, protect and enforce human rights under a just rule of law, and to preserve the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession worldwide.

ICG 10 March 2003 Zimbabwe: Danger and Opportunity - A behind-the-scenes succession battle appears to have begun following indications that senior ZANU-PF officials are exploring retirement scenarios for President Mugabe. Since the rigged March 2002 presidential election, the country has been heading towards state collapse. The economy is imploding, a government-created food crisis is turning Zimbabwe into a beggar nation and deepening state sponsored violence could degenerate into widespread unstructured conflict. At the same time, the international community has become even more divided. A new mediation effort is urgently needed that involves all relevant Zimbabwean stakeholders and aims to restore legitimacy to the government by creating a transitional administration, restoring the rule of law, finding an electoral compromise, reforming economic policies, ensuring genuine land reform, and creating an exit strategy for the president. For the full Press Release, please see CrisisWeb - http://www.crisisweb.org

Africa News 11 Mar 2003 Mugabe Must Be Tried, The Daily News THE International Bar Association (IBA) has called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute President Mugabe for serious violations of international humanitarian law, including torturing innocent citizens. The association said this in a statement released last Thursday. Earlier, the Human Rights Trust of Southern Africa warned the police against gross human rights abuses, including torture, or risk international prosecution. The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) yesterday welcomed the call, saying it should be given the support it deserved. Despite their well-documented torture of citizens, the Zimbabwe Republic Police continued to participate in United Nations peace-keeping missions. More than 10 opposition MDC MPs and over a 1 000 people perceived to be Mugabe's opponents have been tortured by the police. The latest victim is Job Sikhala, the MP for St Mary's (MDC), tortured in police custody on allegations of attempting to remove the government through unconstitutional means. He was arrested for allegedly burning a public transport bus in furtherance of subversion. The IBA addressed its call to state parties of the ICC, each of whom has the authority to request that prosecution be initiated against Mugabe and his government. "No single act would more accurately reflect the purpose and importance of the ICC than to have Mugabe as the first individual tried by the new court," said Mark Ellis, IBA's executive director. "Fortunately for the international community and for those who have suffered under Mugabe's policies, the existence of the ICC means that, if found guilty, Mugabe will not escape being held accountable for his actions." Ellis said there was sufficient evidence to justify the investigation into the atrocities and crimes that Mugabe had committed and continued to commit against humanity. The crimes were defined as acts that were part of a widespread or systematic attack against any civilian population, including murder, torture, imprisonment or other inhumane acts of a similar nature, intentionally causing great suffering. Evidence and reports were emerging almost daily in support of these claims from Zimbabwe, where threats, beatings, and torture appeared to be systematically directed at those groups who stood outside, or criticised, Zanu PF, the IBA said. The association said Mugabe's rhetoric increasingly defined those who did not actively support him as traitors, and many of the actions of the police and the militia appeared to be motivated by such rhetoric. The ICC came into existence on 1 July 2002 as the first permanent court ever established to investigate and try individuals for the most serious violations of international humanitarian law, including crimes againsthumanity. ZimRights national chairman Arnold Tsunga said: "It does not matter whether he is the President or not. Crimes against humanity are a serious offence and, if need be, a person can be prosecuted by the international community." Last December, a United States judge, Victor Marrero entered a final judgment of US$71 million (about $3,9 billion) against Zanu PF for torturing and killing opposition party members. Marrero ordered Zanu PF to compensate six MDC supporters whose relatives where killed or tortured during the 2000 parliamentary election campaign. The claimants include Adela Chiminya, whose husband, Tichaona, was murdered at Murambinda growth point, MDC candidate for Bindura, Elliot Pfebve, whose brother, Matthew, was dragged from his home and killed by a Zanu PF mob in Mashonaland Central, and the widow of slain commercial farmer, David Stevens. More than 10 commercial farmers were killed during the farm invasions which began in February 2000, while thousands of farm workers throughout the country were assaulted and made homeless. While it is evident that acts of human right abuse continue in the country, South African President Thabo Mbeki and his Nigerian counterpart, Olusegun Obasanjo, believe Mugabe is repentant and that Zimbabwe is returning to the rule of law. The two leaders have urged the Commonwealth to lift Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth Councils, but Australian Prime Minister John Howard has resisted the move, saying Mugabe does not warrant a reprieve.

IRIN 12 Mar 2003 Divisions allow Mugabe to win PR battle: ICG JOHANNESBURG, 12 Mar 2003 (IRIN) - Divisions within the international community over its approach to Zimbabwe has allowed President Robert Mugabe to win the public relations and political battle, the latest International Crisis Group (ICG) report said. It is also depriving the international community of a chance to influence what increasingly appears to be the onset of a serious succession battle within Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF. Following extensive research on the latest developments in the country, the Brussels-based group said that while the crisis in Zimbabwe deepened, the international response had become more divided. In the Commonwealth, leading members South Africa and Nigeria were arguing "against all the evidence" that Zimbabwe's suspension should be lifted because the situation had improved. The relevant regional and continental international organisations, the Southern African Development Community and the African Union (AU) respectively, had yet to engage meaningfully. And the European Union (EU) is "rent by divisions" after France's invitation to Mugabe to participate in a recent pan-African summit in Paris. The report said the US remained a weak actor, able to implement a promised asset freeze only after nearly a year's delay because of internal mid-level policy disagreements. "The international response has been divided, overstated, under-implemented, and largely ineffectual. Since the ICG's last report [in October 2002], divisions have widened, not just between Africa and the West, but also increasingly within the West. "The issue of Zimbabwe is dividing international organisations and creating embarrassing public debates over trivial issues such as participation in a cricket championship, that deflect attention from the serious erosion occurring within the country," the report noted. Areas of concern were severe food shortages, rampant inflation, fuel shortages, continued land seizures, extremely low harvest predictions and threats to the judiciary and the media. Warning of a "potential state collapse", the ICG said that one new element that suggests positive change may be possible involves reports that began to surface in January 2003 that senior ZANU-PF officials were seriously exploring possible retirement for Mugabe. The ICG suggested that much of the desire for change was driven by the effects the economic crisis was having on high-ranking officials' personal interests as well as a desire to lure back donor assistance and restore international credibility. According to the reports, opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai was sounded out by representatives of the Speaker of Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa and armed forces chief General Vitalis Zvinavashe on the possibility of joining a transitionary authority if Mugabe retired. The alleged deal involved certain ZANU-PF officials receiving immunity from prosecution for human rights abuses. Tsvangirai reportedly rejected this offer saying Zimbabwe would need to return to democracy through a process that was transparent and accountable, not a "backroom deal" that presupposed Mnangagwa as the new president. The revelations surrounding the meetings brought into the open long suspected divisions with the ruling party, the report said. It detailed two camps of contenders and a possible third "spoiler" camp involved in the power struggle. Recent statements from Mugabe - like "there are those that seek to divide us from within" - indicate that "some things have gone on behind his back", the report noted. It warned that unless an acceptable process materialised, one of the factions "might bolt from ZANU-PF, form its own party and try to attract others as the Rainbow Coalition did in Kenya". It added that some of the less radical war veterans were also organising and could provide another point of independent opposition to ZANU-PF over the coming months. The ICG said that South Africa was active behind the scenes in promoting a succession plan, but it appeared to prefer a "quiet deal that would be arranged within and primarily by ZANU-PF with a relatively minimal role for the opposition." Reducing international pressure on ZANU-PF now would be a great mistake and would only lower the chance of peaceful or positive change, the report said. Recommendations put forward include formalising all informal contacts into one mediation channel fully backed by the region and broader international community. Negotiations between ZANU-PF and the MDC should be restarted and an AU initiative should be constructed to broker a transitional administration that involves the opposition and civil society, restores the rule of law and prepares the ground for early elections. Part of this would have to be an exit strategy for Mugabe and some of his close advisors. The initiative should involve countries such as Ghana, Senegal or Kenya who have undergone a recent transition of power for a liberation-era party to the opposition. For these measures to work, there was a need for increased pressure from outside Africa on ZANU-PF and its commercial supporters, and increased citizen pressure from with Zimbabwe, the report said. It also recommended that the government of Zimbabwe stop politicising food aid delivery though the parastatal Grain Marketing Board and called on UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and WFP head James Morris to authorise a UN monitoring mission to ensure the distribution of food in Zimbabwe.

IRIN 17 Mar 2003 Commonwealth suspension continues until December JOHANNESBURG, 17 Mar 2003 (IRIN) - Zimbabwe will remain suspended from the councils of the Commonwealth until December when the Commonwealth Heads of Government meet in Nigeria to decide on a way forward, Commonwealth Secretary-General, Don McKinnon, said on Sunday. This comes as a turnaround on recent reports that two members of the Commonwealth troika on Zimbabwe - Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo and South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki - had recommended the lifting of the country's one-year suspension, which is due for review on 19 March. The suspension was imposed after last year's controversial presidential elections. A statement released by McKinnon said that members of the troika, which includes Australian Prime Minister John Howard, agreed that he [McKinnon] should undertake wider consultations among Commonwealth governments. He said that leaders he consulted across the Commonwealth stated that they wished to see the Commonwealth continue to work together on the issue of Zimbabwe. "Some member governments take the view that it is time to lift Zimbabwe's suspension from the councils of the Commonwealth when the one-year period expires on 19 March 2003. Some others feel that there is no justification for such a step and that there is in fact reason to impose stronger measures," McKinnon said. "The members of the Troika have now concluded that the most appropriate approach in the circumstances is for Zimbabwe's suspension from the councils of the Commonwealth to remain in place until Commonwealth Heads of Government address the issue and decide upon a way forward at the CHOGM in December 2003," he added. McKinnon noted: "The issue of land reform is at the core of the situation in Zimbabwe and cannot be separated from other issues of concern to the Commonwealth, such as the rule of law, respect for human rights, democracy and the economy. The Commonwealth and the wider international community remain ready to assist the government of Zimbabwe in addressing this key issue. "I once again call on the Zimbabwe government to re-engage with the Commonwealth and the United Nations Development Programme on the issue of transparent, equitable and sustainable measures for land reform, as agreed at Abuja in September 2001. Commonwealth governments also look to the Government of Zimbabwe to honour its undertakings given to other regional leaders on issues of concern."

BBC 18 Mar 2003 Strike shuts Zimbabwe cities The police have vowed to deal ruthlessly with any trouble-makers Opposition groups in Zimbabwe have hailed the success of what they are calling the most widely-supported nationwide strike against President Robert Mugabe for years. The opposition said that most factories and shops in the capital, Harare, and other cities remained closed on the first day of strike, as thousands of people stayed away from work. The police described the strike - which the authorities said was illegal - as a total failure, saying that more than 60 arrests were made after clashes with protesters. The BBC's Lewis Machipisa in Harare said that the army was deployed following some violence in the Harare suburb of Epworth. Violence was also reportered by the BBC correspondent in the second city of Bulawayo. The strike was called by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), whose leader Morgan Tsvangirai has been accused by some party activists of not doing enough to make life difficult for Mr Mugabe since his controversial re-election a year ago. Roadblocks MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said that two opposition MPs were among those arrested. Our correspondent says he saw a bus and a bread van set on fire, while youths threw stones at any cars which were on the streets. People are sick and tired of this regime and this is their message Paul Themba Nyathi, MDC Police fired tear gas to disperse protesters from a bus station in the eastern suburb of Mabvuku, according to the Associated Press news agency. However, some government offices and banks remained open, reported Reuters news agency. The BBC's Themba Nkosi in the second city, Bulawayo, said there were running battles between MDC activists and government supporters in the suburb of Mpopoma. He said that most shops and factories were shut in the afternoon after being open in the morning. There was a heavy police presence on the streets. The authorities declared the strike illegal under tough new security laws and said they would deal strongly with any trouble-makers. "The police will meet them head-on. We will be very ruthless with them, but within the limits of the law," police Inspector Andrew Phiri told state television. Shortages The MDC has called on people to stay at home on Tuesday and Wednesday and not to demonstrate in order to avoid any violence. "People are sick and tired of this regime and this is their message," Mr Nyathi said, adding that about 80% of the businesses were affected by the strike. Queues have become a way of life in Zimbabwe The strike is being supported by the unions and other civic groups. Zimbabwe is hit by shortages of everything from food and fuel to cotton wool. Inflation is running at more than 200% and many factories have closed down, leading to massive unemployment. Half of the population, some seven million people need food aid. Mr Mugabe blames the problems on sabotage by foreign enemies opposed to his land reform programme.

IRIN 31 Mar 2003 MDC wins two by-elections, police step up security - Security was being stepped up in Zimbabwe JOHANNESBURG, 31 Mar 2003 (IRIN) - As Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) celebrated two by-election victories on Monday, the country's security forces were setting up road blocks ahead of an opposition deadline for the government to meet demands on political reforms. Delighted over winning the Harare seats of Highfield and Kuwadzana at the weekend, MDC information director Nkanyiso Maqeda told IRIN: "We couldn't be happier. This is a victory over oppression. The people have shown their resilience against all odds. They have had enough of the hunger and intimidation that has become part of their daily lives." Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC) spokesman Thomas Bvuma told IRIN that in Highfield, MDC candidate Pearson Mungofa won 8,759 votes against his closest rival ZANU-PF's Joseph Chinotimba's 4,844. In Kuwadzana, the MDC's Nelson Chamisa scooped 12,548 to ZANU-PF's David Mutasa's 5,022 ballots. The seats were seen as a crucial test for the MDC who had lost a string of recent by-elections to the ruling ZANU-PF. Losing seats in their urban stronghold would also have allowed ZANU-PF to inch closer to the two-thirds majority required to make constitutional amendments. The conduct of the elections were also seen as crucial for the future stability of the country. The police and the ESC said their investigations into complaints of violence and intimidation had not turned up any evidence. But Bidi Munyaradzi, national director of the human rights NGO ZimRights, which had been among the poll monitoring groups, disagreed. He said his organisation would release a report on Tuesday. Among those arrested was MDC vice-president Gibson Sibanda, who was picked-up on Monday in Zimbabwe's second city of Bulawayo. Assistant Commissioner of Police Wayne Bvudzijena told IRIN that although he was not yet in a position to provide details, Sibanda's arrest was related to alleged activities in an MDC-run stayaway on 18 and 19 March. The two-day stayaway, called to protest government policies, was followed by an MDC ultimatum demanding the release of political prisoners and respect for civil liberties, backed by the threat of more mass action after 31 March. Bvudzijena said the police were aware of the MDC's ultimatum and the Ministry of Home Affairs had ordered increased policing in urban areas in anticipation of "acts of criminality". "During the two days of mass action the MDC said they would be peaceful but it turned out to be something else," Bvudzijena said. "Three-hundred-and-sixty-two MDC activists were arrested on allegations relating to dynamite and petrol bombings." He said this included some of the party's top leadership. Zimbabwe's security forces were widely reported to have cracked down sharply on those perceived to be MDC supporters in the wake of the stayaway. The two by-election constituencies were also allegedly targeted.



NYT 1 Mar 2003 Hunt for Falklands Wreck Opens Old Wounds By LARRY ROHTER BUENOS AIRES, Feb. 28 — Amid growing controversy here, a National Geographic Society maritime expedition is scheduled to depart Sunday from Patagonia to search for the remains of the General Belgrano, an Argentine warship sunk in the South Atlantic Ocean under disputed circumstances during the Falklands War more than 20 years ago. The voyage, which is to be filmed for a television documentary, has produced deep divisions among various groups representing war veterans and relatives of victims of the sinking. Some consider the undertaking a desecration of the memory of the dead, while others hope evidence will be uncovered that will strengthen their efforts to bring Britain to justice for an attack that has been widely regarded here as a violation of international law. Carrying a crew of 1,093 men, the General Belgrano was sunk on May 2, 1982, in frigid seas east of Tierra del Fuego. The attack killed 323 Argentine sailors, the largest single loss of life during the 10-week conflict that had begun a month earlier when Argentina, then ruled by a military dictatorship, invaded and occupied the Falkland Islands, known here as the Malvinas. When it was torpedoed by the British nuclear submarine Conqueror, the General Belgrano was outside a 200-mile "exclusion zone" around the Falklands that Britain had declared in April. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher argued that the attack was justified because the Argentine vessel had been sailing toward a British naval task force, but Argentina said the cruiser was heading in the opposite direction when it was sunk. The incident has led Argentine veterans groups to push for Lady Thatcher to be charged with war crimes. "I don't know whether we will find the vessel or whether you will be able to draw any conclusions about its direction or anything else," John Bredar, the executive producer of the documentary, said today in a telephone interview from Washington. "But that's not our focus. We're setting out not to do a geopolitical history but to personalize the story of the Belgrano and tell it to a much larger global audience." Both of the main groups representing Argentine veterans of the Falklands War, however, have expressed irritation that they were not consulted about the expedition. They are also angry at the Argentine Navy, which they accuse of deliberately ignoring a law that declares the General Belgrano's resting place, in international waters nearly 14,000 feet deep, to be hallowed ground and a national war memorial. "What happens if the skeleton of one of those who died defending the fatherland should appear in the film?" asked Marcelo Sánchez, president of the National Commission of Former Combatants in the Malvinas. Rubén Rada, the president of the Federation of Argentine War Veterans, said his group wanted assurances that "they are not going to haul off a piece of the Belgrano and take it to London to show in a museum." Mr. Bredar said such concerns were unwarranted. "We've never had any intention whatsoever of recovering anything or penetrating the hull," he said. "Argentine law is very clear about not touching the site. It's a sacred burial area, and we are going to treat it as such." Accompanied by an Argentine Navy vessel, the expedition hopes to locate the General Belgrano with sonar and then send a remote-operated submersible to film the wreckage. The 24 people on board include two members of the Conqueror crew, one from the submarine's torpedo room and the other from the sonar room, whose presence has been protested by the Argentine veterans' groups. "You don't take the executioner back to the scene of the crime," Mr. Rada said in an interview today. "It is offensive to the memory of those who perished that this expedition should include members of the submarine crew that criminally sank the Belgrano and then fled without providing notice to nearby ships that could have rescued survivors." In response, Mr. Bredar said, "You can't tell a personal history if you bring veterans from only one side." The two British crew members met today for the first time with their Argentine counterparts, who earlier in the week said they harbored no personal resentment against their former adversaries. "You have to look at this with professionalism," Pedro Luis Galazi, the second in command of the General Belgrano, told the daily Clarín. "The English had a mission, and so did we. It was the same: destroy the enemy. But one cannot always be at war. Now the ties between us are strengthening." Britain and Argentina resumed diplomatic ties in 1990, and in 1994 the Argentine government formally recognized the sinking of the General Belgrano as a "legal act of war." In July 2000, however, relatives of two Argentines who died in the attack filed a complaint against the British government at the European Court for Human Rights, claiming that the attack violated the crew members' "right to life" and seeking compensation. Those lawsuits have been turned away on the grounds that they were filed too late and that the complainants have not exhausted all their legal remedies in British courts. But veterans' groups here continue to pressure the Argentine government to take the case to the International Court of Justice and to have Lady Thatcher charged with war crimes.

NYT 9 Mar 2003 Argentina, a Haven for Nazis, Balks at Opening Its Files By LARRY ROHTER UENOS AIRES, March 7 — Under fire because of a new book that documents for the first time how Juan Perón clandestinely maneuvered to bring Nazi and other war criminals to Argentina after World War II, the Peronist government here is resisting calls to release long-secret official records about the collaboration. According to the Simon Wiesenthal Center here, both the Foreign Relations Ministry and the Interior Ministries have failed to respond to letters, sent to them shortly after the book was published here late last year, asking that the records be made public. In addition, seven members of Congress have now called for an investigation into how crucial immigration records were apparently destroyed six years ago in defiance of existing laws. The book that ignited the controversy, published in the United States as "The Real Odessa: Smuggling the Nazis to Perón's Argentina" (Granta Books: 2002), has become a best seller here. Its author, Uki Goñi, is an Argentine journalist who had to do much of his research in European archives after encountering closed doors here. "This is an issue of credibility and transparency," Mr. Goñi said in an interview. But he also said he recognized the political explosiveness of the documents since they demonstrated "just how closely linked Argentina and the Third Reich were and prove the existence of a secret postwar organization that involved Perón and provided a safe haven to Nazis." According to records Mr. Goñi has uncovered here and abroad, Perón's government, which was in power from 1946 to 1955, shepherded nearly 300 war criminals into the country. Besides such notorious figures as Adolf Eichmann, Josef Mengele and Klaus Barbie, dozens of French, Belgian, Italian, Croatian and Slovak fascists, many of them Nazi collaborators sought in their home nations, were also admitted, some under aliases, others under their real names. The documents indicate that the covert network was run directly from the presidential palace here by Rodolfo Freude, a German-Argentine who was one of Perón's closest advisers. At the same time, Mr. Freude was both running Perón's propaganda apparatus and serving as director of the newly founded state intelligence service. During his research in Europe, Mr. Goñi also discovered a confidential Foreign Ministry circular from 1938 whose effect was to close Argentina to Jewish refugees seeking to flee Germany. It ordered Argentine embassies to turn down visa requests from all applicants who "have abandoned their country as undesirables or expulsees, regardless of the motive of their expulsion." In 1992, the president at the time, Carlos Saúl Menem, also a Peronist, ordered that all documents relating to the Argentine government's dealings with the Nazis be made public. But that decree, like the findings of a Foreign Ministry commission set up in 1997 to examine similar links, appears to have produced little of use to historians or victims of the war criminals who settled here. "It's an embarrassment," said Sergio Widder, who as the Latin American representative of the Simon Weisenthal Center sent the letters requesting that the documents mentioned in Mr. Goñi's book be made available. "They are simply newspaper clippings." Argentina also has a law that makes official documents more than 30 years old the property of its National Archives. As a result, destroying such records without the express authorization of the Archives, as the immigration department is said to have done in 1996, is technically a criminal act, one that the congressmen, all Socialists, want investigated and accounted for. "We believe that a lid was put on this during the Menem administration and that if archives about criminals of war still exist, they need to be made available to the public," said Rubén Giustiniani, sponsor of the resolution. "Nazism-Fascism was one of the worst plagues ever to affect mankind, and a recognition of what happened here is essential, not just for history but for the present and the future." Of the three government agencies that Mr. Widder has contacted with requests for documents mentioned in the book, only the state intelligence service has responded, albeit ambiguously. In a one-paragraph letter, Secretary of Intelligence Miguel Ángel Toma said simply that his agency "does not possess the information solicited," without mentioning whether an archive even exists. "We have reason to doubt this response, since it seems highly unlikely that the police would have a file on someone like Mengele, who was in the country under his real name, and the intelligence service would not," Mr. Widder said. "Either they are lying or they are inept." According to the documents Mr. Goñi uncovered, the Roman Catholic Church was also deeply involved in the secret network. The Perón government authorized the arrival of the first Nazi collaborators here, he said, as a result of a meeting in March 1946 between Antonio Caggiano, an Argentine cardinal, and Eugene Tisserant, a French cardinal attached to the Vatican. Because of that connection, Mr. Widder has also written to the Argentine Conference of Roman Catholic Bishops, asking that it make public all documents relating to the Argentine church's involvement in the smuggling network. The bishops' group, however, replied that it was unable to do so because "it did not yet exist" in 1946 and that "the persons to whom we have turned have no recollection whatsoever" of the two cardinals having met. "The documentation I have seen shows that the church was the guarantor to the Red Cross for these criminals to get permission to emigrate to Argentina, and many of the applications are signed by priests or by the Pontifical Commission of Assistance, the pope's own entity for refugees," Mr. Goñi said. "This couldn't and wouldn't have happened without the church."

NYT 15 MAr 2003 Argentina and the Nazis To the Editor: Re "Argentina, a Haven for Nazis, Balks at Opening Its Files" (news article, March 9): In 1997, the Commission of Inquiry into the Activities of Nazism in Argentina was created to identify Nazis who settled in the country, determine if Nazi loot had arrived in Argentina and evaluate the impact Nazism had on Argentine society. For the investigations, the archives were opened by the Ministries of Foreign Relations, Interior and Justice, the armed forces and by our embassies in Europe, the United States and the Holy See. We have made mistakes, but since 1983 Argentine society has been struggling to clarify its past. In 1992 President Carlos Saúl Menem opened the archives. Presidents Fernando de la Rúa and Eduardo Duhalde extended the deadline of the work of the commission, and in 2000 Mr. de la Rúa formally apologized to the Jewish community. EDUARDO AMADEO Ambassador of Argentina Washington, March 12, 2003


Canadian Press (CP), March 11, 2003 Tuesday, FOREIGN GENERAL NEWS, 381 words, With BC-International-Court-Cda, Bgt, BY THE CANADIAN PRESS A sketch of Philippe Kirsch, elected president of the International Criminal Court: Early years: Born in Namur, Belgium, in 1947. Moved with his family to Canada at age 14. Master of law degree from the University of Montreal. Joined Department of External Affairs in 1972. Foreign postings: Posted to Peru after one year with External Affairs. Posted twice to the United Nations in New York, initially as first secretary and legal adviser to the Canadian Mission, later as ambassador and permanent representative of Canada. Since 1999, Canadian ambassador to Sweden. Legal career: Legal adviser to Foreign Affairs and International Trade from 1994 to 1999. From 1995 to 1998, concurrently ambassador and agent for Canada in the fisheries jurisdiction case (Spain v. Canada) before the International Court of Justice. Concurrently ambassador to Sweden and agent for Canada in the legality of use of force case (Yugoslavia v. Canada) before the ICJ. Committees chaired: Sixth legal committee of the UN General Assembly as well as UN and other international committees on the protection of war victims; safety of UN personnel; suppression of terrorist bombings and financing of terrorism; and committee of international conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in 1995. International Criminal Court: Chaired five-week 1998 UN Rome conference that established the court. In 1999, elected chair of commission established to develop the instruments needed to operate the court. In 2003, elected president of the court. Awards: Robert S. Litvack Award from McGill University and InterAmicus in 1999 for contribution to the cause of peace and human rights; William J. Butler Human Rights Medal in 2001 from the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights in Cincinnati, Ohio. Quote: "Today, finally, it's the real thing and we can start on the real work. We have been preparing for so many years, but now it's possible to start. ... The judicial basis of this court, the Rome Statute, is very strong. It is destined to ensure the court will act exclusively as a judicial body and will be in all respects fair and effective, irrespective of any other consideration other than justice.'' _ Philippe Kirsch.

Toronto Star 12 Mar 2003 Pg. A04, Canadian envoy to head world war-crimes court, Anthony Deutsch, Associated Press It could be years before it hears a case, and it faces major opposition from the United States, but the world's first permanent war-crimes court was inaugurated yesterday with the swearing-in of 18 judges, including a well-respected Canadian diplomat who was elected the court's president.With Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan looking on, the judges promised to administer justice "impartially and conscientiously." The seven women and 11 men then took a seat at a long table in the 13th-century Knight's Hall for the inauguration of the International Criminal Court, created to bring to justice those who commit some of the worst abuses of human rights. Philippe Kirsch, Canada's ambassador to Sweden, was appointed by the other judges as the court's first president for a term of six years. Kirsch, who has had a distinguished 30-year career of legal and human-rights appointments with Canada's foreign affairs department, chaired the Rome talks that established the court. Kirsch also chaired the 1999-2002 preparatory commission, which drafted documents such as the court's rules of procedure and evidence. He has represented Canada at many international legal battles and conferences and been the country's second-ranking official at the United Nations. Two women, Akua Kuenyehia of Ghana and Elizabeth Odio Benito of Costa Rica, were installed as vice-presidents. Presidents, heads of government and foreign ministers were among the 550 guests at the ceremonies, although Washington did not send an official representative. Annan said that after 50 years of debate on what form the court should take, it could now begin work in the interests of peace as a deterrent for future war crimes. "There were many considerations that had to be carefully evaluated, in particular, the implications such a court might have for the delicate process of dismantling tyrannies and replacing them with democratic regimes, committed to uphold human rights," Annan said. "To the survivors, who are also the witnesses, and to the bereaved, we owe a justice that must bring not only retribution, but also healing," he said. "There can be no lasting peace without justice." The United States and Israel have voiced fears that the court would be misused by their political enemies despite built-in safeguards. The chairman of the organization of member states tried to reassure critics. The court will apply the law equally to all, and "is not the world's crucible for vengeance," said Prince Zeid Al-Hussein of Jordan, who administered the oath to the judges. The judges were elected from among 43 candidates by the court's 89 member states last month. It was the first public event for the International Criminal Court, which came into existence last July 1 after the 1998 Rome Treaty was ratified. U.S. President Bill Clinton signed the treaty establishing the International Criminal Court, but his successor, George W. Bush. has withdrawn U.S. support, fearing the tribunal would be used for politically motivated prosecutions of Americans. The Bush government has secured 22 bilateral treaties with countries granting U.S. citizens immunity from arrest warrants issued by the international court. Congress also has adopted legislation empowering the president to use "all means necessary" to free Americans taken into the court's custody - jokingly called the Invasion of The Hague Act. The court will have jurisdiction to punish war crimes, including genocide, in any country that has ratified the statute, if that country has refused to prosecute suspects itself. Non-party states can ask the court to intervene, as can the U.N. Security Council.

Edmonton Journal 12 Mar 2003 Pg. A5, Canadian diplomat to be first president of war crimes court: Phillipe Kirsch said to be a brilliant legal mind, politically deft, Norma Greenaway, OTTAWA OTTAWA - Judges to the world's first permanent war-crimes court have turned to Canadian diplomat Philippe Kirsch to be the body's first president, a daunting challenge that colleagues say will test his well-earned reputation as a brilliant legal mind oozing political smarts.The 55-year-old Kirsch was elected Thursday in The Hague by fellow judges on the 18-member International Criminal Court which will try persons accused of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. He will serve a three-year term as president and six years on the court. The vice-presidents are from Ghana and Costa Rica. The court, established after years of stormy debate, has the endorsement of Britain, Germany and 87 other countries but lacks the participation of the world's sole superpower. The United States contends its citizens could become targets for politically motivated prosecutions. The Bush administration has moved to insulate Americans from prosecution by, among other things, sealing bilateral deals with about two dozen countries granting U.S. citizens immunity from arrest warrants issued by the court. Kirsch is described by friends and colleagues as a politically astute, urbane diplomat who knows his way around a bargaining table where national and international interests tend to bump up against one another. Fluent in French, English and Spanish, Kirsch moved to Canada with his family in the early 1960s from his native Belgium. His legal and diplomatic postings, which have involved him in everything from international human rights to the law of the sea, have taken him to Lima, New York and most recently Stockholm. "He's a comfortable, easygoing guy," says international law activist Fergus Watt, an unabashed fan of Kirsch's handling of the final treaty negotiations in Rome in 1998 that led to creation of the court. "He's devoted to the law. He's more loyal to the law than political expedience. He's a lawyer's lawyer."

Globe and Mail (Toronto) , 12 Mar 2003 Comment: How dare Bush invoke Rwanda to justify his war Just about every day, George W. Bush or his acolytes lie about why his administration is about to attack Iraq. Often these distortions are preposterous. An obvious example is Mr. Bush's dismissal of the United Nations as irrelevant because other Security Council members refuse to buckle under to U.S. demands. In fact, it's the United States that's done most to undermine the UN in the recent past, not least by withholding hundreds of millions of dollars that it's owed in dues. But there are depths even Mr. Bush shouldn't be allowed to plumb without rebuttal. This week, his spokesman, Ari Fleischer, reached these limits. Pouring contempt on the UN's record of inaction, Mr. Fleischer said on Monday that, "from the moral point of view, as the world witnessed in Rwanda . . . the UN Security Council will have failed to act once again." In a literal sense, he is dead right; the Security Council did fail miserably in 1994. But his insinuation distorts what happened. With the ninth anniversary of the Rwanda genocide only weeks away, certain truths mustn't become casualties of U.S. spin doctors. To begin, Mr. Fleischer should review an interview between ABC's Sam Donaldson and Mr. Bush during the 2000 presidential campaign. When Mr. Donaldson asked him what he would do if "God forbid, another Rwanda should take place," Mr. Bush replied: "We should not send our troops to stop ethnic cleansing and genocide outside our strategic interests. . . . I would not send the United States troops into Rwanda." Second, as Mr. Fleischer must surely know, the Security Council failed to intervene in Rwanda because Washington opposed any such intervention. This was the stance pushed by UN ambassador Madeleine Albright on behalf of the Clinton administration, and the position of Republicans in Congress. A rare moment of U.S. political consensus allowed a clique of Rwandan extremists to orchestrate one of the classical cases of genocide in the 20th century, annihilating some 800,000 Tutsis and thousands of moderate Hutus. To highlight today's moral irony, America's efforts to prevent the Security Council from intervening in Rwanda was fervently seconded by none other than Britain, then led by John Major. No wonder the world cringes when Tony Blair makes "the moral case" for invading Iraq and when Mr. Fleischer uses the phrase "the moral point of view." Let me stress that none of this is either esoteric or in dispute. Bill Clinton himself later went to Rwanda and publicly apologized for his failure to act, although he blamed his ignorance for his inaction. He was lying. The truth has been thoroughly documented. A 1999 TV documentary by BBC/PBS featured senior U.S. officials acknowledging that the administration had known exactly what was happening in Rwanda throughout the months of the genocide and deliberately chose to allow it to happen. A report I wrote the following year expanded the evidence, and a knockout blow was delivered last year in Samantha Power's formidable study, A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide. It is true that many others abandoned Rwanda as well, most notably those passionate opponents of the impending war against Iraq: France and the Roman Catholic Church. Both, with unparalleled influence within Rwanda, could very possibly have stopped the genocide before it began. Neither even tried. But once the genocide was launched, the U.S. role at the Security Council was decisive. America alone possessed the influence and the resources to mobilize the kind of military force that General Romeo Dallaire, sitting in Rwanda commanding a puny UN military mission, repeatedly begged for. Coming as it did only months after the humiliating deaths of 18 U.S. Rangers in Somalia, with the Republicans denouncing the folly of foreign interventions, Mr. Clinton wasn't prepared to risk losing a single vote over a mere genocide. For domestic political reasons, his administration repeatedly made sure that the Security Council delivered no reinforcements to the UN mission, even going so far as to sabotage attempts to do so. As a result, during the entire 100 days of slaughter, not a single extra soldier or bullet arrived in Rwanda to help Gen. Dallaire stop the slaughter. The world, led by the Americans, abandoned Rwanda at its time of peril. In all decency, the least we can expect now is that Mr. Bush doesn't compound the betrayal by invoking the genocide to justify his own unjust war. Gerald Caplan is the author of Rwanda: The Preventable Genocide, the report of the international panel of eminent persons that investigated the 1994 slaughter in Rwanda. "


Mar. 12, 2003 Ex-Colombian General Sought Over Massacre VANESSA ARRINGTON -BOGOTA, Colombia - A civilian prosecutor ordered the arrest of a retired Colombian army general for allegedly failing to prevent a massacre by right-wing paramilitary gunmen, but the former commander vowed defiance. Gen. Jaime Uscategui told The Associated Press that he had no role in the 1997 massacre of at least 22 people in the village of Mapiripan and would surrender to military authorities instead. "I am a sacrificial lamb," Uscategui said in a telephone interview Tuesday. Authorities have said that as commander of the Colombian Army's VII Brigade at the time, Uscategui had jurisdiction over Mapiripan but ignored warnings of the coming bloodbath. The killings, which occurred over five days, were horrific and are cited as among the worst atrocities carried out by paramilitaries in Colombia's ongoing civil war. Witnesses told of civilians being tortured before being killed. Some were hacked to death, their bodies thrown into a river. A military court convicted Uscategui in February 2001 of dereliction of duty and sentenced him to three years imprisonment in the case, but the Supreme Court later threw it out and ordered that he be tried in a civilian court. The former army commander told the AP the case had been "twisted" and that the prosecutor who issued the arrest warrant Tuesday had ignored his contention that another army unit - the Second Mobile Brigade - was responsible for the area encompassing Mapiripan during the massacre. He acknowledged that he had received unsubstantiated warnings of a pending massacre, but that military intelligence officials attached to the Second Mobile Brigade had too, and had failed to act on them. Uscategui said he would appeal the issuance of the arrest warrant to more senior officials in the attorney general's office, and in the meantime would turn himself over to a military installation. He said no civilian authorities had yet appeared at his door to execute the arrest warrant. Human rights groups have long complained that Colombia has tried military officials in lenient military courts, despite Colombian and international law that calls for crimes against humanity to be tried in civilian courts. However, in recent years, the Supreme Court has demanded that military officials linked to massacres be tried in civilian courts. The Colombian government insists it is battling the paramilitaries, but some elements of the Colombian Army and police across Colombia still maintain secret links with the outlawed militia. The paramilitary United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia are accused by human rights groups of having committed the most atrocities in Colombia's war, now in its 38th year, although leftist rebels have also committed many serious crimes.


WP 15 Mar 2003 Guatemala Strife to Be Probed MEXICO CITY -- The Guatemalan government, conceding that armed groups have been killing and intimidating judges and human rights activists, has established an international commission to investigate political violence. The three-member commission, with representatives from the United Nations, the Organization of American States and the Guatemalan government, aims to identify the faceless groups that have suspected links to organized crime and corrupt elements of the military and police. "This is a big deal," said Joy Olson, a consultant to the Washington Office on Latin America. "It's one of the most significant things that has happened in a long time regarding justice in Guatemala." Nearly seven years after Guatemala signed peace accords to end a 36-year civil war that killed 200,000 people, paramilitary groups continue their attacks and intimidation. Supreme Court Chief Justice Carlos Larios has reported that 19 judges received death threats during December alone. Judicial groups told a U.N. representative investigating the violence that during 2001, 147 judges had been threatened and three killed. Amnesty International recently described Guatemala as being in a "human rights meltdown." In January, Washington "decertified" Guatemala as a partner in anti-drug efforts. Mary Jordan


AP 8 Mar 2003 Interpol Reissues Warrant for Fujimori LIMA, Peru - Interpol reissued an international arrest warrant charging former Peru President Alberto Fujimori with murder after receiving additional information from the government, officials said Saturday. Interpol suspended the original warrant Feb. 27 and gave Peruvian officials 14 days to provide evidence tying Fujimori to a paramilitary death squad and to demonstrate that the charges were not politically motivated. Peruvian Justice Minister Fausto Alvarado told RPP radio Saturday that officials sent evidence to Interpol headquarters in Paris and the warrant - on charges of murder, causing grievous bodily harm and forced disappearances - was reinstated. Prosecutors have accused Fujimori of authorizing the 1991 massacre of 15 revelers at a barbecue in a poor Lima neighborhood and the 1992 killings of nine university students and a professor. The former president has lived in Japan since fleeing a corruption scandal that toppled his decade-long regime in November 2000. He denies the charges. Peru repeatedly has demanded that Japan extradite Fujimori. But Tokyo, which once strongly supported the former president, says it cannot turn him over to Peru because he is a Japanese citizen. Fujimori was born in Peru but is the son of Japanese immigrants. Interpol also has issued a warrant on charges Fujimori misused public funds to give his former spy chief Vladimiro Montesinos $15 million in severance pay. Montesinos currently is being tried in Peru on corruption charges.

United States

BBC 1 Mar 2003 Campaign angers Holocaust survivors A campaign by an animal rights group, likening the slaughter of livestock to the suffering of Holocaust victims has outraged survivors and Jewish groups. The campaign called The Holocaust on Your Plate juxtaposes images of Jews in concentration camps with pictures from meat farms. Created by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, (Peta), the campaign began a national tour of the US on Friday. But it has been denounced as "trivialising" the mass murder of the Jewish under the Nazi regime in the Second World War. The display is a set of eight 60ft (20-metre) panels showing photographs, which are also displayed on the group's website. 'Offensive' The images show Holocaust victims, emaciated men, crowds of people being forced onto trains, children behind barbed wire, heaps of human bodies, which are set next to similar images of cattle, pigs and chickens. They all appear under the message: "To animals, all people are Nazis." The Anti-Defamation League condemned the project and Peta's appeal for support from the Jewish community. We're asking people to recognize that what Jews and others went through in the Holocaust is what animals go through every day in factory farm Matt Prescott Campaign creator It called the campaign "outrageous and offensive". Abraham H Foxman, a Holocaust survivor and the civil rights group's national director, said linking the deliberate, systematic murder of millions of Jews to the issue of animal rights was "abhorrent". Criticism 'expected' He said while animal cruelty should be opposed it must not be linked to the Holocaust. "The uniqueness of human life is the moral underpinning for those who resisted the hatred of Nazis and others ready to commit genocide even today," he said. But Peta member Matt Prescott, the creator of the campaign, said he himself is Jewish and his family lost several members in Nazi concentration camps. He said the campaign was funded by a Jewish philanthropist who wishes to remain anonymous. He said criticism of the campaign was not unexpected. "The fact is all animals feel pain, fear and loneliness," he said. "We're asking people to recognize that what Jews and others went through in the Holocaust is what animals go through every day in factory farms."

NYT 2 Mar 2003 The Very Image of Loss at Ground Zero By KIRK JOHNSON Most civic monuments, in their poses of grandeur and stony edification, have one big thing in common: a heavy-handed emphasis on History. The eye is usually drawn upward to the hero on his horse or the florid arch of military victory, and the suggestion is delivered with a trowel that time marches on to some far better place. Descending into the pit will not be like that. As the emotional center of the design by Studio Daniel Libeskind for the World Trade Center site, the pit — a four-and-a-half-acre memorial park 30 feet below street level in Lower Manhattan — is almost certain to become a shrine to loss and sacrifice for millions of visitors after it is completed over the next decade. And the fact that the visitors will walk down instead of up will be only the start of what promises to be a very different experience. An even more crucial distinction, historians, architects and psychologists say, is that the pit will challenge the idea that the past is really even past. The memorial park's western boundary, the so-called slurry wall that held back the Hudson River from flooding in after the 9/11 attack, will continue to restrain the river even as the throngs pass by. There will be, in other words, no firm demarcation of what was and what became. Where the wall was, it still is, and in such a place memory is a live event. History plays out in real time. "The typical commemorative monument is supposed to create closure," said Kirk Savage, a professor of art and history at the University of Pittsburgh. "That's the ruling assumption — that there's a kind of definitive past interpretation." The Lower Manhattan memorial cannot be definitive, Professor Savage said, because the world after 9/11 is still unfolding, and that process shows few signs of changing. "In some ways it has to look for some sense of meaning where that's really not possible," he said. Other experts say that the pit, however much it might reject history's arc, is in fact very much a product of history, especially the struggles of the 20th century to memorialize events of unsurpassed horror. After World War I, for example, many designers and architects, especially in Europe, rejected the notion that beauty or grandeur could ever memorialize war. As a result, some of the first civic portraits of suffering and death began to appear. World War II furthered the trend, with memorials like the battleship Arizona, which was left on the bottom of Pearl Harbor exactly where it sank. The memorials to the Holocaust, especially those designed by Mr. Libeskind at the Jewish museum extension to the Berlin Museum, are also very much designed around the idea of holes and voids and lives removed from the world. Some historians find roots of the pit in the minimalist art of the 1950's — the idea that each viewer projects a meaning onto the empty canvas — and later in the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. The designer, Maya Lin, is credited with pioneering the idea of a descent into memory, as visitors are led downward to the scarlike wall of names. Other scholars say the pit could evoke even older corners of human past in places like pre-Roman Britain, where ceremonies and rituals in the burial chambers of the dead were common for centuries. "There's something about descending into a landscape that you see every day that can be quite magical," said Martin Roe, an archaeologist at the University of Leicester in England, who studies ancient mines. "There were certainly feelings in the ancient world that going into underground spaces, whether tombs or mines, was like going into another realm." But visitors to the pit probably will not be given a map to find the place of magic. Instead, they will be allowed to choose their own paths — looking up to the ascending spire, perhaps for the sense of redemption and hope, or down into the void and mute slurry wall — with no authority dictating, as would have been the case in ages past, which direction is correct. Some people who have studied the plans and are familiar with Mr. Libeskind's work in Europe see a deliberate anti-authoritarian element to the pit's design — a rejection of dogma whatever its source. By forcing the viewer to choose a path, looking up or looking down, they say, the ability of others to dictate truth, whether from a minaret or from the White House, is undermined. Whether history even has a direction — positive, negative or indifferent — is unanswered. "It does destabilize the order somehow, and because there's less certainty in our minds we have to look within ourselves," said James E. Young, a professor of Judaic and Near Eastern studies at the University of Massachusetts, who has written extensively about Mr. Libeskind's work in Berlin. He said the trend in memorialization toward what he called "negative forms," epitomized by the vast emptiness of the pit, might also reflect an increased tendency to reject the idea that the future has any kind of happy end in store for human beings. "The Enlightenment premise that everything is getting better — that was really challenged by World War I and World War II and the Holocaust, when people said, `This is what Western civilization has amounted to,' " Professor Young said. "Now there's more resistance to the redemptive premise." Others see in the pit the ultimate fulfillment, in a way, of the 1960's counterculture thesis that only by personal experience can one ever really know the world. "The 60's took us away from the idea of: our culture says what's right and wrong and popular," said Dr. Joseph M. Carver, a clinical psychologist in Portsmouth, Ohio. "Whatever we look at now, whether it's music or art or this memorial, we all have our own interpretation of it. Memorials are like inkblot tests." Others say the significance of the pit will be the degree to which it enshrines the idea, which has been gathering force for years, that memorials are not for the dead, or for the teaching of civic values, but for the healing of victims and society. Many horrible events, like the 1942 fire that killed nearly 500 people at the Coconut Grove nightclub in Boston, were almost willfully forgotten, the locations rarely marked. But by the 1980's and 1990's, the idea of forgetting the site of an atrocity or mass death of any kind had become alien and, to many people, offensive. From the massacre at a McDonald's restaurant in San Ysidro, Calif., in 1984 to the shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999, building a proper memorial has become part of the inevitable process of picking up the pieces. "Memorialization has become a much more profound, immediate language of engagement with an event," said Edward T. Linenthal, a professor of religion and American culture at the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh, and a member of the memorial committee for United Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania on 9/11. "There's something about the speed of the culture in what's happening," he added. "There's a fear that things are going to be forgotten."

NYT 3 Mar 2003 Nuremberg, Nasser, Timor, Iraq o the Editor: Re "U.S. Lists Iraqis to Punish, or to Work With" (front page, Feb. 26): President Bush has a unique opportunity to uphold the rule of law. If the Security Council fails to issue an unambiguous mandate to use force, the president should respect the will of the world community. We need a new military objective: upholding the Nuremberg principle that never again will crimes against humanity go unpunished. Our goal should be to bring to trial only top Iraqi leaders. Those who become accessories by blocking arrests will suffer "serious consequences." No time limits apply to crimes against humanity, and existing courts can be modified to offer fair trials. Judges for the new International Criminal Court are being inaugurated on March 11. Isn't law better than war? BENJAMIN B. FERENCZ New Rochelle, N.Y., Feb. 26, 2003 The writer was a prosecutor in the Nuremberg war crimes trials.
To the Editor: It appears that the United States is already planning war crimes tribunals to try Iraqi officials ("U.S. Lists Iraqis to Punish, or to Work With," front page, Feb. 26). It is open to question, however, whether a country that steadfastly rejects the jurisdiction of the new International Criminal Court has the moral authority to conduct such trials — particularly if that country ultimately goes to war without obtaining international approval in the form of a resolution adopted by the Security Council authorizing the use of force. Nor should war crimes prosecutions be treated as a mere political tool. JOHN S. KOPPEL Bethesda, Md., Feb. 27, 2003 • To the Editor: Nicholas D. Kristof ("Hitler on the Nile," column, Feb. 25) applauds President Dwight D. Eisenhower's prohibiting Britain, France and Israel from bringing about regime change in Cairo during the Suez Canal crisis of 1956. He cites it as an argument for containing Iraq today, rather than destroying Saddam Hussein's regime, writing that "Nasser faded away, as Saddam is already fading." But looking back at 1956, we might have all been better off if Nasser had been removed. The United States and Western Europe perhaps could have started a process of democratization and modernization that has still not found its way to the Arab world. Additionally, Nasser, before "fading away," in 1967 led the Arab world to war with Israel — an unparalleled disaster for Egypt and the Arabs. Nasser's legacy may in fact argue for strong action in Iraq rather than against it. STEVEN J. FRIEDMAN Short Hills, N.J., Feb. 25, 2003 •
To the Editor: "Even a Superpower Needs Help," by Chas W. Freeman Jr. (Op-Ed, Feb. 26), is a powerful condemnation of the Bush master plan. The unilateral, self-righteous stance of this drive for a pre-emptive war of unintended consequences will have a far more profound effect on us than the survival or fall of Saddam Hussein. BARBARA SLOANE ROBBINS Naples, Fla., Feb. 26, 2003 •
To the Editor: Re "War for Peace? It Worked in My Country" (Op-Ed, Feb. 25): José Ramos-Horta, East Timor's minister of foreign affairs and cooperation, claims that what worked for East Timor will work for Iraq. But he pays little attention to the context in which the Timorese prevailed. East Timor's experience demonstrates that if the people in a country are actively opposing an oppressive regime, war can bring about peace. We see no such widespread, grass-roots resistance in Iraq. The historical comparison is faulty, calling into question the predicted peace. FREDERICK WHERRY Swarthmore, Pa., Feb. 25, 2003

AP 7 Mar 2003 Massacre letter matches Mormon's era Associated Press Mar. 7, 2003 12:00 AM The ore in a lead-plate letter that blames early Mormon Church leader Brigham Young for a massacre in southern Utah nearly 150 years ago was probably mined during the life span of its purported author, ASU researchers said Thursday. Researchers said the ore for the artifact, which was supposedly inscribed by John D. Lee, a Mormon militia officer and Young's adopted son, was probably mined in Missouri before 1865. Lee was the only man held accountable for the Mountain Meadows Massacre of 1857. But even though the findings indicate that it was crafted by a person who had lead sheets made in the middle of the 19th century, it is still unknown when the artifact was inscribed, said Thomas Brunty, a graduate researcher at Arizona State University. "This does not mean that the inscription upon the artifact is genuine," Brunty said. "Nor does it mean that the lead sheet was originally associated with J.D. Lee in any meaningful way." A National Park Service volunteer found the rolled lead sheet in January 2002 while cleaning the floor of Lee's Fort on the Colorado River near the Arizona-Utah state line. In the letter, the writer purporting to be Lee writes that he and other Mormon authorities carried out the massacre of 120 Arkansas emigrants "on orders" from Brigham Young. Lee considered himself a scapegoat for the massacre. He was tried and executed 20 years later when Mormon leaders were intensely pressured to find the perpetrator. Church officials now claim that an independent Mormon militia carried it out, and that there is no proof of Young's involvement.

Rocky Mountain News 8 Mar 2003 Noel: Bent's fortress of free thinking By Tom Noel, Special to the News March 8, 2003 Once upon a time, a special place in faraway Colorado welcomed all the peoples of the Rocky Mountain West - Indians and soldiers, Mexicans, Germans, French, Irish and blacks. At Bent's Fort, all were wined and dined by the Bents and their black cook, Charlotte, the "only civilized lady in the whole damned" Rocky Mountain West. Two brothers from St. Louis, William and Charles Bent, built this private trading post in 1833 on the north bank of the Arkansas River, then the boundary between the United States and Mexico. Made of adobe, the fort measured 137 by 178 feet and stood 9 feet tall with walls 3 feet thick. It was first called Fort William for the 24-year old Bent who supervised its construction and would be its resident manager along with his Cheyenne wife, Owl Woman. His brother Charles spent his time in St. Louis and on the Santa Fe Trail promoting trade until his appointment as the first governor of New Mexico. The fort traded not only with the nearby Cheyenne and the Arapahoe but also with the Arikara, the Comanche, the Kiowa, the Shoshone and the Sioux. Bent's Fort promoted free trade, free talk and even intermarriage among peoples who would later war violently on each other. As Colorado's first great trading and hospitality haven, Bent's Fort hosted famed characters such as Jim Beckwourth, Black Kettle, Kit Carson, John C. Frémont, William Gilpin, Susan Magoffin, Francis Parkman and Little Raven. Bent's Fort's rosy era began to fade in 1847, when Gov. Charles Bent was viciously murdered in Taos by locals unhappy with the U.S. seizure of the American Southwest. William grew frustrated with the U.S. government's failure to compensate him for housing and supplying Mexican and Indian war troops. One warm August day in 1849, William cleared the fort of his family, friends and possessions. Then he set the wooden roofs afire and lighted a fuse to the power room, blasting the Camelot of the high plains into oblivion. William built a new Bent's Fort, but it never approached the fame or status of the original. In 1859, William sold it to the U.S. Army, which renamed it Fort Lyon. Like so many of his Indian family and friends, William Bent suffered from the white man's disease of smallpox, which permanently scarred his face. The worst scar, however, came with the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864. Peaceful Indians, including William's sons Charles and George and daughter Julia, complied with U.S. Army orders to camp at Sand Creek, where the three Bents were among the few survivors. Recognizing William Bent's special friendship with the tribes, the U.S. government appointed him Indian agent for the upper Arkansas region in 1859. He struggled to bring peace before and even after the Sand Creek Massacre. In repeated letters, Bent insisted that the U.S. honor its treaty promises to send food and other goods to the starving Indians. In an Aug. 28, 1866, letter to Gen. John Pope, Bent said the greatest worry of the Cheyenne was for two children taken prisoner at Sand Creek and dragged to Denver, where they were sold to a traveling circus and were "being exhibited in a show." As thousands of gold-seekers swarmed into Colorado, protecting Indians became impossible. William resigned as Indian agent and returned to the Santa Fe trade that had first brought him west in 1824 at age 15. Returning from Taos with Mexican goods in 1869, he crossed Raton Pass and headed down the Purgatoire River to its confluence with the Arkansas. Although the weather was raw and William sick with a high fever, he pushed on until he saw the walls of the old fort again. Repaired and whitewashed, it had been turned into a stage station. The towers seemed to dance in front of William's eyes, and the battlements filled with old friends, his brother, his wife, all waving for him to join them. William grew sicker and more feverish. His companions took the 60-year-old pioneer to Fort Lyon, where he died May 19, 1869, not far from his old fort that for a brief and shining time had been Colorado's Camelot. Tom "Dr. Colorado" Noel welcomes your comments at www.colorado- websites/com/dr-colorado and recommends visiting the National Park Service's reconstruction of Bent's Fort, near LaJunta, or another reconstruction, the Fort Restaurant, in Morrison.

NYT March 8, 2003 Ethical War? Do the Good Guys Finish First? By EMILY EAKIN President Bill Clinton sent American troops into Haiti in 1994, declaring that his goals were "to stop the brutal atrocities" of a dictatorial regime and to bring democracy to the Haitian people. Capt. Lawrence P. Rockwood, an intelligence officer in the United States Army, took the president at his word. After arriving in Haiti with his unit, he received reports of human rights abuses at the local jails. Political prisoners were being starved, tortured and — as Raoul Cedras's regime entered its desperate final days — murdered. Captain Rockwood appealed to his superiors for permission to inspect the jails. His superiors turned him down. His job, they said, was to protect American troops, not local civilians. After nearly a week spent futilely trying to press his case, the captain filed a formal complaint with an army inspector general. He accused eight superiors of failing to pursue the president's directives and of indifference to human rights violations. Then he grabbed his flak jacket and rifle and set off to inspect the National Penitentiary in Port-au-Prince alone. By the next day, the captain was on a plane headed back to the United States, where he was tried by court-martial, convicted of several charges (one, conduct unbecoming an officer, was later dismissed) and discharged from military service. Pondering such morally complex incidents from the annals of modern combat and debating the lessons they provide for the current crop of military leaders and foot soldiers is the aim of a new scholarly publication, the Journal of Military Ethics. "I think something like this could happen" in Iraq, said Stephen D. Wrage, a professor of political science at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, who presents Captain Rockwood's story as a case study in the journal's inaugural issue. "What we were concerned about in Haiti, we're concerned about now." As Mr. Wrage tells it, the captain's tale is an open-ended thought problem about the moral dilemmas of war: do soldiers owe their commanders unquestioned obedience at all times? Do they have a moral duty to uphold human rights? And what happens when military orders and the demands of conscience come into conflict? At his trial, Captain Rockwood quoted his father, a soldier who had helped liberate the Nazi concentration camps and who told him such places were the "result of cynicism and blind obedience to authority." The captain also said he admired Count von Stauffenberg, the German Army officer who was executed for trying to assassinate Hitler, and Hugh C. Thompson, the American helicopter pilot who, seeing the My Lai massacre in progress, ordered his door gunner to aim his weapon at United States troops. Those facts don't excuse the captain's conduct, Mr. Wrage suggests, but they help make his case rich fodder for ethics classes at American military academies, where it is routinely taught. Determined skeptics — like Groucho Marx, who joked that "military justice is to justice what military music is to music" — can roll their eyes. But serious talk about the proper moral conduct of combat has been around almost as long as war itself. The immediate impetus for the journal, which made its debut last spring, was the 1999 NATO intervention in Kosovo. Observing the ethics controversy that the NATO bombing provoked, Bard Maeland, a chaplain in the Norwegian army, decided that a scholarly forum for such debate was urgently needed. "I found there was nothing like a journal of military ethics in English," said Dr. Maeland, who became the journal's co-editor after persuading an Oslo publisher to take on the project and the Norwegian Ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs to provide financial support. The first two issues — a third has just been published — are awash in references to ancient Greeks: Plato, Alcibiades, Thucydides, Laches, Nicias. And when it comes to the ground rules for military uses of deception, Hugo Grotius's 1625 treatise, "On the Law of War and Peace," remains a standard reference. (His view is essentially that spelled out by the Geneva Convention more than 300 years later: " `Ruses of war,' such as involve the use of camouflage, decoys, mock operations and misinformation are not prohibited because, while they may cause an adversary to act recklessly, they do not constitute acts that an adversary should not expect to occur as part and parcel of war.") Occasionally, Greek terminology gives the journal an archaic air. "Did NATO's air strikes against Yugoslavia, undertaken without a mandate from the Security Council, constitute a valid instance of epieikeia?" asks Gregory Reichberg, a senior researcher at the International Peace Research Institute in Oslo, in one essay. (Epieikeia, Greek for equity, was used by Thomas Aquinas to designate a ruler's right to exercise moral authority in the absence of legal imperatives.) "We are consciously committed to showing the moral tradition relating to war is very old and embedded in Western culture," explained James Turner Johnson, a professor of religion and political science at Rutgers University and the journal's co-editor. Among armies operating today, he said, the United States has led the way in making ethical concerns a priority, and not just in cadet classrooms. "It's pretty clear if you look around at the various militaries," Mr. Johnson said. "People think war is mainly about the technology, but the point is that it's not the technology that determines whether a particular war is discriminate or indiscriminate. It's the strategy and tactics behind that, and the training aimed at discriminating between combatants and noncombatants. The U.S. military has always said we do not directly target noncombatants." Consider, for example, the protocol surrounding target selection, a topic covered at length in the journal's second issue. American military policy requires legal advisers to approve combat targets in advance. As a consequence, soldiers can find themselves within range of enemy forces but without permission to strike. This situation occurred repeatedly during the war in Afghanistan, where, according to American Air Force officials, clearance delays and denials allowed important Taliban and Qaeda members to escape unscathed. The problem, the officials complained at the time, was that the military's Central Command was overly concerned about killing civilians. "The whole issue of collateral damage pervaded every level of the operation," The Washington Post quoted one officer saying in November 2001. "It is shocking, the degree to which collateral damage hamstrung the campaign." But in the journal, scholars defended the policy, arguing that its ethical advantages outweighed its tactical costs. As Michael N. Schmitt, director of the Executive Program in International and Security Affairs at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, put it: "Legal advisers are crucial clogs in any mature targeting system."

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), March 6, 2003 Thursday, Final / All, ARTS & LIFE; Pg. F2, 628 words, Prosecutor at Nuremberg trials sees wish for world court fulfilled, Sarah Crump, Plain Dealer Columnist A young Wall Street lawyer not long out of Yale, Henry King Jr. decided he would not be left out of the world's most momentous trial. He became, in 1946, the youngest prosecutor at the Nuremberg war-crimes trials. "It changed my life," said King. At 83, he is the oldest active professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law and is a practicing Squire Sanders lawyer. In the half-century since the landmark trial resulted in the hanging of 10 Nazi leaders and the imprisonment of many more, King has pushed for the establishment of an independent world court to try war criminals. On Tuesday, he will have his wish. King will be an honored guest at the formal opening of the new International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands. The court will be a separate body from the International Court of Justice, usually referred to as the World Court, which has tried war criminals in the past under the United Nations. As a Nuremberg prosecutor, King interrogated Hermann Goering and other top Nazis who engineered the deaths of 11 million people, including 6 million Jews. Years later, King wrote a book about Albert Speer, chief architect of Hitler's war machine. After first interviewing him during the trial, King kept in contact with Speer throughout his imprisonment until his death in 1981.

Salt Lake Tribune 12 Mar 2003 Bear River Massacre Site Going to Tribe BY KRISTEN MOULTON © 2003, THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE Land where hundreds of Shoshones were massacred 140 years ago along the Bear River in southern Idaho will soon be back with its tribe. The Trust for Public Lands, a national nonprofit organization, has signed two contracts to buy 26 acres in the heart of the national historic landmark. It will close on the purchase March 21, said Alina Bokde, a project manager with the trust's Southwest region office. Three days after that, there will be a ceremony at the Bear River Massacre site two miles northwest of Preston, Idaho, and the trust will convey ownership of the land to the Northwest Band of the Shoshone Nation. "It's nice to own your graveyard," said Bruce Parry, the executive director of the tribe whose great-great-grandfather, Chief Sagwitch, was one of the few survivors of the Jan. 29, 1863 attack. The tribe is based in Brigham City. The Bear River Massacre, considered the bloodiest in the West, began as a fight when Shoshone braves tried to defend their village against an attack by U.S. soldiers who had been summoned by Mormon settlers. Within an hour, though, the battle turned into a wholesale slaughter of men, women and children. Their food supplies and te pees were torched and hundreds were left wounded in the snow to die. Estimates of the number killed range from 250 to 380. Until 20 years ago, history recorded the bloodbath as a battle and portrayed even the women and children as combatants. The truth, long known by the Shoshones, has gained wider acceptance in recent years. The tribe has been working this winter with the Trust for Public Lands and the America West Heritage Center of Wellsville to raise money to buy the pasture land and adjacent hillside, 19 acres of which went on the market last fall, Bokde said. The trust will pay $54,000 for the two parcels, which are to the south, across U.S. 91 from the historic markers commemorating the massacre. Parry said the tribe will eventually tear down an abandoned home on the hillside west of where most of the killing occurred. The hillside is part of the land acquisition. "We'll probably even have a little interpretive center there where people can learn about the massacre and Shoshones in general. We don't want to desecrate the area." Parry said tribal ownership will not preclude a future listing as a National Historic Site, a designation long sought by Preston residents who want the story told. The sellers include the Shiner family trust of Bountiful, which has owned the 19 acres for more than two decades, and a woman from Missouri who inherited seven acres from her mother, said real estate agent Scott Beckstead of Preston. Bokde said the project has been a good fit for the Trust for Public Lands, a 32-year-old organization that has helped protect 1.4 million acres in 45 states. The trust works to protect land for human enjoyment and well-being. It has preserved scenic spots as well as historically important areas, and has a tribal-lands program to help American Indian tribes acquire land that is historically important to them. The money for the purchase was raised from four Utah donors, including Brigham Madsen, the retired historian whose books first educated a wider audience about the massacre. Madsen said he is donating $500 to the purchase. Allie Hansen, a Preston resident who persuaded the National Parks Service to designate 1,200 acres as a historic landmark in 1990, is pleased the tribe will own the land. She had been worried the pasture would be sold for a homesite. "This way, I know nothing else is going to happen there," said Hansen, who over the years has shown thousands, including many foreign visitors, the site. T he Shoshones "finally have a place back that is of such extreme importance to them that their hearts must just be overjoyed," said Hansen. "Mine is, too."

Association of the Bar of the City of New York (ABCNY) 11 Mar 2003 (Letter from the President of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York (ABCNY) to President Bush on the occasion of the swearing in of the ICC judges) The Honorable George W. Bush The White House Washington, D.C. 20500 March 11, 2003 Dear President Bush: Today marks a momentous occasion: the inaugural session in The Hague of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the swearing-in of the ICC's first eighteen judges. The Association of the Bar of the City of New York (the "Association"), with more than 22,000 members in New York City, the United States and abroad, has been a longstanding supporter of the ICC. In 2001, the Association and the American Bar Association joined in a report supporting ratification of the Rome Statute by the United States government. The swearing-in ceremony will be convened by the Dutch Prime Minister, and scores of world leaders, including the UN Secretary-General, presidents, prime ministers, foreign ministers, and justice ministers are attending. The eighteen ICC judges being sworn in today are from longstanding friends of the United States, such as Great Britain, Ireland, Canada, Finland, Costa Rica, South Korea, France and Germany. Eighty-nine countries have thus far ratified the Rome Statute of the ICC. We regret that no representative of the United States government will attend today's historic ceremony in The Hague. The ICC represents a vital step forward in international justice and will be an important tool in the maintenance of international peace and security. Its narrow jurisdiction covers only the most serious crimes of concern to the international community, genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, and the ICC can exercise jurisdiction only when national courts are unable or unwilling to prosecute. Moreover, stringent safeguards to prevent frivolous prosecutions will circumscribe the ICC's exercise of jurisdiction, and the Rome Statute includes extensive rights and protections for defendants and persons accused of crimes that are comparable to the Bill of Rights. Indeed, these provisions were among the substantial contributions of the US government's diplomats and lawyers who participated in the drafting of the Rome Statute. The United States government, despite our history as a leader in promoting international justice, remains the only Western democracy opposed to the ICC. The Association is concerned that the active diplomatic campaign now being waged by the United States to undermine and discredit the ICC will damage our relations with allies and unnecessarily impede the work of the ICC. This campaign - which has been undertaken even though the ICC has yet to bring its first case and its prosecutor has not even been named - includes the unsigning of the Rome Statute, blocking the Security Council's authorization of a peacekeeping mission without an anti-ICC resolution, threatening punitive measures against countries that support the ICC, and pressuring allies to exempt US citizens from the ICC's jurisdiction. The US government's unyielding hostility toward the ICC is inconsistent with our country's historic commitment to international justice. The United States even refuses to send observers to the ICC's Assembly of State Parties, which is responsible for the legal and political oversight of the ICC. This inflexible antagonism toward the ICC may well be harmful to larger foreign policy interests. In particular, the U.S. government's anti-ICC campaign has hindered the process of creating coalitions to fight terrorism and to disarm Saddam Hussein. The Association congratulates the eighteen judges being sworn in today. Today will be remembered as a landmark date in the effort to end impunity for war criminals and persons that commit genocide and crimes against humanity. On this historic occasion, we urge the United States government to reconsider its opposition to the ICC. Thank you for the opportunity to express our views on this important matter. Respectfully submitted, E. Leo Milonas President Association of the Bar of the City of New York cc. The Honorable Colin Powell The Honorable Donald Rumsfeld The Honorable Condoleeza Rice

NYT 16 Mar 2003 EDITORIAL OBSERVER Coming to Grips With the Unthinkable in Tulsa By BRENT STAPLES Americans tend to think of lawless nations in Africa and Eastern Europe when the discussion turns to mass murder and crimes against humanity. But a commission created by the Oklahoma Legislature spent the late 1990's searching for mass graves in and around Tulsa. The missing dead — who could number as many as 300 — were shot, burned, lynched or tied to cars and dragged to death during the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921. This was a nightmarish disturbance in which an army of white Tulsans reduced to ashes 35 square blocks of what was then the most affluent black community in the United States. The Tulsa Race Riot Commission closed up shop without finding the bodies that witnesses recall seeing stacked like cordwood along railroad sidings and on street corners. But the commission report shows without question that the city encouraged the loss of life and property by deputizing what amounted to a lynch mob. The state may also have been at fault in failing to protect the community. Witnesses recall seeing white police officers looting and burning, and in some cases killing unarmed black citizens without provocation. The survivors and their families presumed that the ghastly detail in the riot report would move the city and state to make restitution, especially in cases where lost property and life could be documented. The Legislature has instead decided to bury the report and deal with the matter partly by giving the survivors commemorative medals. These aging men and women, many in their 90's, have not been content to go quietly to the grave. Instead, they have filed suit seeking damages, represented by a legal team including Charles Ogletree, the Harvard law professor, and the trial lawyers Johnnie Cochran Jr. and Willie Gary. The arrival of the high-profile legal team sent a shock through sleepy Tulsa. But the most electric moment came when 88-year-old John Hope Franklin, one of the most important historians of the 20th century, was found to have joined the suit as a plaintiff. Mr. Franklin served as an adviser to the riot commission. His support for the suit represents a powerful condemnation of the State Legislature. His name resonates in the black Tulsa community of Greenwood, where a boulevard is named in his honor. Greenwood, such as it is, might not even exist if not for his father, the estimable lawyer B. C. Franklin (1879-1960), who was practicing in the community at the time of the riot. B. C. Franklin somehow managed to avoid being killed and was briefly held captive after the conflagration. After his release, he turned immediately to the task of fighting the city in court. The accounts of this period in his autobiography, "My Life and an Era," published posthumously, will be quoted often if this newly filed lawsuit comes to trial. In 1921, The Tulsa Tribune primed its city for the riot with months of race baiting during which it referred to Greenwood as "niggertown." The immediate spark for the riot was a now-lost Tribune article that encouraged readers to lynch a jailed black man who had been accused — falsely as it turned out — of trying to rape a white woman. The mob that showed up to lynch the prisoner exchanged shots with a group of black men who tried to stop it. City officials then made the fatal mistake of deputizing the white mob, to which arms were handed out indiscriminately. As many as 10,000 whites, including the police and the National Guard, poured across the tracks into Greenwood, burning, looting and shooting. One white witness reported seeing officers in uniform robbing unarmed black citizens at gunpoint and shooting those who resisted. While the police were thus engaged, an execution squad composed of Klansmen roamed the riot zone, killing black men on sight. Eyewitnesses tell of seeing corpses piled in the backs of wagons and pickup trucks or stacked along the street. Those bodies, which were never found, were thought to have been spirited into secret mass graves. Greenwood had been a black city within a city that included as many as 15,000 people and supported 191 businesses, including 15 doctors, 2 dentists, a chiropractor and 3 law offices. After the riot, as B. C. Franklin writes: "As far as I could see, not a Negro dwelling-house or place of business stood." Thousands of blacks were confined to makeshift prison camps. Those who worked for white Tulsans were allowed to go out to their jobs. But blacks were required under pain of arrest to wear or carry ID tags furnished by the city. The principal black political leaders fled Greenwood after being indicted by a Klan-dominated legal system. B. C. Franklin remained, partly because his wife and children were safe in his hometown, Rentiesville, 65 miles away. His rooming house and law offices destroyed, he and his partners set up shop in a tent and commenced the legal battle that prevented the city from annexing Greenwood and forcing black people completely out of the city. Echoing his father, John Hope Franklin told me in a recent telephone interview that he had joined the suit to "turn up the heat on Tulsa and Oklahoma." The courts will have to decide whether or not the riot survivors have a plausible case. But in the moral sense at least, Tulsa and Oklahoma have already lost. They did so by failing to accept responsibility for one of the most blood-curdling events in American history.

IPS 31 Mar 2003 Groups Decry Hypocrisy in State Department Reports Jim Lobe WASHINGTON, Mar 31 (IPS) - U.S. rights groups praised the content of the State Department's annual human rights country reports released Monday but questioned whether they will have any effect on Washington's policy toward abusive countries - or even its own security forces active in the ''war on terrorism''. ''As the scale and intensity of the war on terror increases, the distance between the words in this report and the actions of the U.S. government is greater than it has been in more than a decade,'' said William Schulz, the executive director of the U.S. section of Amnesty International (AIUSA). ”Despite the generally honest and factual character of the report, it is reduced in value by being set adrift from this administration's development of foreign policy,'' he said, adding that the policies toward countries deemed abusive by the reports remain ''often selective, inconsistent and damaging to human rights''. That point was echoed by the Washington office director of Human Rights Watch (HRW), Tom Malinowski, who praised what he called ''very strong, hard-hitting chapters'' on China and even U.S. allies in Central Asia and the Middle East. ''It pulls no punches on Egypt, for example, and indeed the human rights situation in Egypt has gotten considerably worse since the start of the Iraq war,'' he said. ''The question is, is this all we're going to hear from the administration on human rights in Egypt this year, or is the administration willing to confront Egypt on human rights issues more directly''? Malinowski also noted that the reports repeatedly identified the use of so-called ''stress and duress'' interrogation techniques - including sleep deprivation and forcing detainees to sit or stand in painful or contorted positions for long periods of time - in various countries as ''torture'', consistent with the findings of the United Nations Committee Against Torture. ''These are all techniques that some U.S. officials have said are being used by U.S. interrogators against al-Qaeda prisoners in Afghanistan and elsewhere,'' he noted. ''The administration needs to address that inconsistency.'' The latest edition of the human rights reports, which were first mandated by Congress in 1976, covers the human rights situation - mainly political and civil rights and the right to be free from torture - in almost 200 countries in 2002 and stretches well over 1,200 pages in length. The country reports constitute the world's single most comprehensive analysis of human rights conditions and depend in major part on information collected by international and local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as well as on local newspapers and reporting by U.S. diplomats. Many foreign governments resent the country reports, saying they illustrate U.S. arrogance toward the rest of the world. Some also argue that by failing to assess economic and social rights performance the analyses show an ideological blind spot. While the country reports avoid comparing the human rights practices of different states, the introduction to the overall document, written by the assistant secretary of state for human rights, democracy and labour, often singles out specific nations for praise or blame. In this year's introduction, Assistant Secretary Lorne Craner depicted a mixed record for 2002, citing as highlights Kenya's election of an opposition party, important institutional and political reforms in Taiwan, Turkey, and Bahrain, cease-fires or peace accords in long-running civil wars in Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone, and Angola, and the establishment of a government in Afghanistan that included women and ethnic minorities. On the negative side of the ledger, the introduction accused Zimbabwe's government of waging a ''systematic campaign of violence and intimidation against stated and perceived supporters of the opposition''; a general worsening in the human rights performance of the five former Soviet Central Asian republics; the intensification of civil war in Nepal; continued abuses by both sides in Chechnya; ongoing civil unrest in Cote d'Ivoire and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC); a worsening human rights situation in Eritrea; and sectarian violence in India's Gujarat State. As in the past, the report also singled out Iraq and North Korea as among those countries with the worst abuses, including killings and torture of suspected dissidents. It also again singled out China for criticism, noting a spate of arrests of political dissidents and the imposition of the death sentence on two Tibetans, among other developments that it called ''particularly troubling''. But at the same time it praised Beijing for direct elections of local officials in several provinces, advances in legal reform, and for opening itself to greater scrutiny by U.N. human rights rapporteurs. Craner told reporters that Washington has not decided whether to sponsor, as it has in the past, a resolution criticising Beijing at the current meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Commission in Geneva. ''We've seen a lot of slippage (in the rights situation) in the last couple of months'' that makes it unclear in which direction China is headed, he added. Several omissions in the introduction were particularly striking. For the first time in several years, it failed to mention the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, an omission made all the more glaring by the fact that the death toll increased markedly last year. But the actual report blames both sides for the violence. It also did not explicitly mention the war on terrorism, a major theme of last year's introduction, which stressed that the administration would try to prevent its anti-terrorist campaign from being used by other governments to justify abuses. ''It's a rather conspicuous omission,'' according to Malinowski. Elisa Massimino, Washington office director for the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, also noted the omission, in contrast to previous years, of any discussion about torture, due process and the right to a fair public trial. ''The idea of leaving out issues that are so central to the war on terrorism raises questions about the administration's willingness to address issues that cut too close to home.'' Malinowski said the report's criticisms of U.S. Central Asian allies Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan were ''very strong'', particularly because current U.S. law ties the delivery of bilateral aid to both countries to making progress on human rights.



WP 2 Mar 2003 By Jonathan Yardley Sunday, March 2, 2003; Page BW02 THE GATE By François Bizot Translated from the French By Euan Cameron Knopf. 278 pp. $24 The Cambodia to which François Bizot traveled in 1965 was, he recalls, "rich and beautiful, enameled with paddy fields, dotted with temples . . . a country of peace and simplicity. Reflections upon the nature of existence were common currency to all its inhabitants." Cambodia was, in a word, ethereal: "Festivities, divine service, ordinary rituals -- nothing was conceived without art, and poetry, and mystery; for always, the spirits of the dead breathed over the turning of the seasons." Himself an ethnologist, Bizot had, like many others from France, "been drawn to the mysteries of the Far East, and fascinated by the gestures and secular rituals of a people that clung to its traditions." He settled in a village in the Angkor district and began to research Buddhist monuments and traditions. When he left Cambodia several years later, everything had changed. Paradise had become a charnel house. Caught in the grip of the unlikely and short-lived alliance between North Vietnam and the Khmer Rouge, the country began a rapid descent into hell. Beginning in 1970 and escalating throughout the decade, the violence inflicted by the Khmer Rouge upon their own people was unspeakable. Bizot was left with "a bitterness that knows no limit," a "sense of hopelessness" that soaks almost every page of this powerful, disturbing book. Though its principal subject is Bizot's own experience, it serves in effect as a report to the world on a subject -- Cambodia's self-inflicted genocide of the 1970s -- that to date the world has rather effectively managed to ignore. This is because the Khmer Rouge effectively closed Cambodia to the world from 1975 until its overthrow in 1979, because by the mid-1970s the West had tired of Southeast Asian conflicts and was preoccupied with licking its own, mostly self-inflicted wounds, and because leftist intellectuals in Europe and the United States persisted in broadcasting fantasies about virtuous Asian communists that bore no resemblance to the terrible reality of their activities. Reports trickled out from time to time suggesting that horrors were taking place, but not until the 1980s did the picture begin to come into focus; even now it is unlikely that many Westerners have much knowledge of or interest in this awful instance of human inhumanity. Bizot was in Cambodia when the violence started but left long before the worst of it. He returned as soon as it was safe to do so, and in his closing pages gives a moving portrait of what he found there, but The Gate is best read as a prelude to, or first chapter in, the story that followed. Bizot was arrested by the Khmer Rouge in October 1971 under suspicion of being an undercover agent of the CIA, held in a primitive prison for three months -- during much of which he was certain that he would be executed at any moment -- then released as arbitrarily as he had been captured. He went to Phnom Penh, where, since he is fluent in Khmer, he became "the official interpreter at the [French] embassy and, eventually . . . the only person authorized to leave it." After several suspenseful weeks, he and about a thousand other foreign nationals escaped to Thailand in May 1972. Thus the story divides into two sections: imprisonment and its aftermath. The first is by its very nature interesting, but in this instance it is all the more so because of the complex relationship between Bizot and his captor, Douch, a young man -- perhaps not yet 30 -- whose "authority was total; there were no limits to his power over the detainees" at the prison camp, almost all of whom were tortured to one degree or another and many of whom either died or were murdered. Bizot at once feared and trusted him: "This terrible man was not duplicitous; all he had were principles and convictions. And if that hypothesis was true, I had an ally." He was at once "brutal executioner" and "man of faith," whose "masters employed him as a cog in a vast timepiece beyond his comprehension." Eventually, something approximating affection arose between the two men. Douch, "one of those pure, fervent idealists who yearned above all for truth," became convinced that Bizot was innocent of any complicity with the CIA and, as Bizot learned many years later, literally saved his life. Yet that knowledge came to Bizot almost hand-in-hand with the dreadful realization that his "onetime persecutor" was on trial in 2000 for "crimes against humanity" committed at a converted schoolhouse in Phnom Penh long after Bizot's departure from that city: "I could not bring myself to identify the man I had known, who so loved justice, with the head of the torturers of this vile jail, the one responsible for so much infamy. What monstrous metamorphosis had he undergone? Plunged into the throes of fear, I felt a stench of swamp and animal's den turning my stomach, the smell of the beast who had haunted them here." Like his Khmer Rouge colleagues, Douch revealed a dark side, "new and unexpected masks," that Bizot theretofore had neither recognized nor suspected. Warriors by tradition, they "cultivated a veritable paranoia" once they came under the influence of communism, a paranoia that made everyone an enemy and thus a candidate for torture and death. Almost overnight, they reduced Phnom Penh to desolation, the sight of which left Bizot sickened: "I slipped silently into an immense theater of death. I thought that the apprehension of so much destruction would soon tip the fragile balance of my sanity. There was not a single child, not one living creature. This sudden suspension of life in the heart of what had been the great commercial center of the Mekong Delta -- this city famed for its many and varied activities, its colorful population, its cosmopolitan lifestyle -- struck me as both so incredible and so straightforward that I imagined myself in a dead world, deserted in the wake of some cataclysm, where I, without knowing it, was the only survivor." Somehow he preserved his sanity, as well as a blunt courage that permitted him to act as go-between to the Khmer on behalf of the international community whose members had sought refuge on the grounds of the French embassy, the gate to which -- "the gate does not open onto the agonized cries of the tortured in Tuol Sleng prison but onto absurdity and despair" -- provides the inspiration for the book's title. Exhausted to the point of numbness, he nevertheless managed to cajole the Khmer into respecting the immunity of the embassy and providing organization and direction for the terrified, confused people sheltered there. Bizot is at once too matter-of-fact and too self-critical to portray himself in a flattering light, but it is obvious that what he did can fairly be called heroic. He is a man of strong opinions who expresses them freely. He is scarcely the first to condemn what the United States did in Southeast Asia in those years, and he tempers his remarks with the observation that in Vietnam "the Communist revolution was a disruption of [the peasants'] age-old way of life." But he is withering all the same: "Rather, it was the Americans' uncouth methods, their crass ignorance of the milieu in which they had intervened, their clumsy demagogy, their misplaced clear conscience, and that easy, childlike sincerity that bordered on foolishness. They were total strangers in the area, driven by clichés about Asia worthy of the flimsiest tourist guides, and they behaved accordingly." Bizot is no less withering on the "display by Parisian intellectuals of fraternizing with poor Khmer Rouge," which "struck me as ridiculous and misplaced." As he says: "Their dangerous naivete, based upon some idealistic vision, in the face of events that were to mark the pages of history in red and black, made me shudder. It was all part of the heavy responsibility of the West, which had heaped its models and its ideas on a totally alien world, unable to anticipate, prevent, or recognize the perverse effects it was having. However much hatred or sympathy I may have felt for some of these dreamers -- guilty yet motivated as they were by a sincere sense of brotherhood -- today, now that the point of no return has been reached, and they are silent, I feel merely a bitter compassion, and an infinite sadness."

Reuters 11 Mar 2003 Last Chance for U.N.-Cambodia Genocide Trial? By Ed Cropley PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - When United Nations and Cambodian negotiators meet on Thursday for the 11th round of talks to set up a special Khmer Rouge genocide court, both sides will be bearing a hefty burden. With the U.N. General Assembly giving its backing to a resumption in the stymied talks, the weight of the international community is bearing down on them to find a breakthrough after more than five years of false dawns. More importantly, the relatives of the 1.7 million victims of the ultra-Maoist regime's reign of terror are still crying out for justice. "I think this is the last chance for the U.N. and the government to demonstrate they have the will to seek justice for the victims," said Youk Chhang, head of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, the body responsible for archiving the atrocities. A guerrilla movement that grew out of the polarised politics of the Cold War, the Khmer Rouge tried to create a totally agrarian peasant utopia in the jungle-clad southeast Asian nation during their rule from 1975 to 1979. Instead, they created the "Killing Fields," in which nearly two million people died of starvation, torture, execution or exhaustion in one of the 20th century's most appalling crimes. The last time the two negotiating teams met, in New York in January, they reported "progress" toward laying the groundwork for more talks to establish a special international genocide court within Cambodia's legal system. Such statements, oozing diplomatic legalese, do little to convince observers that Thursday's talks in Phnom Penh are going to produce something concrete. "I honestly don't know what they'll talk about. Nobody knows what's going on right now, and that is half of the problem," said Youk Chhang, frustrated that, given the huge body of evidence, it should be so hard to put top Khmer Rouge officials in the dock. OLD WOUNDS The United Nations pulled out of talks a year ago, saying the court envisaged by Cambodia could not guarantee fair trials. However, they resumed negotiations after receiving a mandate from the 191-member U.N. General Assembly in December. The Cambodian government, still sprinkled with former Khmer Rouge cadres, has said it fears too broad-ranging a trial could reopen old wounds and destroy the peace the country is now enjoying after three decades of war. But few expect the court to indict anyone beyond the very top-ranking commanders: "Brother Number Two" Nuon Chea, widely believed to be the main ideologue behind the mass killings, along with Pol Pot, who died in 1998; former Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary and ex-Khmer Rouge president Khieu Samphan. Two others already in custody -- former military chief Ta Mok, nicknamed "The Butcher," and Kaing Kek Iev or "Duch," the commandant of Phnom Penh's notorious S-21 torture center, would also be likely defendants. There is also no shortage of witnesses. Of the three remaining survivors of the mass extermination of S-21, two have told Reuters recently they are ready and willing to take the witness stand against their tormentors. Despite accusations by critics he is stalling, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, himself a former low-level Khmer Rouge commander who fled the movement in the late 1970s, has said the leaders must face a trial. "We cannot tolerate genocide. We must hold a trial of the Khmer Rouge. It is inevitable," Hun Sen said in January. Yet the question remains -- when?

Kyodo JP 17 Cambodia, U.N. ink pact on Khmer Rouge tribunal By Puy Kea PHNOM PENH, March 17 Kyodo - Cambodian and U.N. negotiators initiated a provisional agreement Monday on establishing a quasi-international tribunal to bring former Khmer Rouge leaders to justice for genocide and crimes against humanity committed in the late 1970s. Om Yin Tieng, senior adviser to Prime Minister Hun Sen, told reporters that negotiations at the technical level have been one hundred percent completed, and a final agreement now only awaits approval from the U.N. General Assembly and Cambodia's National Assembly. The two sides reached the agreement after the United Nations conceded to allow Cambodia to appoint the majority of judges, and Cambodia agreed the tribunal would have only two levels, rather than the three envisioned in a Cambodian law enacted last year. The agreement was initialed by U.N. legal affairs chief Hans Corell and Cambodian Senior Minister Sok An in the presence of Hun Sen after Corell received a green light from U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan in a telephone conversation the previous evening. The final draft of the agreement stipulates that the ''Extraordinary Chambers'' to be set up should have only a trial chamber and a supreme court, with Cambodia appointing three judges to the five-judge trial chamber, and four to the seven-judge supreme court. That provision contracts a Cambodian law on the establishment of the tribunal that was promulgated Aug. 10, 2001, which had stipulated three chambers, including an appeals chamber. Negotiation team sources told Kyodo News that the law would be amended by the National Assembly. While no date has been fixed, they said it is expected to be done as soon as possible. In February last year, Annan decided to pull out of the negotiations with Cambodia that began in 1997, saying the trial as planned by Cambodia would not guarantee the independence, impartiality and objectivity that a court established with the support of the U.N. must have. But last December, the U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution urging Annan to restart the negotiations and to report on the result of the negotiations by Tuesday. The venue for the tribunal is expected to be Chaktomuk Theater Hall in central Phnom Penh. Corell paid a brief visit there Monday, his second so far. The Khmer Rouge has been blamed for the deaths of at least 1.7 million Cambodians during its 1975-1979 rule. Only two senior Khmer Rouge figures are in custody -- former military commander Ta Mok and Kaing Khek Ieu, better known as Duch, who ran a Khmer Rouge torture and interrogation center in Phnom Penh. Three top former Khmer Rouge leaders -- Ieng Sary, Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea -- live freely in Cambodia. Khmer Rouge supreme leader Pol Pot died in 1998, while Ke Pauk, a powerful Khmer Rouge commander who was in charge of northeastern Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge's rule, died last year.

NYT 18 Mar 2003 U.N. and Cambodia Reach an Accord for Khmer Rouge Trial By SETH MYDANS MANILA, March 17 — With more optimism than they have shown in the past, officials from Cambodia and the United Nations said today that they had agreed on a framework for a trial of surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge for mass killings in the 1970's. The agreement, announced in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, must now be approved by the United Nations General Assembly, which proposed the draft, and by the Cambodian legislature, which follows the dictates of Prime Minister Hun Sen. None of the Khmer Rouge leaders have yet been brought to trial for the deaths of 1.7 million people when they ruled Cambodia, from 1975 to 1979. The top leader, Pol Pot, died in 1998, but a number of other high-ranking Khmer Rouge now live openly and freely among the survivors. After five years of ups and downs since talks began, diplomats and other analysts cautioned that there would still be many hurdles and that it is not yet assured that a trial will be convened. Hans Corell, who negotiated on behalf of the United Nations, offered his own words of caution, saying, even if the United Nations and Cambodia approve the agreement, "this is only the beginning." The Cambodian Parliament is not expected to consider the issue before national elections, set for July. Technical details remain to be worked out and even if the process begins, selecting judges and prosecutors and issuing indictments is expected to be slow and contentious. Neither side disclosed details of the agreement today, but the United Nations proposal appeared to concede some of the main points of contention that had led to a breakdown in talks in February 2002. Those boiled down to an insistence by Cambodia on having the final say in any legal decisions at the tribunal, which is to include a mix of Cambodian and foreign judges. The Cambodian court system is widely seen as incompetent, corrupt and under the political control of Mr. Hun Sen. In high-profile political cases, arrests are generally made only on his orders and verdicts are often prescribed in advance. It has been impossible to determine whether Mr. Hun Sen actually favors holding a trial, which could take unpredictable turns in a country he has worked hard to bring under his personal control. The issue is politically delicate in a nation where former middle-ranking Khmer Rouge fill prominent government positions, and Mr. Hun Sen has been consistent in his inconsistency throughout the negotiations. "He still may not want a trial," said Steve Heder, an expert on Cambodia at the School of Oriental and Asian Studies in London. "He may not want to be blamed for it not happening, but he still may not want it to happen." Mr. Corell, who is the deputy secretary general for legal affairs at the United Nations, broke off talks last year, saying the Cambodians did not seem to be negotiating seriously. The new agreement is based on a draft presented by the General Assembly under the sponsorship of France and Japan. At a luncheon, Mr. Corell raised a toast together with the chief Cambodian negotiator, Sok An, who said the agreement "reflects our efforts and consensus on the project to render justice to the Cambodian people, to prevent crimes of this scale against humanity." Mr. Corell said Mr. Hun Sen had told him that the world must remain unswerving in the search for justice for the victims of the Khmer Rouge. "And I couldn't agree more," he said, raising his glass.

BBC 17 Mar 2003 Key figures in the Khmer Rouge Most of the remaining leaders are in their seventies After more than five years of protracted negotiations, United Nations and Cambodian negotiators have finally agreed to set up a genocide court to try former members of the Khmer Rouge. The agreement brings the surviving leaders of the brutal Maoist regime - many of whom are still living freely - a step closer to trial. The man most wanted for crimes against humanity in Cambodia will never be brought to justice. Pol Pot, the founder and unchallenged leader of the Khmer Rouge, died in a camp along the border with Thailand in 1998. But he left behind him several other senior figures who have been implicated in the genocide that took place during the Khmer Rouge's four-year regime. Two of these men are already in custody. Ta Mok, nicknamed "The Butcher", was the commander of the south-western region of Cambodia during the time of the Khmer Rouge. In 1997 he ousted Pol Pot and became the group's leader. Two years later he was captured next to the Thai border and charged with genocide. Now aged 77, he is jail in Phnom Penh. Kang Kek Ieu, more commonly known as Duch, is also in prison. Duch was the boss of Phnom Penh's notorious Tuol Sleng prison, where thousands of people were killed during the Khmer Rouge regime. Now aged 60, he is the youngest surviving member of the movement's leadership. Duch, who has since become a born-again Christian, is said to be eager for his chance to go to trial to tell his version of events. Escaping justice Other senior Khmer Rouge leaders are still at liberty. Two of the top names, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, live in Pailin, once the movement's jungle headquarters. Pol Pot's regime is thought to have led to the deaths of 1.7m people Both men deny being involved in the atrocities that went on during the Khmer Rouge regime, but critics suggest that at the very least they were fully informed of what was happening. Nuon Chea was Pol Pot's second in command, and often referred to as "brother number two". He defected from the Khmer Rouge in 1998 and was granted a pardon by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. In December 2002 he was called to testify on behalf of the former Khmer Rouge general Sam Bith, who was sentenced to life in prison for ordering the kidnap and murder of three Western backpackers in 1994. Khieu Samphan, as the official head of state, was the public face of the Khmer Rouge. After defecting at the same time as Nuon Chea, the 72-year-old is now said to spend most of his time reading, listening to music or gardening in his Pailin home. Another former leader, Ieng Sary, may yet escape trial. Known as "Brother Number Three", Ieng Sary is Pol Pot's brother-in-law and served as minister of foreign affairs during the Khmer Rouge regime. He became the first senior leader to defect in 1996 - and as a result was granted a royal pardon. The United Nations says such a pardon cannot protect someone from prosecution, but Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has previously warned that going after Ieng Sary could reignite civil unrest in Cambodia. Ieng Sary now lives in a luxury villa in Phnom Penh, as well as maintaining a home in Pailin. The 73-year-old is said to be ill with a heart condition, and travels to Bangkok regularly for treatment.

Bangkok Post 18 Mar 2003 Draft agreed for KR genocide tribunal United Nations and Cambodian negotiators yesterday reached a draft agreement on an international genocide tribunal to try surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge, senior Cambodian negotiators said. ``Up to now both sides have agreed on and completed technical work,'' said Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen's adviser Om Yintieng, who is also a member of the government's legal task force on the Khmer Rouge trial issue. ``Both sides will wrap up their work [today] and submit the draft agreement to their top leaders to make a final political decision,'' he said. UN legal counsel Hans Corell is to report on the results of his mission to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who is to submit the findings to the UN General Assembly. Hun Sen must also submit the draft to his National Assembly for approval, but Om Yintieng said it was likely to be ratified after national elections in July. Mr Corell met yesterday with Hun Sen to discuss the results of his five-day mission and then sat down for a final working lunch with Cambodia's top negotiator, according to Sok An, the minister attached to the premier's office. The UN negotiator declined to reveal details of the draft. ``It is not for me to express an opinion on the result,'' Mr Corell said after the meeting. ``It is important to note that if the General Assembly approves this agreement, and it is ratified by competent Cambodia, this is only the beginning.'' Sok An, however, struck a more optimistic tone. ``Today we concluded our responsibility at the technical level by initiating the text of the draft agreement to be ratified by Cambodia and approved by the UN General Assembly,'' he said. ``We have travelled a long road,'' he said, reminding diplomats that it had been six years since Cambodia asked the UN for help to establish a tribunal.


NYT 11 March 2003 Li Peng Retires, but His Infamy for Tiananmen Massacre Endures By ELISABETH ROSENTHAL BEIJING, March 10 — The chief of China's Parliament, Li Peng, gave his last major speech as a central leader today, effectively ending his long political career. Whatever his achievements as a legislator, Mr. Li will be forever widely despised as the leader who announced the imposition of martial law in June 1989, signaling the army's arrival in Beijing to break up pro-democracy student protests in Tiananmen Square. In recent years, he has also been accused of corruption and nepotism, particularly concerning the involvement of his wife and sons in state-owned power companies. Mr. Li's departure is a watershed of sorts in that he was the last Communist hard-liner in a top leadership position. But, in practical terms, his absence will not make much difference because his faction has already lost nearly all its influence. "It is good for China that Li Peng is retiring," said a senior newspaper editor. "Some people see him as a symbol of the massacre, the chief planner. I don't think it's as simple as that, but his retirement takes one obstacle to a re-evaluation out of the way." Mr. Li, 74, is expected to be replaced by Wu Bangguo, 61, who is widely regarded as more liberal and open to reform. "The retirement of Li Peng takes away the key representative of the leftist faction," the editor said. "I think Wu Bangguo is certain to be more open than him." Today, Mr. Li presented to China's Legislature his report on the achievements of the Ninth National People's Congress, which closes its five-year term next week. He said the Congress, China's legislative body, had written dozens of laws, monitored government budgets, and helped create China's emerging court system, noting that a "socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics" is taking shape. He also announced the approval of a plan to restructure the government, which will reduce the number of ministries by 1 to 28. Mr. Li departed from his formal scripted presentation to add a word of advice to his successors. "The pupil often surpasses the master," he said. "I believe that the work of the 10th National People's Congress will be even better than the work of the Ninth National People's Congress, even more outstanding." Mr. Li is the last of the classic old breed of Communist Party officials, whose authority derives almost entirely from personal links with the 1949 revolution that brought the Communists to power. An orphan, he was raised by Zhou Enlai, China's revered first prime minister and a revolutionary hero. A Russian-trained engineer, Mr. Li was never an enthusiastic supporter of China's opening to the outside world or its economic reforms. In 1989, as student protesters gathered day in and day out in Tiananmen Square demanding democracy, it was natural that he would become the government's enforcer. Then China's prime minister, he supported the use of military force to quell the students, a decision that led to the deaths of hundreds, if not more. Human rights advocates have been demanding his resignation ever since, giving him the sobriquet, "The Butcher of Beijing." In Beijing, he is also widely hated for his family's ties to China's lucrative power industry. Many scholars here believe that the central government has been reluctant to pursue other high-level corruption cases for fear it would be criticized for allowing Mr. Li to remain in office. "Li Peng's retirement will take away the protection enjoyed by corrupt officials," the editor said.

East Timor

Daily Telegraph AU 12 Mar 2003 East Timor ex-army chief jailed A FORMER Indonesian military chief for East Timor was sentenced today to five years in jail for crimes against humanity in the territory in 1999. A human rights court convicted Noer Muis, who was a colonel at the time, of failing to prevent massacres of independence supporters and others. He remains free pending an appeal. Muis is only the third police or army officer to be convicted by the court over the savage army-backed militia bloodshed before and after East Timor voted to break away from Indonesia. Ten other security force members were earlier acquitted in widely criticised verdicts. "I reject the verdict and since I have the right, I will appeal," a calm-looking Muis told reporters, complaining that the verdict was not in line with witness testimony. He was convicted of failing to prevent attacks on the diocese in Dili on September 5, 1999, and on the Dili bishop's residence the following day. The two attacks left 13 people dead. Muis was also found guilty of failing to prevent an attack on a church in Suai on September 6 in which 26 people were killed. Prosecutors had asked that he be jailed for 10 years. Chief judge Andriani Nurdin acknowledged that the minimum sentence under human rights law should have been 10 years. "Ten years is not in line with the feeling of justice of the judges' panel. Justice should be prioritised... ," she said. The verdict, read out in turns by the judges, said that "as military commander the defendant had failed to prevent his subordinates from allowing incidents to happen that led to a crime against humanity." Muis had "intentionally allowed and even gave support" to the Suai attack, it said. Last month Muis, who is now a brigadier general and deputy head of the military academy, told the court he had tried to prevent the massacres and that none of his own men were involved in them. The militias, armed and organised by the Indonesian military, launched a brutal campaign of intimidation before the UN-organised independence vote in August 1999 and a revenge campaign afterwards. An estimated 1000 people were killed.


The Hindu 2 Mar 2003 www.hinduonnet.com Case for `the genocide' ARVIND NARRAIN lists out a few legal options which he feels should become a part of a wider campaign on Gujarat to bring up the issue of the genocidal endgame of Hindutva politics. ALMOST a year after the incidents of rape, murder, looting, arson and destruction of mosques, which followed the Godhra incident, one is asking troubling questions as to what a possible legal response to the violence could be. What is a frightening possibility is that Gujarat is but a precursor to the genocidal endgame of Hindutva politics. If one takes seriously the ideological framework within which the Gujarat violence was conceptualised and executed then it is obvious that M.S. Golwalker and Praveen Togadia share a common philosophy. The nature of the philosophy emerges with icy clarity in an extract in which Golwalker refers to Nazi Germany, "To keep up the purity of the race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races — the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well nigh impossible for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by." Thus it is clear that the "other" will have to be subject to the constant threat of extermination if one goes by the understanding of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's founders. In such a context what is the legal response, which is possible? To conceptualise what happened in Gujarat, it is clear that it was not a communal riot with two antagonistic communities inflicting violence on each other. Instead what happened was that members of the Muslim community were systematically targeted and the community suffered large-scale destruction of life and property. In the case of Gujarat, what happened was neither a local incident nor a riot. The only category, which seems to fit, is the understanding of the Gujarat violence as a pogrom, which would indicate state complicity in targeted violence against one community. However pogroms are not legally defined categories and though they might capture some part of the nature of the violence, the category is not useful to produce a "legal truth". The one word which is described in international law as the "crime of crimes", i.e. genocide is the only legal category which captures the intention of the violence. The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, 1948, which India has ratified, defines genocide as "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such". The acts include killings and causing serious bodily or mental harm. The crux of the convention lies in the requirement of "intention" and the proof of the same. The convention itself was born out of the horrors of the World War II and was particularly aimed at preventing the intentional destruction of whole groups of people. In fact, Raphael Lemkin, a Polish lawyer who coined the term genocide, derived the word from the Greek word genos, which means race, nation or tribe in ancient Greek and caedere, which means to kill in Latin. In Lemkin's conception, it was "a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves". Since the coming into force of the convention, the prohibition against genocide has achieved the status of Jus Cogens and become a norm of customary international law, which is binding on all parties regardless of whether they are party to the 1948 Convention. Towards the close of the 20th Century, with the re-emergence of violent ethnic conflict in both the Balkans and Rwanda, we had the setting up of Ad Hoc Tribunals, viz the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the International Criminal Tribunal For Yugoslavia (ICTY) by Security Council Resolutions. Both have jurisdiction over the crime of genocide. The Rwandan Tribunal is the first international tribunal to hand down convictions for genocide — on eight former Rwandan leaders. Finally we have the setting up of the International Criminal Court under the Rome Statute of 1997, which also has jurisdiction over the crime of genocide. Technically, the key point in genocide law is to establish the intention to destroy a particular group. This can be derived both as an analysis of statements as well as derived from the facts of the case. In Gujarat for example, "intention" can be derived from the ideology of the party and the various statements of its leaders from Golwalker downwards. The second approach to finding out "intention" has had greater success in international law. The Rwandan Tribunal in Akayesu's case held, "it is possible to deduce the genocidal intent inherent in a particular act charged from the general context of the perpetration of other culpable acts systematically directed against that same group, whether these acts were committed by the same offender or by others. "Other factors, such as the scale of atrocities committed, their general nature, in a region or country, or furthermore, the fact of deliberately and systematically targeting victims on account of their membership of a particular group, while excluding the members of other groups, can enable the Chamber to infer the genocidal intent of a particular act.' (Akayesu, in this case, was a person in a position of authority similar to a district collector and he was aware of and allowed the killings and rape of Tutsi people in his district). Similarly, in Prosecutor vs. Kristic, the Yugoslav Tribunal put forward another test to determine genocidal intent. The tribunal noted, "Where there is physical or biological destruction, there are often simultaneous attacks on cultural, religious properties ... which may legitimately be considered as evidence of an intent to physically destroy the group. The trial will take into account, as evidence of intent to destroy the group the deliberate destruction of mosques and homes." If one applies the two tests evolved in these cases to the events in Gujarat, based on the compelling evidence of the National Human Rights Commission Reports, the various fact finding reports and the Citizen's Tribunal Report, the only way we can understand what happened in Gujarat is as genocide. In the facts of this case, there is no doubt that it was violence, which was systematically perpetuated against the Muslim community. It was Muslim women who were subjected to rape, Muslims who were killed, Muslims who had to flee from their homes in both villages, cities and towns, Muslim establishments which were systematically targeted and it was Muslims against whom pamphlets calling for annihilation, rape and economic boycott were issued. The scale of atrocities covered 17 districts in Gujarat and, as mentioned before, the violence resulted in over 1,00,000 lakh people fleeing their homes and the deaths of over 2,000 people. Property worth over Rs. 3,000 crores belonging to Muslims was destroyed. The scale was of such a nature as to draw the inference of an intention to destroy an entire religious group. The deliberate and systematic targeting of the Muslim community is seen in the fact that in both villages and Ahmedabad it was Muslim establishments, which were destroyed. Approximately 230 shrines, mosques and dargahs were destroyed and desecrated. In some cases, bulldozers and cranes were used to carry out the destruction in just 72 hours after Godhra. Thus there is no option but to label what happened in Gujarat as genocide. If that is indeed the case what are the legal options before us? The following possibilities can be outlined: The International Criminal Court which has jurisdiction over serious international crimes such as genocide, is not an option as jurisdiction of the ICC is confined to countries, which have ratified it and India, has not yet ratified the Rome Statute. Even if India were to ratify the ICC Statute, automatic jurisdiction would only be for crimes committed after the statute came into force for that state unless of course India were to make a declaration accepting jurisdiction for crimes committed even before ratification. The use of the ICC is further caveated by the principle of complementarity, which requires that national criminal jurisdiction will first have to be shown to be an unviable option, before the ICC mechanism can be accessed. In the context of making the argument that what happened in Gujarat was a genocide, the ICC provides little guidance. An International Tribunal set up by a Security Council Resolution, as in the case of Rwanda and Yugoslavia, remains a remote possibility, as it is unlikely that a tribunal can be set up in the case of Gujarat due to the nature of the Security Council. Further, the emergence of the ICC is likely to ensure that the ICTR and ICTY were a response to a historical need, which will be served by the ICC in the future. Prosecution in other countries, which have operationalised the Genocide Convention in their national legal systems and have accepted the principle of universal jurisdiction such as Belgium, is an option, which is being pursued by human rights groups. If one takes take the example of the prosecution of Ariel Sharon for criminal responsibility for the massacres of over 20,000 people at Sabra and Shatila, the Belgian court in this case initially accepted jurisdiction on the basis of universal jurisdiction for serious offences such as genocide. However the court in its decision ruled that "The complaint against Sharon... is not admissible because of the principle of Belgian law that crimes committed in other countries cannot be prosecuted in Belgium unless the author or presumed author has been found in Belgium," a spokesman for the court said (www.crimesofwar.org/onnews/new-sharon.html). Though this decision is being appealed, the present position makes it impossible to try those who are not on Belgian territory. However one needs to follow the developments in Belgium itself on the point as the ruling parties have recently concluded an agreement to modify the law such that trials for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity can be launched even without the presence of the accused. Another national legal system which could be accessed is the United States which permits suits under the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) and the Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA) for violations of international law, including arbitrary detention, war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Another option could be an argument before the Supreme Court outlining that what happened in Gujarat was a genocide and for this most serious violation of the right to life of an entire group of people, the apex court needs to lay down the law on genocide as an interim measure till such time as the State fulfils its obligations under the Genocide Convention by enacting a law on genocide. There are thus a few legal options, which could be pursued. However each of these options should become a part of a wider campaign on Gujarat wherein the legal aspect is seen as a part of a wider politics of bringing up the issue of the genocidal endgame of Hindutva politics. There is a sense of urgency to this process due to the shift rightwards of the Indian State and the increasing acceptability of a politics, which can be termed fascist. As Prof. Upendra Baxi noted with reference to the meaning of Gujarat, "the time for Indian constitutionalism is running out".

www.csmonitor.com 4 Mar 2003 India takes steps to expel illegal Muslim immigrants - Anti-Muslim sentiment has grown in the country's east against Bangladeshis who come to India for work. By Amol Sharma | Special to The Christian Science Monitor Calcutta, India - Mihir Kumar Basu hires construction workers for a low-cost housing project on Calcutta's east side. To find cheap labor, Mr. Basu travels about 60 miles northeast of the city to the villages and towns along India's border with Bangladesh. There, illegal Bangladeshi immigrants line up for the chance to make a few dollars a day at his site. "A lot of the people who work here have come to India illegally, many of them within the past few years," Basu says. "They don't have proper documentation to be in this country, so they're very scared to talk about it." That's because the Indian government is trying hard to find and deport them. India says 15 million to 20 million Bangladeshis have slipped across the porous 2,500-mile border over the past several decades, settling in border towns as well as in major cities like Calcutta (also known as Kolkata), Delhi, and Bombay (Mumbai). The government says the migrants, most of whom are Muslims, pose an increasing security threat to the country. Indian intelligence authorities allege that some of these people are acting as agents for Bangladesh-based Pakistani spies and possibly even Al Qaeda terrorists. India has increased its spending on border security by 36 percent to $41 million. But underlying India's much-trumpeted concerns about national security, many experts say, is a more subtle fear of the demographic changes that are reshaping the country's eastern front, creating majority-Muslim enclaves along the border. Now Indian politicians across the political spectrum are trying to capitalize on increasing anti-Muslim sentiment. A government report published last December showed dramatic population increases in border areas throughout eastern states like Assam and West Bengal over the past 10 years. In some towns, the population increase was more than 20 percent, almost entirely from poor Muslim immigrants, according to the report. "In some areas you can't find a Hindu family because the population mix has been so disturbed," says Tarun Ganguly, a former editor of a leading Calcutta newspaper whose research organization, the Center for Social Research, studies West Bengal's ethnic demographics. "There is a fear here among Hindus that they are being swamped by the Muslims." While top politicians from the Hindu nationalist Bharitya Janata Party (BJP) are spearheading the campaign to weed out illegal immigrants, the effort is winning support from states and political parties that normally oppose the BJP. That is partly because antiterrorism and border control initiatives are always popular, but also because Hindu nationalism has gained momentum in many parts of India over the past several months - all parties are eager to court Hindu voters. After Hindu-Muslim riots ravaged the western state of Gujarat a year ago, the BJP played the religious card in December's statewide elections and won an overwhelming victory. That victory may have encouraged the BJP and other political parties to cater to Hindu voters, who make up more than 80 percent of India's population. In West Bengal, a communist-led government that has traditionally defended the interests of the minority Muslim community is now supporting the move to oust illegal Bangladeshis. The Indian border security forces said Sunday that some 462 Bangladeshis have been held in detention near the Indian border in the past two months. And the state government has started cracking down on informal Islamic schools, or madrassahs, that have sprouted up along the border. Many people here find it hard to believe that destitute agricultural laborers and low-wage service workers could have ties to terrorists. "These are starving people trying to make a meager living," says Reena Bhadhuri, an expert on Islam at Calcutta University in West Bengal. "How can they be connected to Al Qaeda and the Pakistani intelligence agencies?" But Indian officials say this kind of poverty can create the ideal conditions for terrorists to infiltrate the country. India is particularly worried that the terrorists will lend support to ethnic separatists who are waging insurgencies in India's northeastern states. A host of militant groups in seven different states have demands ranging from increased autonomy to outright independence from India. Many ordinary Muslims in Calcutta support tighter border security but say the policy of removing those who have already settled shows how anxious India is to get rid of Muslims. "Sending these people back is not the correct thing to do, because these people are settled here and have been working here for years," says 22-year-old Akhtar Hussein, who runs a general store in central Calcutta. Mohammed Sajjad Alam, a newspaper vendor, notes that while the Indian government says it is afraid of terrorism, the real menace it sees is the growing Muslim population. "They worry that if too many Muslims come here and settle, they might form a majority in some areas and seek more political representation," Mr. Alam says. If deporting Muslims is sensitive, deciding what to do with Hindu illegal immigrants, estimated by some experts at 1 million to 2 million, could be even more vexing for India. Many of them say they came here to escape increasing Islamic fundamentalism in Bangladesh. Kalipado Das left Bangladesh with his wife and two daughters in 1987, fleeing what he says was torture at the hands of his Muslim neighbors. Mr. Das now lays bricks at Basu's Calcutta construction site. "I wouldn't go back, even if they paid me double to work there," Das says. Indian officials say Hindu refugees might deserve special treatment. "If they have come here illegally, it may be justified because of the hostility they face in Bangladesh," says I.D. Swami, deputy minister for national security. "Some distinction will have to be kept in mind." Identifying illegal immigrants, particularly in urban areas, will be a great challenge for the state police officials who will be charged with carrying out the deportation drive. Bangladeshis speak and look like Indian Muslims in West Bengal. And many Bangladeshis have been able to get legal residency documents like ration cards and voter identification cards from local political-party officials looking to shore up their vote banks. India is planning to issue new electronic identity cards in several states to better track Indian citizenship.

WP 6 Mar 2003 Indian Court Orders Excavation at Religious Site By Rama Lakshmi Page A24 NEW DELHI, March 5 -- A court today ordered archaeologists to excavate a disputed religious site to determine whether an ancient Hindu temple once existed on the spot where a mosque was erected by Muslims in the 16th century and demolished by Hindus in 1992. The Allahabad High Court gave the state-run Archaeological Survey of India one week to begin digging in the northern town of Ayodhya and a month to report its findings. The results could profoundly affect the course of one of India's most explosive controversies of the past decade, Hindu and Muslim leaders said today. "Today's order raises our hope of finally resolving the 400-year-old dispute over a site that is very dear to Hindu sentiments," said Vijay Kumar Malhotra, spokesman of the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the principal party in India's coalition government. "We believe that an ancient Hindu temple was destroyed in the 16th century by a Muslim ruler to build the mosque. The excavation is the only way to resolve the debate." The dispute over Ayodhya has been at the heart of Hindu-Muslim strife in India since 1992, when thousands of Hindu zealots tore down the Babri mosque, which stood on the spot that many Hindus believe to be the birthplace of the god Ram. Within two months, more than 3,000 people were killed across India in religious rioting. Hindu zealots erected a small, makeshift temple immediately after tearing down the mosque, and radical Hindu groups such as the World Hindu Council have campaigned to build a larger temple. The issue has continued to fuel religious tensions in this country of 1 billion people, of whom 85 percent are Hindu and 12 percent Muslim. Last year, riots that claimed more than 1,000 lives in the western state of Gujarat were triggered when Muslims attacked a train carrying Hindu activists home from Ayodhya. The dispute has been brought before India's Supreme Court. The Hindu nationalist-led government pushed last week for an early settlement of the case, and while Muslims desire to see their mosque rebuilt, many groups have pledged to abide by the court's judgment. "We have faith in the Indian judiciary, but we fear that the excavation process may delay the judicial process. And the findings of the excavation could also make the issue more contentious," said Kamal Farooqui, member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, an umbrella group of Muslim intellectuals and leaders. Last month, the Allahabad High Court ordered a team headed by an Indo-Japanese company to conduct a surface survey of the site using ground-penetration radar. Today's court directive was based on findings from that study, which have not been made public. While generally supportive, leaders of both religious groups expressed concerns about the consequences and conduct of the archaeological dig. Some Muslim leaders cautioned that the order for excavation might set a dangerous precedent. Apart from Ayodhya, the Hindu Council has also campaigned for a decade against two more medieval mosques in northern India that were built over sites important to Hindus.

Indian Express March 09, 2003 In Black & White Dreams after Darkness Emerging from the shadows of Punjab’s Dark Decade, a generation of men and women stands apart from the rest of the country in their search for the ordinary, reports Manraj Grewal They are the children of the Dark Decade. But they preach peace. One is the son of the man who was at the helm of it all, the larger-than-life saint who inspired a Jihadi zeal. There are others who became his weapons. Driven by hurt and hatred, they took up arms. Putting at stake their present, their future, their everything. Then, there are those who’re living in the shadow of a father, who, fired by the collective angst of a community, gunned down the Prime Minister he was supposed to protect before being shot himself. They are the bright present of a dark past. Looking at them, it’s difficult to rustle up the blood-spattered images of the trouble-torn Punjab. It’s painful to resurrect the lost years when peace flew out of the window and guns reigned. When as a Centre-State skirmish in the early ’80s snowballed into a bloody crusade for a separate nation. Intransigent politicians, a back-to-the-wall police force, and fanatical ideologues together pushed Shahid Bhagat Singh’s land into an abyss. The botched-up Operation Bluestar and ’84 riots seemed to further wipe out any chances of normalcy by completing the alienation of the Sikh masses — a goal the bigots had long strived to achieve. The tide of hatred swept away hundreds of youths. A militant was born every other day. And the killings became a mere numbers game. But somewhere along the line, the cause was washed away by blood, the ideology lost its lustre. And peace tip-toed back into Punjab. Cut to the present and you will find it nestling with the children of the Dark Decade. The Sant’s Son HIS father could launch a hundred dharam yudhs. He was a wizard with words. Words which could make people kill or die. Ishar Singh, the elder son of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, is a shy guy. Like his mother. ‘‘My younger brother Inderjit is a spitting image of my father,’’ he offers, obviously ill at ease with journalists. Unlike his father, whom he never got to know. ‘‘I was only five when he left home for Damdami Taksal in ’77,’’ he looks out of the window. From then on, he was santji to them and the world. ‘‘Whenever he visited us, it was with his jatha,’’ he says, taking you back to the days when his father, a silver barchchi in hand, strode like a raging colossus over Punjab. Today, he sits framed on the wall, looking down upon his son, who is as removed from the religio-political affairs as he, an ideologue, was from real estate. Ishar is a realtor, has been since ’97. ‘‘I have some friends who invested in my business,’’ he says, lighting up as his two children walk in, wearing big smiles. They are the reason for his change of tack, from farming to property-dealing. His education was cut short by his father, who plucked him from his village school to transplant him in Mahant Jagir Singh’s akhara to learn gurbani, when he was in Class VI. A few months on, Operation Bluestar ended his father’s reign on Golden Temple with death. Those were traumatic times. ‘‘He may have been a sant for the others, but mere te baap si (he was my father),’’ he swallows. From then on, the 12-year-old scripted his own destiny. He went back to school but it wasn’t easy. ‘‘God knows how I completed Plus Two,’’ he wrings his hands, telling you about his first encounter with the police when he was in Class X. ‘‘They picked me up just like that.’’ He had a dream: to be a doctor but circumstances killed it. ‘‘Don’t worry, I’ll fulfil it through my children,’’ he waves away sympathy. Political shenanigans, too, leave him cold. You wonder aloud if it has something to do with his father and he looks shocked. ‘‘No, I don’t stand judgement on my father. He was a man of convictions. I am proud of him.’’ Playing at Grown-Ups FEAR has been their childhood companion. It walked into their lives on October 31, 1984. ‘‘We returned from school to chaos. Our daadi was cowering in a corner with our baby brother Jassi in her lap. There was a sea of khaki in our house.’’ Amrit was in Class III and Sarabjeet in Class II when their life was turned upside down by a hail of bullets fired by their father, Inspector Beant Singh, at Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Their mother Bimal Kaur Khalsa, a nurse at Lady Hardinge College, did not return for days. And they never saw their father again. ‘‘We were treated as outcasts when we shifted to Kharar; people had no time for us,’’ remembers Sarabjeet. To add to their woes, an incendiary speech in a gurdwara landed their mother behind bars for two full years. ‘‘We didn’t have what you could call a normal life,’’ the pretty Amrit smiles, tickled perhaps by the understatement. But slowly, the tide turned. Enough to get their mother elected as an MP from Ropar. But she slipped and fell to her death in ’91. It wasn’t fun playing grown-ups, but the trio made a job of it. ‘‘Remember the awful stuff I used to feed you,’’ the brothers smile as Amrit recounts their little adventures in the kitchen, at the power billing office, bank, and all those adult places. ‘‘No one gave a damn for us. Neither the leaders, nor our family except for our chachaji. Were it not for our house at Mohali, a portion of which we rented out, and my mother’s savings, we would have starved,’’ Amrit lets her anger bubble over. The Damdami Taksal paid for their education, but only for two years. Amrit had barely come of age when she married Harinder, a computer professional. That was in ’96. The marriage gave the three the emotional security they had yearned for. The brothers started a cyber cafe with Harinder, who runs a computer business, but ran into losses. ‘‘The overheads were very high,’’ sighs Sarabjeet. Now, he’s set up a cable business. ‘‘They’re trying hard, all they need is an initial push,’’ says the worried Amrit. On this note, you turned to Jassi, the quiet one. There he sat, the shy, 19-year-old wannabe lawyer weeping silently as you clinically, brutally, ripped open all his wounds, one by one. The Man Who Would Be Assassin KARAMJIT Singh Sunam is a well-known name in Sunam. One, because he attempted to assassinate then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in ’86, and two, he is the principal of Guru Harkrishan Public School. Karamjit’s life can be divided into before and after: before October 2, 1986, and after May 2, 2000. ‘‘But it was 1984 that changed my destiny,’’ says the lanky man. He was working as a salesman in Delhi when the November ’84 riots shook his core. ‘‘It was like an invasion,’’ he shudders. Rajiv Gandhi’s statement likening it to the tremors caused by a big tree’s fall was the final straw. ‘‘I resolved then and there to avenge the massacre,’’ Karamjit recalls. The 24-year-old spent months trailing Rajiv through newspapers. Getting a weapon was also no mean task. ‘‘I finally visited Sri Ganganagar to buy a country-made revolver for Rs 300,’’ he remembers. Finally, on Gandhi Jayanti, 1986, after hiding in the bushes for 10 days, he struck, attempting to kill Rajiv Gandhi at Raj Ghat. He failed and was sent to jail for 14 years. He came out in the summer of 2000. The world had changed. ‘‘I’d lost my mother, my brother, the resentment had vanished... it was unbelievable.’’ Karamjit too had changed. The prison could shackle his body, not his mind. ‘‘I completed my graduation and post-graduation in History in the prison, and was starting on my PhD on Banda Bahadur when I was freed,’’ says Karamjit. The school was a dream he’d nurtured during the long years spent in solitary confinement. He turned it into reality soon after coming home. ‘‘Today, I have 370 students,’’ he beams, showing you around his multi-storied school with wife Bhagwant by his side. Nudge him back to the Dark Decade and he waves a hand. ‘‘It’s over. I did what I had to do, but it’s different now.’’ His eyes are fixed firmly on the future. And on a lawyer’s black robes. Switching Sides ‘‘A BITTER experience.’’ That’s how Virsa Singh Valtoha describes his brush with militancy. But back then, in the late ’70s, it had attracted him like a moth to the flame. ‘‘It was a strong wave which swept us away,’’ he says, taking you back to the days when Punjab first began rumbling with discontent. Valtoha was 16, a scholarship-winner, who found himself drawn to the All India Sikh Students’ Federation (AISSF) and the strident Damdami Taksal. By 1982, he’d been appointed an office-bearer. Whispers that he was the blue-eyed boy of none other than Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale only made him soar higher. Two years later, he was grounded by Operation Bluestar, and bundled off to Jodhpur jail. For eight years. It’s a chapter of his life he likes to skim over. But he does let you know that the struggle couldn’t achieve much even though the issues were relevant. ‘‘We lost more than we gained. Anyone who saw it from within will tell you about the bitterness that seeped in.’’ The days of guerrilla warfare, he declares, are over. Which is why he took to politics soon after his release. Today he is an executive member of the Akali Dal. He was also a member of the Punjab Subordinate Services Selection Board appointed by former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. But politics, he says, is not what he had planned for himself, and there are times when he wishes things could be different. ‘‘I was a brilliant student, I could have pursued any career if only there was someone to guide me.’’ Now, he and his wife, an English lecturer, are making sure their eight-year-old son has a wealth of options. ‘‘You know, he wants to be the Prime Minister,’’ the proud father roars. www.indianexpress.com

BBC 12 Mar 2003 Ayodhya dig begins The archaeologists must complete the excavation in a month A team of archaeologists has started excavations in the northern Indian town of Ayodhya at a holy site claimed by both Hindus and Muslims. They are aiming to settle a dispute over whether there was once a Hindu temple there. The site houses the remains of a 16th century mosque destroyed by Hindus in 1992. They say the mosque was built on the ruins of a temple which marked the birthplace of the Hindu God, Ram. The destruction of the mosque sparked off religious riots across India in which more than 2,000 people died. Last week, a court ordered the excavation of the site to determine if a temple ever existed there. Some Indian historians have already raised doubts about the excavation, arguing that it could lead to more historical disputes. Representatives from India's small Jain community have joined in the dispute, saying one of their ancient temples may also have existed in Ayodhya. Media ban "The digging in accordance with the court order began at 1335 local time," Magistrate Amok Kumar, from the nearby city of Faizabad, told journalists on Wednesday. HAVE YOUR SAY This is a step that should have been taken by the Indian judiciary a long time ago Anand, India Click here to read more of your comments Nearly 80 labourers are involved in the dig, which is being supervised by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). A Muslim representative, Zafaryab Jilani, has given his support to the dig: "I am fully satisfied with the process adopted by the ASI." The excavation was delayed when a court ordered the archaeologists to carry out a second survey of the site on Wednesday, which would be witnessed by the different sides in the dispute. The 15-member team arrived at the controversial site on Monday under heavy guard. A model of the proposed temple at a Hindu workshop near Ayodhya They spent the day surveying and mapping the area before presenting their plan for excavation to the local administration, which is responsible for security at the site. The archaeologists are banned from talking to the media about their work. The right-wing Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP, Hindu World Council) has said it will hold a week-long protest next week in Ayodhya demanding the handover of the site. Under the court order, no digging can take place on the core area which now houses a makeshift Hindu temple. It also said that the exercise should not disrupt Hindu devotees from praying at the site, which is now allowed at restricted times. Both sides to the dispute have also been asked to nominate representatives who can monitor the process. But access to the site has been denied to the media. 'Chances not high' The VHP, which wants the area to be handed over so that they can begin constructing a temple, is hoping for a favourable outcome. A senior leader, Vishnu Hari Dalmiya, said that his colleagues had dug in the area in the past and found the remnants of a temple. But a former director general of the Archaeological Survey of India, MC Joshi, told the BBC the chances of finding the temple of the Hindu God, Ram, were not high. "We will tell the court whatever we get after a month of excavations," he said. The head of the Muslim organisation, the Indian National League, Ibrahim Suleman, has warned that the excavation will further complicate the dispute. The court has asked for the excavation to be completed in a month and for a report of the findings submitted to it.

PTI 20 Mar 2003 20 killed, 60 hurt in Holi violence in UP Press Trust of India Lucknow, March 20 At least 20 people have been killed and about 60 injured in Holi-related violence in the state in the last 48 hours, police said today. Two persons were stabbed to death in communal clashes in Gorakhpur after which curfew was imposed in three police station areas, they said adding senior officials were on the spot and the situation was stated to be under control. While three members of a family were shot dead in Aligarh in Holi-related clash yesterday, three others were killed in separate incidents in Lucknow since Tuesday. Five people have died in Orai district during the last 48 hours in Holi-related violence, according to reports reaching here. Three deaths were reported in Rampur, two in Allahabad, and one each in Banda and Chandauli district. Official sources, however, put the number of dead in Holi-related violence at five. Though Holi was celebrated in most parts of the state on Tuesday, some districts celebrated the festival yesterday.

AP 24 Mar 2003 Gunmen slay 24 in Hindu village in India-controlled Kashmir By MUJTABA ALI AHMAD NADIMARG, India (March 24, 9:07 a.m. PST) - Suspected Islamic militants dressed in Indian army uniforms shot and killed 24 Hindus in a remote village in Kashmir early Monday, police said. A group of about eight to 10 armed men dragged villagers out of their homes in Nadimarg in the disputed Himalayan province and shot them at close range, police and witnesses said. The dead included two children. The victims, upper-caste Hindus known as Kashmiri Pandits, were lined up and shot outside a temple. Others in the village managed to escape, said police officer M.A. Anjum. Police said they believed the gunmen were Islamic militants, who have been fighting for Kashmir's independence from India since 1989. There was no immediate comment from rebel groups. "Around midnight a group of men in army uniform banged on our doors and dragged us outside," said Ramesh Kumar, a village resident who escaped. The massacre, in the village 30 miles south of the summer capital of Srinagar, could increase tensions between India and Pakistan. The nations came to the brink of war after the Indian government blamed Pakistan for similar attacks a year ago. "We will not spare them. We will mobilize the people of Kashmir against these killers," said Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, the state's top elected official. Tens of thousands of Kashmiri Pandits, who have lived in the region for centuries, have fled after attacks by Islamic militants. Many live in refugee camps in other Indian cities. "This is a blot, a scar on the state. They are targeting the minuscule minority that stayed behind for the love of their land," Sayeed said. In New Delhi, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee summoned a meeting of his top security advisers, and Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani was planning to visit the site of the attack Tuesday. The American Ambassador to India, Robert Blackwill, condemned "the ghastly murder of innocent men, women and children." "The global war on terrorism will not be won until such atrocities end against all countries," Blackwill said in a statement. Pakistan also condemned the attack. "This blatant act of terrorism, reportedly carried out by persons wearing Indian army uniforms, is reprehensible," a statement by the Pakistan foreign ministry said. The massacre occurred a day after unidentified gunmen assassinated an Islamic guerrilla leader who was forced out of Kashmir's main rebel group after reportedly holding secret talks with the Indian government. The Himalayan province of Jammu-Kashmir is India's only Muslim majority state. Most Muslims inhabit the Kashmir valley in the north, while the Jammu region in the south is predominantly Hindu. Suspected Islamic guerrillas have attacked Hindu villages in the past in an apparent attempt to flush out Hindus from the valley. At least 23 people were killed in a similar attack in 1998 in another Hindu village. Hours after Monday's attack, hundreds of Hindu refugees living in camps in Jammu - the state's winter capital - staged a street protest, accusing the government of failing to protect them. India accuses Pakistan of sponsoring an insurgency in Kashmir that has resulted in more than 61,000 deaths. Pakistan denies the charge, saying it supports the rebels but does not give them aid.

BBC 24 Mar 2003 Eyewitness: 'They knocked on our doors' Survivors of Sunday's massacre in Indian-administered Kashmir have been describing what happened. Neighbours of the victims grieve Nadimarg is a tiny village some 50 kilometres south of the Kashmir summer capital Srinagar. It is inhabited entirely by Hindus, with 10 families living in the village. They are among the few Hindus still left in the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley. Most Hindu Kashmiris, known as Kashmiri Pandits, fled the valley after violence broke out in 1989. "This is the price we have to pay for staying back," survivor Chunni Lal, who lost his wife, said. The BBC's Altaf Hussain, who visited Nadimarg, said the bodies of the dead were laid out on a clearing, covered in white shrouds. Mourners beat their chests as relatives streamed past, the signs of the violence still very evident. Midnight knock Deepak Kumar, whose mother was among those killed, hid inside his house when the attackers came to his door. Bodies of the victims are laid out "There was a knock on the door. These people said 'we are security forces and want to search houses for militants,'" he told the Reuters news agency. He said he peeped through a hole and saw the villagers being lined up. "I closed my eyes and then I heard the shots. Another survivor, Satish, managed to slip away in the confusion. "I was dragged out of my house but then asked to accompany the militants as they searched another house," he told the BBC. "In the confusion I ran away. I only returned in the morning." Chunni Lal said he was lined up outside his house with other villagers after which the gunmen opened fire. "There were eight of them, dressed in battle fatigues. "I was hit. I fell down and pretended to be dead," he said. He managed to survive with a bullet wound in his arm. Clues Local police officials had few leads and said they were still trying to identify those behind the killings. Among the visitors to Nadimarg was Yasin Malik, leader of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front and a leading separatist leader. He said he condemned the attack which he described as "barbaric". "There should be an impartial inquiry into the attack," he said. The separatists would offer their full support to such an inquiry, he said. But Chunni Lal is not impressed with the efforts. "We had approached the administration to strengthen the police presence in our village, because we felt insecure. "Nothing happened. But of course, now the whole cabinet will be here."

PTI 24 Mar 2003 US condemns massacre of Kashmiri Pundits Condemning the "ghastly" killing of 24 Kashmiri Pundits in Jammu and Kashmir, the United States on Monday said the Global War on Terrorism will not be won until such atrocities end against all countries. "The US condemns the ghastly murders of innocent men, women and children at Nadimarg village in Jammu and Kashmir...The Global War on Terrorism will not be won until such atrocities end against all countries," US Ambassador to India Robert D Blackwill said in a statement here. Extending heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families of the victims, Blackwill said "we look forward to the terrorists being brought swiftly to justice".


AP 13 Mar 2003 Indonesia Sentences General in East Timor Attacks By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS AKARTA, Indonesia, March 12 — An Indonesian general was sentenced today to five years in jail for failing to prevent two deadly attacks against civilians during East Timor's break with Indonesia in 1999. He is the highest-ranking officer to be convicted over the violence. The officer, Brig. Gen. Noer Muis, is among 18 Indonesian officials and militiamen who have been tried over the violence, which erupted before and after a United Nations-sponsored independence referendum on Aug. 30, 1999. The special human rights court in Jakarta has acquitted 12 defendants. Two lower-ranking officers and two civilians have been sentenced to prison terms ranging from 3 to 10 years. Two other trials are still in progress. Human rights activists have criticized the trials, saying they are intended to defuse an international drive to set up a United Nations war crimes trial for East Timor. General Muis, who was Indonesia's last military commander in East Timor, was accused of allowing pro-Jakarta militias in the town of Suai to attack a church in which 27 people died on Sept. 6, 1999. On the same day, the court said, the general stood by as hundreds of pro-Jakarta militiamen and police officers invaded the home of a Roman Catholic bishop, Carlos Belo. At least 15 civilians died in that attack. "The defendant did not kill anyone, but he failed to prevent and stop the attacks," Justice Adriani Nurdin told a human rights tribunal in Jakarta. "The defendant's action has resulted in many victims and has created a negative image of Indonesia in the eyes of the world." General Muis has consistently denied any wrongdoing and said he would appeal. That would allow him to remain free until the Supreme Court rules on his case. Like most of the officers on trial, the general has remained in the service. He now teaches a human rights course at the military's academy. Nearly 2,000 civilians were believed killed and 250,000 forced to flee their homes when troops and their militia proxies launched a campaign of terror aimed at forcing people to vote for continued union with Indonesia. East Timor gained full independence in May. .

Deutsche Presse Agentur 17 Mar 2003 Hundreds flee central Aceh, Indonesia's latest hotspot Jakarta (dpa) - Hundreds of Indonesian civilians have fled central Aceh since the withdrawal of international peace monitoring teams from the district earlier this month, human rights activists and international peace monitors said on Monday. About 300 of the refugees staged a protest Monday afternoon outside the Joint Security Council (JSC) in Banda Aceh, 1,750 kilometres northwest of Jakarta, saying they had been forced out of their homes in central Aceh by military-backed militia. They called on the JSC - set up earlier this year to enforce a peace agreement between the Indonesian government and Aceh separatists - to return to central Aceh, to restore security to the district. On Saturday a group of unidentified armed men reportedly attacked Burlintang village in central Aceh, killing two civilians who were burned to death when the assailants set fire to 12 cars and four motorcycles. While Indonesian military and police authorities quickly blamed the weekend attack on the Free Aceh Movement (GAM), a separatist movement that has been fighting for Aceh's independence since 1976, other sources said that it was difficult to know exactly the situation in central Aceh ever since international peace keepers were run out of the area by a military-backed mob earlier this month. ``It's tough to know what's going on in central Aceh, because we no longer have our monitors there,'' said David Gorman, Aceh-based representative of the Henry Dunant Centre (HDC) that helped broker a peace pact between the government and GAM on December 9. As part of the agreement the JSC - comprising of members of GAM, the Indonesian military and HDC - was set up to keep the peace and report on any ceasefire infringements. JSC's office in Takengon, central Aceh, was attacked on March 3 by a well-organized mob that ransacked their building, injured two peace monitors and sent the team packing back to Banda Aceh, Aceh's capital. Since the Takengon incident some 800 refugees have fled central Aceh, human rights activists said. ``The refugees are ethnic Acehnese,'' said Faisal Hadi, spokesman for the Coalition of Human Rights Non-Government Organizations in Aceh. Hadi said the refugees first fled their homes in July 2001, after conflicts broke out between them and a militia comprised of Javanese migrants who had been armed by the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI). The refugees returned to central Aceh in recent months after the JSC had set up its office in Takengon. ``When the JSC left, they said they were terrorized by the militia again,'' said Hadi, who put up 30 of the refugees in his office over the weekend. ``They've come back to Banda Aceh to see if the authorities can solve their problems,'' he said in a telephone interview with Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa. The Swiss-backed HDC is expected to announce the results of an investigation into who was behind the Takengon attack on Thursday. The attackers claimed that they were annoyed with the JSC because it had failed to protect them from extortion and kidnappings by GAM separatists. HDC has asked the Indonesian government to provide adequate security for international peace monitoring teams to allow them to return to Takengon to continue their work.

Jakarta Post 19 Mar 2003 Soldiers's legal team calls Theys's suspected killers "heroes" JAKARTA (Agencies): Legal team of seven soldiers on trial for the killing of a leading politician in independence-minded Papua province, described their clients as national heroes, therefore their clients were innocent and charges against them should be dropped, agencies reported on Tuesday. Military prosecutors have demanded prison terms ranging from two to three years for the assassins of Theys Eluay, a leading politician in the province of Papua on the western half of New Guinea island. Theys was found dead on Nov. 10, 2001, on the outskirts of the provincial capital Jayapura, just after attending a dinner hosted by the local special forces unit. In their plea before a military tribunal in Surabaya, East Java, the legal team said a guilty verdict would hurt the morale of the country's military. "They are heroes who have defended the state of Indonesia. For the sake of the law, we ask the tribunal to drop all the charges," Hotma Sitompul, one of the legal team, said as quoted by AP. Sitompul said prosecutors haven't proven their clients were responsible for Eluay's death. "The autopsy was performed without the presence of forensic experts," he said. "Legally, its findings cannot be used in court," he added. The soldiers, including unit commander Lt. Col. Hartomo, are being tried in two separate trials.

Jakarta Post 19 Mar 2003 Six pro-Jakarta militiamen arrested JAKARTA (Agencies): Military authorities in West Timor have arrested six pro-Jakarta militiamen for their alleged involvement in last month's ambush of a passenger bus in East Timor and other acts of violence, agencies reported. West Nusa Tenggara military command chief Maj. Gen. Agus Soeyitno said the six were arrested last Thursday and Saturday in Belu district, an Indonesian town bordering East Timor. "They are under intensive interrogation to determine their roles in East Timor violence. We are ready to hand them over to the East Timor authorities on condition that East Timor's government sends us an official request according to the existing procedures," Agus was quoted as saying by Antara. He said authorities confiscated one grenade from the suspects, who had confessed to dumping their rifles in the jungle. According to recent reports from East Timor, a group of nine gunmen ambushed a passenger bus in Atabae sub-district on Feb. 24, but the attack was foiled by members of the U.N. Peace Keeping Force (UNPKF).

AFP 31 Mar 2003 - Indonesian president to make working visit to Aceh JAKARTA, March 31 (AFP) - Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri will soon visit Aceh province where troops and separatist rebels are preparing to start the crucial demilitarisation phase of their peace pact, an official said Monday. Aceh Governor Abdullah Puteh said the visit would either take place in the first or second week of April. Megawati has said she wants to stay overnight but not in the provincial capital of Banda Aceh, he told reporters after meeting her. Puteh said she may stay overnight in West Aceh or Central Aceh. She is scheduled to meet local Muslim scholars and victims of the conflict and will deliver humanitarian aid. Thousands of Acehnese have fled their homes for other areas including the neighbouring province of North Sumatra, citing harassment by both camps. Megawati has made a settlement of the Aceh separatist war a priority of her government but has firmly ruled out the rebels' goal of independence. She last visited the province in Sumatra island in December, a week or so after the government and the Free Aceh Movement signed a ceasefire in the war which has claimed at least 10,000 lives since 1976. Puteh said clashes had continued in eight areas but overall security had much improved. Shops and businesses now stayed open later and the number of killings had fallen dramatically. A crucial five-month demilitarisation phase began on February 9. Peace monitors say the two sides are expected soon to exchange detailed demilitarisation plans. The rebels should place their weapons in secret designated sites while the government should relocate its troops to defensive positions and reformulate its Brimob paramilitary police into a normally functioning force.


HRW 1 Mar 2003 Human Rights Watch today called on the Egyptian authorities to arrest and prosecute two visiting senior Iraqi officials implicated in crimes of genocide, mass murder and torture. Related Material Prosecute Iraq's "Chemical Ali" HRW Press Release, January 17, 2003: “Izzat Ibrahim and Taha Ramadan, who are among Saddam Hussein's key associates, have been involved in some of Iraq's worst crime, including genocide. Egypt has a clear legal obligation to bring them to justice and the international community should back their prosecution." Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri, vice-chairman of Iraq's ruling Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) and deputy commander-in-chief of Iraq’s armed forces during Iraq's 1988 campaign of genocide against the country’s Kurdish population, is attending an Arab states’summit meeting in the Egyptian city of Sharm al-Sheikh scheduled to be held on Saturday, March 1. The Iraqi delegation also includes Iraq’s vice-president and long-time RCC member Taha Yassin Ramadan. “Izzat Ibrahim and Taha Ramadan, who are among Saddam Hussein's key associates, have been involved in some of Iraq's worst crime, including genocide," said Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch. "Egypt has a clear legal obligation to bring them to justice and the international community should back their prosecution." Egypt is obliged under international law to prosecute anyone on its soil responsible for genocide, torture, and serious violations of the laws of war. Who is Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri? Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri has been a leading figure in the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein since the mid-1970s when he served as Minister of Interior. For most of the period since 1979, when Saddam Hussein took over as president and head of the Revolutionary Command Council, Ibrahim has served as Deputy Chair of the RCC—effectively number two in the government. In 1988, he was also a member of the RCC's Northern Affairs Committee that, along with the Ba'th Party's Northern Bureau Command, was the administrative backbone for the genocidal Anfal campaign against Iraq's Kurdish population. The Northern Affairs Committee placed its seal on a June 20, 1987 directive, coded SF/4008, which called for "special strikes”—i.e., chemical attacks—“to kill the largest number of persons" in designated zones, as well as the capture and execution of all adults found in prohibited areas. The directive remained in force as the standing orders for Iraqi armed forces and security services throughout the Anfal campaign and beyond. Izzat Ibrahim was reported in the Washington Post on January 24, 1991, as warning the people of Sulaimaniyya, a major city in the Kurdish north, "if you have forgotten Halabja, I would like to remind you that we are ready to repeat the operation." Halabja was the Kurdish city that was the target of a major Iraqi chemical weapons assault on March 16, 1988 that killed as many as 5,000 residents. Who is Taha Yassin Ramadan? Taha Yassin Ramadan, formerly Taha Jazrawi, has been a member of the ruling RCC since 1969, shortly after the Ba’th Party took power in Iraq. In 1970 he sat on a special court that sentenced forty-two persons to immediate execution for their alleged roles in a coup attempt against the government. He later headed the Ba’th Party paramilitary force known as the Popular Army, which reportedly played an active role in suppressing the March 1991 popular uprising in southern Iraq. That campaign, brutal in the extreme, was characterized by numerous extrajudicial executions, widespread arbitrary detentions and subsequent “disappearances,” and routine torture. The Legal Basis for a Prosecution in Egypt According to the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to which Egypt is a state party, Egypt is under an international legal obligation to prosecute -- or to extradite for prosecution -- persons on its territory accused of torture, no matter where the torture was committed. Similarly, under the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which Egypt has ratified, its governments undertook to prevent and to punish acts of genocide. Finally, Egypt has ratified the 1949 Geneva Conventions, which prescribe that states parties must apprehend persons alleged to have committed war crimes, and bring such persons, regardless of their nationality, before their own courts. War crimes include willful killing, torture and inhuman treatment.

NYT 1 Mar 2003 The Pentagon Releases a Proposed List of War Crimes to Be Judged by Tribunals WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 — The Defense Department today released a proposed list of 24 crimes to be used by tribunals conducting trials for adversaries captured in the campaign against terrorism and held by the military. Categories in the document, which is titled "Crimes and Elements for Trials by Military Commission" and which is only a draft, include attacks on civilians, the taking of hostages, the use of poisons, the deployment of human shields, terrorism and rape. The Defense Department general counsel released the list for public comment, and officials said the Pentagon planned to release a final list of crimes in early March. A leading expert on the military legal system, Eugene R. Fidell, president of the National Institute of Military Justice, said the government had taken an important step in releasing the draft guidelines for public debate, rather than finalizing the list in private. Although the military commissions were created to deal with Taliban and Al Qaeda members, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said today that the rules could apply to Iraqi suspects who might come into United States military custody, should the president order America to war. The use of military commissions to prosecute terrorism suspects was approved by President Bush after the Sept. 11 attacks. The American military has in custody about 650 people captured during the war in Afghanistan or apprehended in counterterrorism missions around the world. The draft instructions, which would apply to non-Americans, list as crimes the willful killing of protected persons; attacking civilians, civilian objects or protected property; pillaging; taking hostages; and employing poison or similar weapons. Other crimes on the list include the use of protected persons or property as shields; mutilation or maiming; the use of treachery or perfidy; the improper use of the flag of truce or protective emblems; the degrading treatment of a dead body; and rape. Also on the proposed list are hijacking or hazarding a vessel or aircraft; terrorism; aiding the enemy; spying; perjury or false testimony; and obstruction of justice related to military commissions. Membership in Al Qaeda is not considered a crime, but the list includes "related offenses," like conspiracy and aiding or abetting, attempting, soliciting or ordering any of the 24 crimes mentioned.

NYT 1 Mar 2003 Experts See High Risk of Strife in Iraq if Hussein Is Deposed By IAN FISHER BAGHDAD, Iraq — With war creeping ever closer, American officials and even some of Iraq's Muslim neighbors may still hold out hope that President Saddam Hussein can be persuaded to step down or even that he will be toppled from power. But experts on Iraq say the chances that Mr. Hussein will leave, on his own or because of a coup, remain very remote. The Iraqi leader has appeared composed and shows no sign of any readiness to go or any nervousness at the extent of internal opposition. But if he does leave, the outcome may be messy, unpredictable and very violent as old scores, suppressed by the governing Baath Party for more than three decades, are settled. "You have to anticipate that there is a high risk" of violence, said Judith Yaphe, senior research fellow at the National Defense University in Washington. "A lot of it will depend on how much law and order is controlled as quickly as possible by whatever follows the day after. That will be critical." In case of war, the task of imposing order would almost certainly fall — at least in the immediate term — to an American general, an option that would not be popular even among the millions in this proud nation who harbor little love for Mr. Hussein. Short of that, many experts agree that it is hard to imagine what satisfying alternative can emerge within a government that has been kept in place for 24 years by Mr. Hussein's absolute power. At the top of a list of questions is whether any new government will pass muster for the kind of "regime change" that Washington says it is determined to see. Would a new government, unvanquished in war, be any more willing to give up forbidden weapons that the Bush administration says Iraq has? Could a democratic leader emerge in this deeply divided nation, which many Iraqis themselves believe requires a strong, even autocratic, leader to stay united? Who, even far down the ranks beneath Mr. Hussein, is untainted by the workings of a security apparatus that by any measure is one of the most pervasive in the world? While Mr. Hussein does rely on a cadre of competent technocrats, who have helped overcome the devastation of two wars and 12 years of international isolation, there are no voices of opposition, let alone opposition parties. Whatever the uncertainties, many leaders appear to have concluded that it is worth exploring means to oust Mr. Hussein from within if the alternative is all-out war. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has said that Mr. Hussein may be able to escape war crimes charges if he finds a safe haven in another country. "I think that that would be a fair trade to avoid a war," Mr. Rumsfeld said last month. But experts note that Mr. Hussein is a man concerned about his place in Arab history — citing the palaces, mosques and monuments rising around Baghdad as evidence — and that stepping down could be a fatal cut to his honor. In a nation where Mr. Hussein claimed to have won 100 percent of the vote in the last election, many Iraqis say he should not step down in the face of an invasion. "I think his character is almost the same as any Iraqis," said Abdulwahab al-Qassab, a political scientist at the University of Baghdad, who said most Iraqis would never consent to be ruled by foreigners. It is also hard to find anyone who will dare speculate what Iraq may look like after Mr. Hussein. But outside experts say the nightmare chain of events will be that the Baath Party will collapse quickly and completely and Iraq will tumble into civil war, with its deep divisions between the Kurds, Arabs, Sunni Muslims and Shiite Muslims. That possibility preyed on the minds of the administration of President Bush's father when it decided not to pursue the Persian Gulf war of 1991 to the point of ridding Iraq of Mr. Hussein. If the nation holds together without Mr. Hussein, experts do not rule out a period of extreme violence as groups vie for power and position. Others say that even if Mr. Hussein can be persuaded to go, he will try to leave power in the hands of one of his aides or his younger son, Qusay, 36. A recent report by the Congressional Research Service identified Izzat Ibrahim, vice chairman of the nation's top governing body, the Revolutionary Command Council, and Taha Yassin Ramadan, the country's first vice president, as other possible candidates. "This is a relatively problematic scenario for Washington," said Jeremy Binnie, Middle East editor of Jane's Sentinel, which analyzes the risks of conflicts around the world. "That doesn't constitute regime change. What the Americans will be looking for, if there is that kind of pushing out or coup, is to basically engage with the new regime to be sure that they would disarm." Most experts interviewed agree that it is unlikely that the Bush administration will accept any new leader from Mr. Hussein's inner circle. In fact, American officials have said that at least the top 12 officials in Mr. Hussein's ruling circle, whom they often call the "dirty dozen," should face war crimes trials in Iraq. The list includes Qusay Hussein and his older brother, Uday, as well as Mr. Ibrahim and Mr. Ramadan. Some experts and diplomats say the list was deliberately kept short to encourage officials just outside the inner circle to rebel, by alerting them to the possibility that the alternative may be death in war or trial afterward. But there have been many attempts at coups before, and all have been crushed. For his part, Mr. Hussein has never directly addressed in public the question of stepping aside. He has appeared on television often recently, rallying top army commanders and mingling with younger soldiers, as he vows to resist the "evil aggression" of the United States. But there was one recent tantalizing item in the English-language Iraq Daily. In a meeting with commanders, Mr. Hussein evoked the ancient legend of King Gilgamesh. The king, Mr. Hussein was paraphrased as saying, "gave up the helm and left his Senate leading the country till his coming back."

WP 4 Mar 2003 Kurds Ready Defenses For Arrival of Turks By Daniel Williams Washington Post Foreign Service Tuesday, March 4, 2003; Page A18 SALAHUDDIN, Iraq, March 3 -- Kurdish authorities are girding for a possible Turkish intervention in Iraq by deploying militiamen to key areas of northern Iraq and setting conditions for acceptance of any troops from Turkey in their region, Kurdish officials said today. The Turkish parliament's rejection of a U.S. request to base troops on its territory, in a vote held Saturday in Ankara, has not eased concern that Turkish troops will seize the opportunity presented by a U.S.-led invasion to occupy northern Iraq, Kurdish leaders said. The Kurds fear that Turkey, by intervening militarily in northern Iraq, will seek to join the United States as an arbiter of the Kurds' political future. Kurds have established an autonomous zone in northern Iraq under the protection of U.S. and British warplanes and have ruled themselves for more than a decade. Thousands demonstrated today in the city of Irbil against the possible entrance of Turkish forces into their region. They carried signs with such slogans as "Down With Turkey, Up With the United States" and "No to Turkey." A few miles away, Kurdish officials ended talks about Turkey's role and on their future in the event President Saddam Hussein is removed by a U.S. attack. Kurdish militias have been dispatched to mountain outposts and along roads in the north, looking out for any moves by Turkey, said Hoshyar Zubari, a top official of the Kurdistan Democratic Party. The KDP is one of two militia-backed parties that run northern Iraq. The KDP and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the other political-military force in the north, announced today that they have created joint security and political commands for the first time to face the threat from Turkey. "We have called up reservists and moved people around," Zubari said. "We are taking precautions." The Kurds have warned that a unilateral Turkish intervention would mean war. The KDP and PUK field militias numbering about 30,000 each, largely armed with assault rifles. The general population of about 3.5 million also is armed. Zubari and other Kurdish officials complained that the United States has kept them largely in the dark about plans for a Turkish intervention. The Kurds participated in a four-day conference of Iraqi opposition groups last week, during which Turkey was a main topic. President Bush's special envoy to the Iraqi opposition, Zalmay Khalilzad, also attended. The Kurds pressed for three-party talks among themselves, the United States and the Turks, but Turkey has not responded. The Kurds want a clear declaration from Turkey and the United States that Turkish forces would be part and parcel of a U.S.-led force to fight Hussein's army. In addition, they want the Turks under U.S. command. "If they are just coming in their own interests, to sit in northern Iraq, we will resist," Zubari said. "If they want to march on Baghdad, fine with us." Such conditions seem far from Turkish intentions. Turkish officials have said their troops will not fight Iraqi forces and intend, instead, to disarm the Kurds. All this appears to be a recipe for a Kurdish-Turkish conflict within the U.S. war with Iraq. Word of a proposed Turkish intervention has aroused passions among the Kurds. It is common to hear them say they prefer Hussein, despite his repeated assaults on them, to the Turks.

NYT Magazine 2 Mar 2003 Dreaming of Democracy By GEORGE PACKER Last summer, the State Department convened a number of Iraqi exiles to advise the United States government on the problems that Iraq would face after the fall of Saddam Hussein. It was called, rather grandly, the Future of Iraq Project. Among the topics was democracy, and among the Iraqis invited to join was a dissident named Kanan Makiya. He seemed a natural choice. In 1989, under the pseudonym Samir al-Khalil, Makiya published a book called ''Republic of Fear,'' which relentlessly dissected the totalitarian nature of Saddam's regime. The pseudonym wasn't a whim; in those years Iraq's overseas dissidents were frequently bumped off. Ignored upon publication, the book became a best seller the next year with the outbreak of the Persian Gulf war, and Makiya, the son of Iraq's most distinguished architect and a trained architect himself, was thrust into the turbulence of Middle Eastern politics. At the end of the war, during a forum at Harvard, the author revealed his identity for the first time and urged President George H.W. Bush to finish the job the war had left undone by getting rid of Saddam Hussein. Makiya's ideas cut deeply against the grain of Arab intellectual life and won him both powerful admirers and powerful enemies. But when the State Department's invitation came last year, Makiya balked. He assumed that the Future of Iraq Project wasn't serious. ''Some people in the government are talking democratic change,'' he told me recently, referring to the civilian hawks in the Pentagon, ''and there are other people who think that's all a pile of garbage. These others are in the State Department and the C.I.A. today. They are very powerful players.'' The history of the Iraqi opposition's relationship with the United States government is a tangled and unhappy one, leaving deep suspicions between and within them. Iraq is one of the most diverse countries in the Arab world, with a majority population of Shiite Arabs, who predominate in the south, as well as large minorities of Sunni Arabs in the center, Kurds in the north and smaller groups of Assyrians, Turkomans, Armenians and a surviving handful of Jews. This ethnic makeup explains some of the Iraqi opposition's notorious divisions, but the political differences are even more rancorous. And nothing Iraqis say about one another quite equals the vitriol of the feuding over Iraq within the American government. The Iraq question seems to exist on the far side of a looking glass where everyone turns into his opposite. The State Department and the C.I.A., considered the moderate wing of the Bush foreign policy apparatus, favor working through Iraq's traditional politics, which would mean removing Saddam but letting power stay with his ruling Baath Party, mainly minority Sunni Arabs. The State Department wants stability above all. Meanwhile, the hard-line hawks at the Pentagon and in the vice president's office, with their professed devotion to sweeping transformation in Iraq, want the transition to democracry to be led by the Western-oriented exiles grouped since 1992 under the loose umbrella of the Iraqi National Congress, whose chairman, Ahmad Chalabi, is close to Makiya. The battle is less between left and right than between realists and revolutionaries. It has simmered throughout the buildup to war, and it could haunt and possibly sabotage the postwar reconstruction. It makes an odd kind of sense that Makiya, 53, who was once a Trotskyist and supporter of radical Palestinian politics, has ended up as a liberal in the camp of neoconservative zealots, who see a democratic Iraq as a lever for moving the entire Arab world toward the West. In the end, Makiya decided to call the State Department's bluff -- to ''hoist them on their own petard.'' He joined the Future of Iraq Project's Democratic Principles Working Group, and along with a few allies from the exile community in Washington and London, he took over the writing of a detailed report on democracy after Saddam. There's something in it to offend everyone. The report proposes, among other radical ideas, a representative ''transitional authority'' chosen by Iraq's opposition exiles and ready to operate inside the country as the regime crumbles; the postwar demilitarization of Iraq; the dismantling of the Baath Party along the lines of German de-Nazification; war crimes trials and a truth commission; thoroughgoing secularism; a constitution in which individual and minority-group rights would be guaranteed in advance of local and then national elections, so that democracy does not lead to tyranny of the majority; a decentralized federal government in which the regions would be drawn along geographic rather than ethnic lines; and an end to ethnic identity as a basis for the state. As long as Iraq is defined as an Arab state, other ethnic groups, like Kurds and Assyrians, will continue to be second-class citizens. In Kanan Makiya's blueprint, Iraq would officially cease to be an Arab country. ''It's the architect in me,'' he says, nursing a cold over Japanese tea in Cambridge, Mass., where he lives. Makiya is a balding and somewhat disheveled Brandeis University professor of Middle East studies with a soft, intense manner. His office in a Cambridge apartment is lined with leatherbound books on Islamic history and literature. When his cellphone rings, he apologizes for having temporarily acquired one -- ''a disaster for a writer.'' The immediate world of waitresses and crosswalks constantly surprises Makiya out of his thoughts, which these days are elsewhere. This unlikely revolutionary is taking the huge gamble that by riding on the back of an American war, he can hold the Americans to their own talk and help direct the outcome. ''We've played a kind of game,'' he says. ''It's not a game, it's serious -- we've emerged with something very hard to disown even though it comes up with conclusions opposite to what the State Department wanted. They never wanted that kind of document in the first place.'' In December, Makiya went to London to present the report at a meeting of the hundreds of mullahs, monarchists, ex-officers, party bosses, businessmen, intellectuals and schemers who make up Iraq's fractious exiled opposition. In London I saw that the qualities that make Makiya a powerful thinker also make him a bad politician -- the most eloquent spokesman for Iraqi democracy and at times his own worst advocate. In the weeks since London the pressure on him has only grown, along with the difficulty of the task. The closer we get to war, the harder it is to believe that the liberal democracy Makiya envisions will be the outcome. The problem isn't just the Iraqis. It's also the Americans. No one knows what will happen when Saddam Hussein's death grip on his country is finally broken. Prediction is a dangerous business in politics generally, but in the case of Iraq, where since 1968 the only political activity that won't get you killed is unambiguous loyalty to the Baath Party, the future is especially opaque. For the past several months the country has been crawling with foreign journalists, yet the security apparatus is so extensive and terror so deeply internalized that most of what we know about Iraqis' unofficial thoughts is confined to facial expressions and buried meanings. When Makiya and two other Iraqis were invited to the Oval Office in January, he told President Bush that invading American troops would be greeted with ''sweets and flowers.'' More fancifully, Prof. Fouad Ajami, a Middle East scholar at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, predicts ''kites and boom boxes.'' A recent report compiled by the International Crisis Group, a policy organization based in Brussels, from secret interviews held in three Iraqi cities last fall gives perhaps the most thorough account of political thought in Iraq today, and it lends some support to the optimists. With unexpected homogeneity, Iraqis voiced an acceptance of the inevitability of war and a change of government. ''We have nothing to lose,'' one Iraqi said. According to the report, ''A significant number of those Iraqis interviewed, with surprising candor, expressed their view that if such a change required an American-led attack, they would support it.'' Though fear of a destructive war and anarchy afterward runs deep, ''the overwhelming sentiment among those interviewed was one of frustration and impatience with the status quo.'' But when it comes to the Iraqi landscape after the dictator's fall, the International Crisis Group report has more sobering news for those who imagine a swift transition to democracy. ''Thoughts about a post-Saddam Iraq remain extremely vague and inarticulate,'' it found. In the words of one Iraqi, ''We have become political dwarfs.'' Questions about successor regimes and federal democracy met with indifference. On the other hand, according to the report, the opposition in exile ''is viewed with considerable suspicion'' -- far more than a foreign occupier would be -- ''and the desire for a long-term U.S. involvement is higher than anticipated.'' When Saddam suddenly ordered the release of tens of thousands of prisoners from the notorious Abu Ghraib prison last fall, the surge of inmates from within the walls and family members from without overwhelmed prison guards and crushed a number of people to death at the very moment of freedom. Reporters who ventured into the bowels of the prison were struck by the appalling odors of long human confinement. When the seal on Iraq is broken, the surge will be just as intense, and the smell of decades of repression just as rank. ''With the removal of the dictator,'' says Thomas Carothers, a democracy expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, ''political life will begin immediately,'' and unless American troops are able to provide civil order while they hunt down weapons depots and resisting units of the Special Republican Guard, it will initially look more like vigilantism than party-building. Peter Galbraith, a professor at the National Defense University in Washington, says: ''As the American troops sweep north, they'll pass Basra in the early days. Presumably they won't go into the city. Then who's going to govern the city? Will there be another uprising? I think there's a good chance.'' In 1991, when Kurds in the north and Shiites in the south rose up against Saddam after his defeat in Kuwait, the score-settling and looting were so extreme that Makiya later wrote of a ''basic nihilistic impulse.'' Today, Iraqi Kurdistan, under the protection of an allied no-fly zone, has a flourishing civil society and the beginnings of democratic self-government. Peter Galbraith, who as a Senate aide in the late 1980's saw the effects of genocide in Kurdish villages and unsuccessfully tried to turn Reagan administration policy against Saddam, says: ''A unified and democratic Iraq is an oxymoron. The important point about the north is that the Iraqi identity is disappearing there.'' A breakaway Kurdistan is a long-term possibility; civil violence in the south is the more immediate threat. The Shiites there have been especially persecuted by Saddam since their 1991 uprising was put down with tens of thousands of deaths. Joseph Braude, a young Iraqi-American whose book ''The New Iraq'' will be published this month, says that the impoverished Shiite south is ''not an existential threat to the map of Iraq. It's more of a terrible social challenge of Iraqi society.'' The distribution of wealth, more than the ethnic division of power, he says, will determine whether there will ever be social peace in Iraq. Iraq's Shiites -- the most disenfranchised group, with the freshest grievances and the strongest claim on a share of power -- will challenge the policing and diplomatic skills of an army of occupation after the flowers, sweets, kites and boom boxes disappear. Patrick Clawson, deputy director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and editor of the book ''How to Build a New Iraq After Saddam,'' thinks that Iraq's disintegration into ethnic pieces is less of a threat than a series of ''revolving-door coups,'' and for that reason the United States military should keep intact elements of Iraq's army to maintain order and even join a new government. To the crucial questions of who will take power after Saddam and for how long, the administration has been loath to give a public answer. For months, a surprisingly public argument has raged between the State Department and the Pentagon over the shape of Iraq after a war. People close to the administration's decision-making about the postwar period describe a confused, largely day-to-day process, in contrast with the disciplined long-term planning for the war itself. In the Pentagon version, Iraqi exiles would form a provisional government prepared to take power under American protection. The State Department, which intensely dislikes the Iraqi National Congress and its chairman, Ahmad Chalabi, has done everything possible to block this possibility and either encourage a coup or plan for the American military to run Iraq for months or years until it would gradually hand over power to Iraqis. Chalabi is a banker with an aristocratic manner and a controversial reputation who has devoted a considerable part of his fortune and the past decade of his life to building up the Iraqi National Congress, which is based in London. He elicits strong reactions of admiration or contempt in Washington. David L. Phillips, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who worked closely with the State Department on its Future of Iraq Project, says, ''If Ahmad Chalabi walked down a street in Baghdad today, nobody would recognize him.'' In the view of the State Department's Middle East hands, there's something inauthentic about Iraqi exiles, soaked for years in nostalgia, grand ideas and impotence. Some of them haven't set foot in Baghdad for more than three decades; Makiya left to attend M.I.T. in 1968, the year the Baath Party seized total power, and has lived in Cambridge or London ever since. Condoleezza Rice, to whom both American factions have appealed as an arbiter, told one Iraqi, referring to Poland's World War II-era self-proclaimed government-in-exile, ''The trouble with the Iraqi opposition is they're like the London Poles.'' But the Pentagon hawks and their neoconservative allies argue just as passionately that the exiles are the only Iraqis capable of forming a government, all political life inside Iraq having long since been extinguished. In this view, State's scorn for the Iraqi National Congress amounts to a disbelief in Arab democracy. It now seems that the State Department has won this fight. As Peter Galbraith suggested, half in jest, the Pentagon will get its war and State will get its postwar. In mid-February, administration officials finally announced plans for an American military government to run the country for at least two years, guaranteeing security and overseeing the reconstruction of Iraq and the election of an Iraqi government. Baath Party officials would be removed from the top levels of the bureaucracy, but those a notch down would be kept on to work with their American superiors. Gen. Tommy Franks of the United States Central Command would take a job that the Pentagon never wanted to exist, acting as a sort of discreet and colorless MacArthur. Iraq's exiles would be the losers, relegated to seats on an advisory council to be shared with American-picked Iraqis from inside the country. This proposed course of action, played down for months by the administration, suggests that in the absence of a strong coalition of countries, a largely American war will be followed by a largely American peace. There are other projections for what might take place -- ones that follow the law of unintended consequences. The Turkish Army occupies northern Iraq to prevent an independent Kurdistan on its border, prompting Turkish and Iraqi Kurds to join forces against the Turks and Iraqi Turkomans. The Kurds refuse to rejoin the country that once tried to exterminate them unless federalism gives them control over the oil reserves of Kirkuk. The two Kurdish parties resume the fighting that broke out between them in 1996. The Iranian hard-liners, realizing that Iraq's territorial integrity has become a theoretical matter, take the opportunity to finish off the opposition mujahedeen across the border. Shiite mullahs, finding themselves locked out of power again, resist American authority and form antioccupation militias. A Sunni officer in the Iraqi Army pulls off an 11th-hour coup, declares himself friendly to the United States and stops the process cold. Makiya calls this last ''my greatest fear.'' In Arabic, ''Iraq'' means ''well-rooted country,'' which suggests the kind of promotional thinking that makes urban planners christen a concrete housing project ''Metropolitan Gardens.'' The country was assembled at Versailles after World War I out of three former Ottoman provinces and handed over by the League of Nations in 1920 to be a British mandate, breaking the promise of postwar independence that T.E. Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia, had made to Britain's Arab allies. But the British found this unruly concoction of peoples more trouble to govern than it was worth, even with Lawrence's friend King Faisal I on the throne, and in 1932 Iraq became an independent constitutional monarchy, though the imperial power didn't leave without securing favorable oil concessions. Within four years Iraq gave the Arab world its first modern coup. After that, the violence never really stopped, with coups, ethnic pogroms and massacres among political parties. (The Arab Baath movement emerged in World War II as a pro-Nazi group.) But the most turbulent decade followed the overthrow of the constitutional monarchy in 1958. One military regime was toppled by the next. In 1968 the Arab Baath Socialist Party finally consolidated power, destroying its opponents among the Communists and the other Arab nationalists. Saddam, the head of internal security, quickly acquired de facto power but assumed the presidency only in 1979 amid a bloody purge. Chaos gave way to dictatorship, two ruinous foreign wars and the Kurdish genocide. Iraqis today, depending on their age, express deep nostalgia either for the cosmopolitan Baghdad of the years before the Jews were made to flee upon the creation of Israel; or for the constitutional monarchy before the 1958 coup; or for the oil-rich years of the 1970's. But while Iraq might once have been stable or wealthy or tolerant, it was never really democratic. Makiya first got to know Ahmad Chalabi when they sat together on an airplane and Makiya was impressed to find the chairman of the Iraqi National Congress reading a thick tome on the reconstruction of postwar Germany. But anyone seeking historical lessons for a democratic Iraq has to face the fact that Germany before Hitler was liberal compared with Iraq before Saddam. This bloody history has produced a hopeful new idea. Call it Iraqi exceptionalism. It's the idea that Iraqis have suffered so intensely under a radical nationalist regime that they are by now immune to the anti-Western rhetoric that remains potent in the rest of the Arab world. Iraqis crushed by Saddam's brand of Arab nationalism do not see America and Israel as their eternal enemies. The real enemy is the one within. This thinking took hold of Makiya during the Iran-Iraq war. He left his father's London architectural practice when Mohamed Makiya began to receive commissions from Saddam to rebuild Baghdad in monumental fashion; he threw himself into the research for ''Republic of Fear.'' It changed him from a revolutionary Marxist to a liberal democrat. He began to think outside the dominant lines of Middle Eastern ideologies: rather than an anti-imperialist resistance leader, he became a dissident in the Eastern European way, diagnosing the pathology of homegrown tyranny. ''It wasn't the United States, it was Iraqis and Iranians who were bleeding themselves to death,'' he told me. ''This sense that the malaise was principally in my world, and not principally in the United States, was the seismic shift in my politics.'' The implications of the shift are far-reaching, for the lens through which most of the Arab world views Israel and America might no longer fit Iraq. Without denying the justice of the Palestinian cause, Makiya says, Arabs shouldn't regard it as the key to solving regional problems. The crucial issue is no longer national liberation, but democracy based on human rights. These ideas came to a head during the gulf war, when most of the Arab world supported Saddam. ''Republic of Fear,'' copies of which had been smuggled into Iraq, made Makiya famous among his countrymen, and after the war, when he traveled through the Kurdish region to film a BBC documentary, ''Saddam's Killing Fields,'' Iraqis sought him out to tell their stories of the genocide and the bloody repression of the 1991 uprisings. If Makiya had simply collected them in his next book and called it ''Cruelty,'' he wouldn't have become a lightning rod in the Arab world. But his anger at the Arab intelligentsia's complacency before Saddam's crimes was burning too high, and ''Cruelty and Silence,'' which came out in 1993, was not a cool meditation but a cri de coeur that named names. ''There can be no more romance and no more false heroics in the Arab world,'' Makiya wrote. ''There is only the legacy of pain which must be grappled with by a new language and in a new style.'' Not surprisingly, the idea of Iraqi exceptionalism has brought denunciation from many Arab quarters, including the leading Arab intellectual in the West, the literary critic Edward Said. Writing in an Arabic newspaper in December, Said, who teaches at Columbia University, accused Makiya of being an inauthentic Arab and of selling himself to American imperialism and Zionism out of sheer vanity. For Said, a Palestinian who sees the Israeli occupation as the primary problem of the Middle East, Makiya has made himself the tool of Israel's right wing and of America's interest in Arab oil. This fight is far more than personal: it suggests an intellectual turning point in the history of Arab politics. One striking feature of Iraqi exceptionalism is the attitude toward Jews. Before their exodus in the early 1950's, Jews made up an estimated one-third of Baghdad's highly diverse population. Among certain exiles, Jewish music and culture have become part of the lore of pre-Baathist Iraq. The Iraqi National Congress newspaper Al Mutamar recently published an article by an Israeli writer and articles about Iraqi Jewish poetry. A London coffee-shop owner named Dia Kashi went so far as to travel to Israel, meet with Iraqi Jews and help found the Iraqi-Israeli Friendship Committee. Several Jews were invited as delegates to the London opposition conference. The champions of Iraqi exceptionalism include the neoconservatives in the administration -- Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith at the Pentagon; John Bolton at the State Department; Lewis Libby in the vice president's office; Richard Perle, who is chairman of the Defense Policy Board, a panel that advises the Pentagon -- and numerous scholars, columnists and activists, most of them identified with the pro-Israel American right. In recent weeks, President Bush himself has appeared to embrace the idea as a geopolitical rationale for war. The story being told goes like this: The Arab world is hopelessly sunk in corruption and popular discontent. Misrule and a culture of victimhood have left Arabs economically stagnant and prone to seeing their problems in delusional terms. The United States has contributed to the pathology by cynically shoring up dictatorships; Sept. 11 was one result. Both the Arab world and official American attitudes toward it need to be jolted out of their rut. An invasion of Iraq would provide the necessary shock, and a democratic Iraq would become an example of change for the rest of the region. Political Islam would lose its hold on the imagination of young Arabs as they watched a more successful model rise up in their midst. The Middle East's center of political, economic and cultural gravity would shift from the region's theocracies and autocracies to its new, oil-rich democracy. And finally, the deadlock in which Israel and Palestine are trapped would end as Palestinians, realizing that their Arab backers were now tending their own democratic gardens, would accept compromise. By this way of thinking, the road to Damascus, Tehran, Riyadh and Jerusalem goes through Baghdad. The idea is sometimes referred to as a new domino theory, with tyrannies collapsing on top of one another. Among the harder heads at the State Department, I was told, it is also mocked as the Everybody Move Over One theory: Israel will take the West Bank, the Palestinians will get Jordan and the members of Jordan's Hashemite ruling family will regain the Iraqi throne once held by their relative King Faisal I. At times this story is told in the lofty moral language of Woodrow Wilson, the language that President Bush used religiously in his State of the Union address. Others -- both advocates and detractors -- tell the story in more naked terms of power and resources. David Frum, the former Bush speechwriter who wrote the first two words in the phrase ''axis of evil,'' argues in his new book, ''The Right Man,'' ''An American-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein -- and a replacement of the radical Baathist dictatorship with a new government more closely aligned with the United States -- would put America more wholly in charge of the region than any power since the Ottomans, or maybe the Romans.'' It's an audacious idea, and part of its appeal lies in the audacity. It shoves history out of a deep hole. To the idea's strongest backers, status-quo caution toward the sick, dangerous Middle East is contemptible, almost unbearable. ''You have to start somewhere,'' says Danielle Pletka, a vice president of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative research group. ''There are always a million excuses not to do something like this.'' Who wouldn't choose amputation over gangrene? If we have the will and imagination, the thinking goes, we can strike one great blow at terrorism, tyranny, underdevelopment and the region's hardest, saddest problem. "It's called magical realism, Middle East-style,'' says Thomas Carothers of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Exactly how, he wonders, would this chain reaction occur? Arab countries are stuck between autocratic governments and Islamist opposition, he says, and ''our invasion of Iraq isn't going to remove those political forces. They're going to be sitting there the next day.'' The war, which is vastly unpopular in the Arab world, is far more likely to improve the fortunes of the Islamists, he says, and provoke governments to tighten their grip, than to ventilate the region with an Arab spring. The chances of democracy succeeding even in Iraq under American occupation are highly questionable, Carothers argues. War seldom creates democracy; according to a recent article in The Christian Science Monitor, of the 18 regime changes forced by the United States in the 20th century, only 5 resulted in democracy, and in the case of wars fought unilaterally, the number goes down to one -- Panama. Democracy takes root from within, over a long period of time, in conditions that have never prevailed in Iraq. For democracy to have a chance there would require a lengthy and careful American commitment to nation-building -- which could easily look to Iraqis and other Arabs like colonialism. Nor can we be sure that democracy, in Iraq or elsewhere, will lead to pro-American regimes; it might lead to the opposite. ''The idea that there's a small democracy inside every society waiting to be released just isn't true,'' Carothers says. ''If we're pinning our hopes on the idea that this will lead to a democratic change throughout the region, then we're invading for the wrong reason.'' Jessica T. Mathews, president of the Carnegie Endowment, adds, '''We've suffered so much that the only alternative is democracy' -- as soon as you say it, you realize there's a mile between the beginning and end of that sentence.'' One premise of the strategic rationale for war is that Arab public opinion -- the resentment turning to fury that will probably greet an American invasion -- doesn't matter, because it is wrong, even delusional. ''America,'' Fouad Ajami writes, ''ought to be able to live with this distrust and discount a good deal of this anti-Americanism as the 'road rage' of a thwarted Arab world -- the congenital condition of a culture yet to take full responsibility for its self-inflicted wounds.'' I ran these notions by Hussein Ibish, the Lebanese-born communications director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. He pointed out that some Arab views, especially about the Palestinians, are based on reality, not manipulated paranoia, and that anyone genuinely interested in Arab democracy had better take the popular will into account, delusional or not. If, on the other hand, Iraq is to be turned back into a colonial mandate as it was 80 years ago, inching toward ''Heart of Darkness,'' as Ibish said, we should openly admit that the anticolonial values of the intervening decade are being cast aside. ''How do you think this discussion will sound translated into Arabic and broadcast on Al Jazeera?'' he asked. ''This war will only reinforce the Arab feeling of humiliation and impotence. It could be a giant television commercial for Al Qaeda.'' As Arab regimes try to weather popular discontent, they will be far happier with the State Department's postwar scheme for regional stability than with the Pentagon hawks' notions about regional transformation -- especially if Iraq's oil is used by the Americans to rebuild Iraq and not to undermine OPEC. Iran, which has taken a surprisingly benign view of the war gathering on its horizon, might change its mind once American troops settle into Iraq for the long haul and events across the border make themselves felt among Iranian reformers. France and Russia, with their extensive interests in Iraqi oil and other contracts, might sit out the war but cut to the front of the line during the reconstruction to claim their share of the spoils. America's closest ally in the neighborhood, Turkey, with its troops in Iraq's north possibly provoking a Kurdish revolt, could turn out to be the most problematic player of all. Except, of course, for the Iraqis and the Americans themselves. The London Hilton Metropole is a garish hotel near Paddington Station, and over a December weekend it seemed that most of Iraq's three million to four million exiles were there, in turbans and robes, in kaffiyehs, in English-cut business suits, huddled in conspiratorial-looking groups, clutching cellphones to ears. Among them Makiya was an anomalous sight, looking rumpled in shirtsleeves, baggy corduroys and all-weather shoes, his face clean-shaven. (One Iraqi told me that the country's next president must either be a woman or a man without a mustache.) The politicos from the Kurdish, Shiite and ex-military parties complained that Makiya's casual appearance lacked respect. The rumored contents of his report, copies of which most of them hadn't yet received, troubled them, too. Worst of all was the bluntness with which Makiya and some of his young, Western-educated allies in the Iraqi National Congress were talking about the need to move beyond the ''old politics'' of the ethnic parties, which had all been born in the image of the Baath. Before the conference, American officials made it clear that they were opposed to any votes being taken in London; no transitional government would be elected, no report on democracy approved. The State Department had won out. Just before the conference began, Makiya sat down in a cafe across from the British Museum to survey the damage with Salim Chalabi, a London lawyer and nephew of Ahmad Chalabi, who had helped draft the document. ''They want to come out of this as one big happy family,'' Makiya said of the traditional parties. ''They want to show unity and support for the Americans. I want to win something concrete.'' He wanted the Iraqi opposition to commit itself to a proposal and make itself relevant before the shooting started and the logic of war took its course. ''But I'm afraid we're fighting a losing battle.'' Chalabi told Makiya that his outspokenness was hurting his own cause. Makiya is an old friend of the Kurds; in addition to having made the documentary ''Saddam's Killing Fields,'' he directs Harvard's Iraq Documentation Project, which is organizing and translating millions of documents left behind by the Baath Party as records of the genocide. But the Kurdish parties at the conference were vehemently opposed to the proposal for a nonethnic federation in Iraq. They had fought hard to gain recognition and equal status with the Arabs, and they were not going to relinquish it easily. The views of the Shiites on the section dealing with secularism had not been solicited. The Sunnis were less represented than anyone. There had been a lack of inclusiveness. Makiya agreed -- but he couldn't help adding: ''I've begun to hate the word 'inclusive' here. I know it's going to mean the lowest common denominator. Nothing will be said that means anything.'' Makiya was sweating, the lines deepening in his high forehead. The conference, the months of work, the political storm that always swirled around him, seemed to be placing him under an intolerable strain. Finally he relented. ''O.K., what should we do?'' he asked. ''You have to play it more like a game,'' Chalabi said. He suggested emphasizing the points on which there was agreement, like human rights, and muting the controversial ones. He urged Makiya to lower his profile. On the first day of the conference, at a press briefing, Makiya sat alongside Ahmad Chalabi and a few others, content to listen. But when a reporter asked him a question, he leaned forward and said: ''The report carries forward a completely new idea that doesn't exist in the Arab-Muslim world. This is something tremendous, something unbelievable. We're talking above all of an idea of democracy that isn't only majority rule -- an idea of democracy that is about minority rights and above all individual rights.'' He added: ''This is a fighting document, by the way. We intend to fight for it on the floor of the conference.'' I had seen it before: when Makiya spoke, the energy in the room became focused. Afterward a swarm of reporters gathered around him. Into the room walked a furious Hoshyar Zebari, a leading official of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, whose own press conference had been sparsely attended. Later, I asked Zebari about the document and about Makiya. Zebari smiled through his answer, but he kept thumping me in the chest as he spoke. ''We are rooted in the country, we are the ones who have suffered,'' he said. ''What Kanan Makiya has done, I appreciate his intellectual work, but it's just an intellectual exercise.'' Makiya, I suggested, was trying to give it teeth. ''He's the only one,'' said an American who was hovering around the conversation. It was David L. Phillips, who had worked with the State Department on the Future of Iraq Project. ''The report is not a political document -- it's not a blueprint. If it becomes one it will be divisive.'' Phillips later expressed sharp anger at Makiya for hijacking the writing of the report and then lobbying so hard for its provisions. Back in Washington, officials thanked the Democratic Principles Working Group for its advice and shelved the report that the State Department had solicited. Makiya had called their bluff, and now they were calling his. The London conference ended with expressions of unity and vague support for that thing called democracy in Iraq; Makiya was named to a 65-member transitional coordinating committee. But the report of the Democratic Principles Working Group, printed and bound with hundreds of pages of appendices and dissents, was never officially discussed. It struck me as inauspicious that of all the committees in the Future of Iraq Project -- on water, electricity, agriculture and a host of other topics -- only the committee on democracy was deemed a failure. he longer you try to look at Iraq on the morning after Saddam, the more you see the truth of what many people told me: getting rid of him will be the easy part. After that, the United States will find itself caught in a series of conundrums that will require supreme finesse: to liberate without appearing to dominate, to ensure order without overstaying, to secure its interests without trampling on Iraq's, to oversee democratization without picking winners, to push for reforms in the neighborhood without unleashing demons. It's hard to know whether to be more worried by the State Department's complacency or by the Pentagon civilians' zealotry. On the day that Saigon fell in 1975, the British writer James Fenton found a framed quotation on a wall of the looted American embassy: ''Better to let them do it imperfectly than to do it perfectly yourself, for it is their country, their way, and your time is short.'' The words are from T.E. Lawrence. Vietnam remains the shadow over every American war, but never more than the one we're poised to fight, for no war since Vietnam has professed greater ambitions: to change the political culture of a country, maybe a whole region. Ever since Woodrow Wilson worked to put democracy and self-determination on the agenda at Versailles, this strain of high-mindedness in the American character has drawn the world's admiration and its scorn. In Graham Greene's novel ''The Quiet American,'' which was recently released as a film, the title character is a young idealist sent to Vietnam in the early 1950's to find a democratic ''Third Force'' between the French and the Communists. The book's narrator, a jaded British journalist, remarks, ''I never knew a man who had better motives for all the trouble he caused.'' Americans have never been very good at imperialism, or much interested in it; we're too innocent, too impatient, too intoxicated with our own sense of selfless purpose. Several Iraqis expressed the wish that their occupiers could be the British again, who took the trouble to know them so much better, who wrote whole books on the Marsh Arabs and the flora and fauna of Kuwait. Afghanistan lost America's attention as soon as Kandahar fell, and it remains unfinished business. As for Iraq, Jessica Mathews of the Carnegie Endowment, says, ''Our country is not remotely prepared for what this is going to take.'' If so, the fault mainly lies with President Bush. His articulation of political aims and postwar plans has been sketchy to the point of empty cliche. He has never discussed the human costs of war, nor its price. The Yale economist William D. Nordhaus estimates the military expenditure between $50 billion and $140 billion; far more daunting, his study finds, the postwar costs to the United States of occupying and rebuilding Iraq, along with the impact on oil markets and the economy, could run as high as $2 trillion. This is a calculation that no one in the administration has dared to make, at least publicly. Privately, some officials suggest that Iraqi oil will pay for it. More than anything, the president hasn't readied Americans psychologically to commit themselves to a project of such magnitude, nor has he made them understand why they should. He has maintained his spirit of hostility to nation-building while reversing his policy against it. Bush is a man who has never shown much curiosity about the world. When he met with Makiya and two other Iraqis in January, I was told by someone not present, the exiles spent a good portion of the time explaining to the president that there are two kinds of Arabs in Iraq, Sunnis and Shiites. The very notion of an Iraqi opposition appeared to be new to him. War has turned Bush into a foreign-policy president, but democratizing an Arab country will require a subtlety and sophistication that have been less in evidence than the resolve to fight. I asked John W. Dower, a history professor at M.I.T. and author of a Pulitzer Prize-winning book about the American occupation of Japan, to compare that project with the democratization of Iraq. The difference between Japan and Iraq is great enough, he answered; the difference between America in 1945 and 2003 is even greater. ''We do not have the moral legitimacy we had then, nor do we have the other thing that was present when we occupied Japan -- the vision of the American public that we would engage in serious and genuinely democratic nation-building and that we would do this in the context of an international order.'' Even Fouad Ajami, a strong believer in the war's potential for regional reform, told me: ''The country is depressed, psychologically and economically. There is no great calling toward planting our truth in Mesopotamia. The war will have an ideological claim, but tempered by the difficulty of Iraq, by the fact that we don't know this land.'' The unease among Americans, even those who support the president, about the war and its aftermath is certainly due to fear of unknown consequences. It might also come from the sense that we're trying to have it both ways -- guns and butter, war without sacrifice, intervention without commitment. If Iraq succeeds in becoming a democracy under American protection, it will represent the triumph of hope over experience for both countries. It's a notion that I always found easier to imagine when I was within earshot of Kanan Makiya. n mid-January, Makiya emerged from his meeting at the Oval Office to declare himself ''deeply reassured'' by the president's dedication to Iraqi democracy. Within a few days Makiya had flown to Tehran with Ahmad Chalabi and a few other Iraqi National Congress members to hold talks with Iraqi Shiite leaders. At the end of January, under the protection of Iranian security, they crossed the snow-covered mountains into northern Iraq. One recent morning, Makiya called me from Sulaimaniya, in Iraqi Kurdistan. He and the Kurds had patched up their differences, and one of the two Kurdish parties -- the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan -- had embraced the principle of nonethnic federalism. ''The opposition is trying to get its act together, basically,'' he said. When the United States revealed a few weeks ago its intent to impose a military government after the war, Makiya took the news as a betrayal. ''It is Baathism with an American face,'' he declared. In his view, the odds for democracy have never looked longer, and he now wonders aloud if his harshest critics, who accused him of naivete and worse, will be proved right after all. The exiles who gathered in late February to hold a second conference in northern Iraq won't declare a provisional government against American wishes, Makiya told me, but they are trying to forge an Iraqi leadership that will be capable of forming one after the war sweeps through. What Makiya is trying to do is think his way out of Iraq's blood-stained history. After the gulf war, when he and other dissidents drafted what they called ''Charter 91,'' outlining principles of tolerance for a new Iraq, Makiya received a severe letter from an old friend that he was willing to reprint in ''Cruelty and Silence'': ''I think -- and please allow me to tell you this -- that the ideas of the Charter issue from an ivory tower which has elevated itself so high up into the sky that we who are standing down below can hardly see or hear where they are coming from. You see, our society today has become like '1984.' There is no one who remembers or who even dares to remember the meaning of words like 'freedom,' 'democracy,' 'brotherhood' or 'humanity.' They no longer know what 'human rights' are. I mean, what does this have to do with them! . . . Their only preoccupation is to survive and to live, like sheep.'' It's possible that Makiya's ideas are too lofty to stand a chance of being realized soon. David L. Phillips may be right to say that ''Iraqis aren't quite ready for the new politics. The tribal structures, the ethnic groupings -- they matter to Iraqis. They're important. This isn't a university laboratory.'' It's also possible that Makiya was foolish ever to imagine American cooperation with his exile dreams, and that he is out of his element in the dangerous labyrinth of Iraqi power politics. Meanwhile, ahead of the war, an Arabic translation of the report is being smuggled from Iraqi Kurdistan into Baghdad in miniature editions disguised as cigarette cartons. ''The document is just paper at the end of the day,'' Makiya told me one snowy evening at his Cambridge apartment. ''One of the less grandiose impulses behind it was this: there's a world of people out there deeply, deeply skeptical about whether or not this country can make it to democracy. And I know deep down that they have good reason to be skeptical. I'm not really as rosy, I'm not as naive as sometimes I appear on this question. But it seems to me, for history's sake, important to have a group of Iraqis turn out a decent document that can be taken seriously, that will be picked up and remembered and churned over and used as some kind of a test, some kind of a yardstick against which to measure the progress of things afterward. And it was, after all, produced by Iraqis -- so that Iraqis can lift their heads up a bit and go out there in the world and say: 'We meant it. It wasn't all a word game. Some of us tried to give it a shot.''' George Packer is the author, most recently of ''Blood of the Liberals''

WP 5 Mar 2003 The Kurds in Northern Iraq Cling to Their 'Experiment' Independence Imperiled by Threat of War By Karl Vick and Daniel Williams Washington Post Foreign Service Wednesday, March 5, 2003; Page A01 SULAYMANIYAH, Iraq -- Qadir Mala Khadhir is standing in the doorway of his stall in the central market, in front of wardrobes, end tables and bedsprings no one is buying. His business is off, war looms, his car is gone and his family is packed into one jumbled room. But on balance, he said, life is getting better all the time. "Of course it's better," said the used-furniture salesman, recalling a time before the Kurds of northern Iraq enjoyed relative autonomy, as they do today. "Even if there was no water to drink, the situation would be better than before 1991." In the dozen years since one-sixth of the Iraqi population began a new life in the northern mountains, they have built a quasi-state within a state, protected by U.S. and British fighter patrols. Now, with war again on the horizon, Kurds are pondering whether their independence will last. The Kurdish zone is not sovereign, nor is it ruled by any of the surrounding states that have frustrated Kurdish ambitions for centuries. It extends from the mountains on Iraq's northern border to an armed front line where the government of President Saddam Hussein assumes control. Three and a half million ethnic Kurds here revel in what their leaders call a scale model of the Middle Eastern democracy that President Bush says he wants to see rise in post-Hussein Iraq. "The Kurdish experiment," as it has come to be known here, boasts an elected parliament, a free if careful press and a feeling of independence that eases the hardship and virtual isolation. "I don't want to lose this," said Khadhir. The Kurds have been protected in their northern enclave since their failed revolt against Hussein in 1991, when Iraqi helicopter gunships forced tens of thousands of Kurds to flee toward Turkey. The creation of a "no-fly" zone in the north allowed the Kurds to return to a haven that has flourished in the past decade. Kurds applaud any military campaign to unseat Hussein, whose forces gassed, shot and bulldozed about 100,000 Kurds 15 years ago, according to estimates by human rights groups. "He's the murderer of Kurds," said Azad Mohammed, trimming a sheet of tin in his shop. At the same time, however, Kurds fret aloud that a new war will put their fragile golden age in jeopardy. Their autonomy could be doomed either by the whims of a new Baghdad government or the meddling of Turkish forces who threaten to enter from across the border, even if U.S. forces do not. Kurdistan may be a less-than-official version of the real thing, like MaDonal, the premier fast-food palace on the bustling main street here. But it is more than the Kurds have ever had, and they find it immensely satisfying. "We are in the beginning of a renaissance for the Kurdish people," said Sherko Abdullah, editor of the satirical monthly Sekhurma, which means nudge. "It's not a gift from anyone, this situation. And I personally believe the U.S.A. understands how we've been treated in the past." In Irbil, an ancient city of more than a million on the edge of the vulnerable plain to the south, booksellers offer a map of the ultimate dream: "Kurdistan," a mythical country extending from the Mediterranean coast of Syria east to Iran, north into Turkey and south toward the middle of Iraq. But the reality of the Kurdish zone today is more limited -- 17,000 square miles, mostly in the Zagros Mountains, to which Kurdish guerrilla fighters retreated often over the last century while trying in vain for something grander. Kurds may be a nation in almost every sense of the word; the estimated Kurdish population of 25 million spread around the region is united by language, culture and a stubborn history of fighting for self-determination. But the Kurds have never had a state. And the collective desire for one is a force that complicates the Bush administration's best-laid plans for war. Turkey, fearing such a Kurdish state, may send tens of thousands of troops into northern Iraq. Turkey's population of 12 million Kurds is the world's largest, and separatists among them waged a 15-year insurgency against Turkey; 30,000 people were killed before it ended in 1999. A nascent Kurdish republic on Turkey's doorstep might revive the conflict, the Turks say. Turkey's fear of Kurdish nationalism runs so deep it denies that Kurds exist -- in Turkey, they were long called "mountain Turks." Kurds, for their part, regard the Turks as an enemy the equal of Saddam Hussein, if not worse. "When Saddam kills us, he kills us as Kurds. The Turks consider us dead already," said Barzan Ishmael, a Kurdish militiaman in the northern town of Dahuk, which is governed by the Kurdistan Democratic Party, one of two groups that administer the northern zone. Both groups warn that a Turkish incursion would incite a prolonged war in the mountains, just as the United States is trying to fight one elsewhere. At the same time, Iraqi Kurds insist that they have learned their lesson. After losing every fight they have ever started, Kurdish leaders say they have deferred their aspirations to independence. They insist they will remain part of a new democratic Iraq built on a federal model that preserves vital elements of their autonomy. "We have no option," said Barham Salih, prime minister of the part of the Kurdish zone governed by the other major group, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. "If you can't beat 'em, you might as well join 'em." The city of Dahuk, 50 miles south of the Turkish border, is a modest showcase for Kurdish achievements. It boasts the largest supermarket in northern Iraq, the most modern hotel and streets that bustle so vibrantly that local leaders decided the city needed a break from the sepia tones that dominate Kurdish buildings. Storekeepers were ordered to paint their facades one of four colors, depending on their neighborhood: bright blue, purple, onion yellow or shocking pink. The Kurds may have instituted parliamentary democracy in their region, but in this instance, democracy runs only one coat of paint deep. "I have purple nightmares," said Salah Abdul Salaam, who works in a music store in the pink Suzann district. "They didn't ask anybody. They just told us. This is not the democracy we want. I prefer blue like the sky." Nichervan Ahmed, the appointed governor of Dahuk, shrugged off the complaints. "We are trying to add variety," he said. "If everyone voted, nothing would have gotten done." That top-down attitude clouds the Kurdish experiment. After creation of the no-fly zone above the 36th parallel, the Kurds came back and promptly held parliamentary elections. The vote split 50-50 between the two parties that for decades had jousted for primacy in Kurdish liberation politics. They agreed to set up a joint parliament, but parallel administrations. The Kurdistan Democratic Party, or KDP, governs the western and northern reaches of the Kurdish zone, including the mountainous areas where tribal traditions are strongest. Headed by Massoud Barzani, son of the most famous Kurdish resistance fighter, the KDP reflects those intensely hierarchical clan traditions. To the east, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, or PUK, governs the regions nearest the Iranian border from Sulaymaniyah. Both the city and the party regard themselves as the more cosmopolitan alternative to the rural tribesmen across the way. But the PUK's politburo, chaired by Jalal Talabani, a lawyer, has the same firm grip on power as the Barzani clan. When Abdullah was looking for backers for his satirical magazine, the richest people in the PUK zone demurred, fearing his Nudge might offend the powerful. But one investor loved the idea: Hero Talabani, the chairman's wife. "A satirical magazine supported by the wife of the big boss," said Abdullah. "It seems funny. But it's not." Hero Talabani, who also supports a private TV channel that competes with the staid official PUK TV, said someone had to carry on a "tradition of freedom" that sustained the Kurds even when they were hiding in the mountains. "I had a nice life in Damascus, and before that in Baghdad," she said in an interview, referring to years in exile and her childhood. "I didn't leave that to be in a prison and just obey." Five years after the 1991 ballot, instead of new elections there was war. The KDP and PUK turned their guns on each other over revenue from Iraqi oil smuggled through Kurdish territory to Turkey. The two sides have since made peace, and last month opened branch offices in each other's base cities, but the memory lingers. "Those parties are losing the charm of liberation," said Shaho Saeed, a philosophy professor at Sulaymaniyah University. "The relationship between people and parties is seeing a certain amount of turbulence and anxiety." The prospect of a new war has deflected the hardest questions for now, Saeed said, while underscoring the substantial gains, which are visible from his office window. The university, which Hussein's government shuttered after student protests, was reopened by the Kurdish administration and anchors one end of Sulaymaniyah's showcase boulevard. The street is lined with a new (and PUK-owned) high-rise hotel, crowded Internet cafes and CD shops, while satellite dishes, forbidden under Baghdad's rule, stipple the skyline. Outside the cities, the harsh Kurdish countryside is broken by mud huts and curiously uniform hamlets marked by blue-and-white signs. The huts survived Hussein's late-1980s Anfal campaign of systematic destruction, designed to punish the Kurds for siding with Iran in the war with Iraq. The new neighborhoods were built by the United Nations, which reconstructed not only the Kurds' homes but also their economy. Kurds refer offhandedly to "986" as if everyone knows the number of the 1995 U.N. resolution that, with a subsequent agreement between the United Nations and Iraq, brought 13 percent of the proceeds from the sale of Iraqi oil to the autonomous zone. "Before 986, a bag of flour cost 1,150 Iraqi dinars," said baker Nabaz Hussein, standing by the comforting heat of the open hearth into which he flips ovals of flatbread all day. "Now it costs 50 dinars," or about $6. Like other Iraqis, Kurds can eat free with U.N. rations of flour, oil and other staples. The wealthier, in fact, sell their rations for pocket money, or trade them for better brands. But other essentials are harder to come by. The Kurdish region has its own oil well and refinery, but the gasoline it produces is so rough that most motorists buy from translucent jerrycans stacked beside the road. The fuel the color of lemonade comes from the Baghdad side, the preferred darker grade from Iran. But there are no guarantees, and garages do a brisk trade cleaning fuel filters. Also scarce is vital economic information of any kind, though unemployment is universally acknowledged as high in all sectors. In Shaqlawa, a town 25 miles northeast of Irbil, the sweeping vistas were once a magnet for tourists from as far away as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Restaurant owner Adnan Mohammed Ahmed Garaz is optimistic that tourists will return once Hussein is gone, but the reality is that in the run-up to war, even the few tourists who traveled from Irbil have stopped visiting.

BBC 15 Mar 2003 Kurds flee Iraqi town People say they are leaving with whatever they can carry Refugees have been streaming into the Kurdish-controlled area of northern Iraq after what they say is a new wave of oppression. Reports say hundreds of former residents of the northern city of Kirkuk have arrived in the area in the past few days. They say Iraqi forces have been trying to root out any Kurdish opposition ahead of an American-led attack. Kirkuk, at the centre of Iraq's most important northern oil fields, remains under government control while other mainly Kurdish areas nearby have gained virtual autonomy. Correspondents say the city could be a key battleground in any war, as it is likely to be on the advance route if US troops enter from Turkey. Iraq will want to hold on to its oil industry, while the Kurds have identified it as their preferred capital in any new Kurdish state. Stories from fleeing refugees, which cannot be verified independently, appear to confirm that soldiers are fortifying positions in Kirkuk. Saheed Said, who crossed into the Western protected Kurdish enclave with his wife and children a few days ago, said: "It's terrible - Saddam has turned it into a military camp." Opponents targeted Others say Iraqi authorities are desperate to find and stamp out any signs of dissent among the majority Kurdish population. We were so afraid - we decided we couldn't wait and had to leave right away Resan Bahadi, Kurdish refugee Many people are being arrested, they say. So many people have crossed into the Kurdish enclaves in recent days that the authorities are setting up tent camps and asking people to give up their spare rooms for the refugees. Resan Bahadi and her 12-year-old daughter were among those queuing in the hope of being allocated a space in someone's home. She said she had no option but to flee. "We were so afraid - we decided we couldn't wait and had to leave right away," she said "All I grabbed was a few clothes and one loaf of bread."

US Dept of State Washington File 14 March 2003 Brookings Scholar Scores Saddam Hussein's Human Rights Record (Author Pollack also argues for war with Iraq on strategic grounds) (650) By David Anthony Denny Washington File Staff Writer WASHINGTON -- Those who supported the Clinton administration's armed interventions in Bosnia, Haiti and Kosovo have even more reason to support a U.S.-led war with Iraq, according to Brookings scholar Kenneth Pollack. During an abbreviated digital video conference (DVC) March 14 with three State Department posts in India, Pollack argued that the case for armed intervention in Iraq on humanitarian grounds is as strong or stronger than those instances when President Clinton ordered U.S. military intervention during the 1990s. Pollack, who now is director of research at the Brookings Institution's Saban Center for Middle East Policy, is the author of "The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq." He was previously director of Gulf affairs at the National Security Council during the Clinton administration, and before that was a CIA military analyst for the Persian Gulf. He holds a doctorate in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Pollack asserts that Saddam Hussein is one of the worst tyrants of the past 50 years. He notes that the United Nations' Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iraq says that Saddam Hussein's regime is comparable to the World War II-era Soviet Union under Stalin and Nazi Germany under Hitler. Saddam Hussein is reputed to have killed more than a million Iraqis -- his own people -- a figure which must be compared with Iraq's population of about 24 million. Pollack also notes that Saddam Hussein is considered to have attempted genocide against both Iraqi Kurds and Marsh Arabs, which constitute crimes against humanity. In addition to the human rights considerations, of course, Pollack emphasized the strategic rationale for armed intervention -- Saddam Hussein's possession of biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and his ongoing, decades-long quest to develop or acquire nuclear weapons. Pollack considers Saddam Hussein uniquely dangerous among contemporary rulers for his view of nuclear weapons not as a defensive assurance against outside attack, but rather as an offensive enabling factor allowing him to pursue a foreign policy of aggression and conquest. Pollack emphasized to his Indian audience that having nuclear weapons per se is not the problem. He sees India's possession of nuclear weapons, or Britain's, as non-threatening, because the governments are not expansionist or aggressive. But Saddam Hussein, by contrast, wants nuclear weapons so that Iraq can become a superpower, can control the Persian Gulf's oil and can destroy Israel. And, Pollack says, with nuclear weapons in his arsenal, he believes even the United States would be unable to effectively prevent his accomplishing those goals. Saddam Hussein's brother is famously noted as saying Iraq needs nuclear weapons in order to have a strong hand in re-drawing the map of the Middle East, Pollack said. A questioner from Calcutta asked why war with Iraq must happen now since containment was working with U.N. inspectors in Iraq. Pollack answered that containment was not working, but failing. For instance, he said, Iraq has increased its smuggling from $300 million a year several years ago to $3 billion ($3,000 million) in 2002, enabling Saddam Hussein to acquire almost everything he needs militarily. Pollack also insisted that containment only seems to be working now because both the Security Council members and Saddam Hussein himself recognize the presence of 250,000 U.S. and coalition forces in the Persian Gulf region ready to force Saddam Hussein's hand if he does not cooperate. Moreover, Pollack said, for containment to be effective, it must last 10-20-30 years -- the life of the current regime, including not only Saddam Hussein but also his sons, who are likely successors. Finally, the United States is not hearing anything from France or Russia that would lead it to believe either country is serious about containment, Pollack said. (The Washington File is a product of the Office of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

Knight Ridder Newspaper 14 Mar 2003 Kurds fleeing Kirkuk amid reports of Iraq crackdown By JONATHAN S. LANDAY CHAMCHAMAL, Iraq - Hundreds of young Kurdish men fearing arrest by Saddam Hussein's Iraqi regime have begun fleeing the oil city of Kirkuk to rebel Kurd-held northern Iraq, Kurdish officials and escapees said Friday. The flights are being prompted by word-of-mouth reports that the Arab-dominated regime is rounding up minority Kurds to forestall an insurrection coinciding with a U.S.-led attack, they said. The escapes could be the prelude to a major exodus of Kurds from the Kirkuk area amid the growing likelihood that President Bush will soon order U.S.-led forces massing on Iraq's borders to invade and oust Saddam. The Kirkuk region, home to one of Iraq's largest oil fields, with 10 billion barrels of proven reserves, will be a main objective of any U.S. assault on northern Iraq. Kirkuk sits just behind the Iraqi army's front with Kurdish rebels. Underground networks in Kirkuk of the main Kurdish rebel groups, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Kurdistan Democratic Party, are believed to be planning to revolt if a U.S. invasion begins. Kurdish security officials at the Chamchamal checkpoint, about 500 yards from the Iraqi front lines, said more than 700 young Kurdish men who fled Kirkuk had registered with them since Wednesday. Officials in Irbil, the largest city in the enclave controlled by Kurdish rebels, estimated that 350 residents of Kirkuk had arrived there. They began arriving Thursday by taxi, car, bus and on foot. "There is a campaign to arrest young people, especially at night," said Ali, 21, who made the 25-mile trip to Chamchamal late Friday afternoon. As did the others who agreed to talk, Ali insisted on using an alias to protect family members who remained behind. He and his brother and cousin were among about 20 young men who arrived during a one-hour period. All said they would be staying with relatives. Baghdad allows Kurds from the areas its controls to cross into the rebel Kurd-held enclave to visit relatives. Tens of thousands of Kurds, Turkmen and other minorities have been living in the northern enclave since they were expelled from the Kirkuk region. The expulsions took place in waves of ethnic cleansing conducted by Saddam's Baath Party since it seized power in 1968. Thousands have been killed or have disappeared. Their property has been given to Arabs from elsewhere in Iraq. The "Arabization" program is aimed at consolidating Baghdad's grip on oil-rich areas dominated by minorities. The young men who fled Kirkuk on Friday said they had no problems clearing Iraqi checkpoints because security officials readily accepted bribes. Reports of roundups of young Kurdish men began circulating about a week ago, they said. None said he personally knew anyone who had been arrested. "Young males are afraid, and they want to leave," said Sarkawt, a 21-year-old construction worker who fled with his cousin. "The other day in the Iskan neighborhood, they (Iraqi officials) cut the telephones so people could not speak to each other." The men said they were afraid because in a 1991 Kurdish insurrection, hundreds of young Kurdish men were murdered or disappeared after being arrested. The insurrection was encouraged and then abandoned by the first President Bush after Saddam's defeat in the 1991 Gulf War. Hawlati, an independent weekly published in the Kurd-controlled city of Sulaimaniyah, reported Wednesday that 150 Kurds had been taken into custody at the beginning of the week. There was no independent confirmation of the report. The young men said that Iraqi security forces and Baath Party paramilitary units have dug trenches on street corners and imposed a nighttime curfew, Limo, 20, one of five women who said they, too, were fleeing, contended that Iraqi security forces have been searching Kurdish homes for weapons. Kirkuk residents have been told to leave their doors open at all times so that Iraqi soldiers can duck into houses to take cover if an aerial assault begins. Residents in the important oil city of Mosul have been ordered by the authorities not to leave their homes to seek refuge outside the city. A new edict says vacated houses will be seized. In a related development, a New York-based human rights organization charged in a report released Friday that Saddam's "Arabization" campaign has continued unabated since the 1991 uprising. Human Rights Watch said that it "believes that the Iraqi government's systematic and continuing forced transfer" of an estimated 120,000 minorities is a crime against humanity. If U.S. troops invade, they must prevent displaced people from wreaking vengeance on those who expelled them and those who occupied their properties, the report said. (Mark Johnson in Irbil, Iraq, contributed to this article.)

NYT 14 Mar 2003 Torture, Beyond Saddam By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF BATMAN, Turkey A middle-aged Kurd took me on a lonely hillside near here to point out the isolated police station in whose basement he had been beaten, subjected to electric shocks and sexually humiliated. We stood half a mile away as he recounted his tale, and then the police spotted us — and a tank rushed toward us. I fled. But the Kurds in Turkey cannot flee, and many here worry that the war in Iraq will set off more of the savagery that marked the 1980's and 1990's in "Turkish Kurdistan" (a phrase that, if I were Turkish, might lead to my arrest). The world has turned its back on the Kurds more times than I can count, and there are signs that we're planning to betray them again. The U.S. was so desperate to bribe Turkey into our coalition that it was willing to allow tens of thousands of Turkish troops into Iraq's Kurdish areas. And we still seem ready to acquiesce in this. The Turks, having broken the back of Kurdish resistance within their borders, plan to expand their efforts and "disarm" Iraq's Kurds to block their control of oil fields. How can we allow this? Aside from the sheer immorality of presiding over what is in effect a Turkish invasion of peaceful Iraqi Kurdistan, such an incursion risks warfare between Kurds and Turks that could spill into Turkey as well. "The Turkish government has been far worse to the Kurds than Saddam has," one well-educated Kurd said bitterly. His comment stunned me, for Turkey never used poison gas or conducted mass executions as Saddam did, but one Kurd after another said the same thing. They described past Turkish military techniques like raping wives in front of husbands, or assembling villagers to watch men being tied and dragged to their death behind tanks, and they noted that Turkey had been less tolerant of Kurdish language and culture than Saddam. President Bush is motivated to invade Iraq partly, I believe, by a deeply felt horror of Saddam's repression. But if our claims to be acting on behalf of the people of Iraq are to have credibility and moral legitimacy, we must try to stop Kurds from being slaughtered not only by our enemies in Baghdad, but also by our friends in Ankara. And we should certainly not acquiesce in such steps as a Turkish invasion of northern Iraq, which could trigger a new spiral of clashes and repression in Turkey. How could a warm and friendly country like Turkey, which has made genuine progress on human rights and deserves a place in the European Union, be so harsh to its Kurds? Turkey's horror of a flourishing Kurdistan derives from its "Sèvres syndrome," named for the French city where Western powers tried to dismember Turkey after World War I. Ever since then, Turkey has seen accommodation as a slippery slope toward national disintegration. There had been progress toward reconciliation in recent years, but now the prospect of war in Iraq has revived old suspicions and hatreds. While President Bush has been eager to take note of Iraqi atrocities against the Kurds, the West has never been so outraged by similar Turkish atrocities. More than 30,000 people died during the years of fighting between the Turkish government and the guerrillas of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or P.K.K.; both sides were brutal, murdering civilians and engaging in torture and terrorism. Turkey also forced at least 500,000 Kurds to leave their villages at gunpoint. Excellent reports on Turkey by Human Rights Watch say that some refugees who have tried to return to their homes recently have been shot by government-armed thugs. Southeast Turkey still feels like a police state. I traveled to one remote town to interview a Kurdish man who had been beaten by the police in front of neighbors, doused with gasoline and then set on fire (he survived). The man's family was so terrified to see a foreign reporter and risk another police nightmare that they sent me packing. Only one Kurdish man was not afraid to be named: Abdurrahim Guler, 37, who has endured repeated bouts of torture and death threats. In one brutal session, he says, the commander called out, "Bring in the stick," used to rape men. "You can use your stick," Mr. Guler says he shouted back. "I still won't talk even if you use a minaret!" Now something even grimmer is bearing down on the brave Kurds: Turkish tanks, like the one that sent me fleeing, but waves of them. I feel sick at the thought that we're about to betray the Kurds, again.

NYT 16 Mar 2003 U.S. Names Iraqis Who Would Face War Crimes Trial By ELISABETH BUMILLER WASHINGTON, March 15 — For the first time, the Bush administration has identified nine senior Iraqi officials, including Saddam Hussein and his two sons, who would be tried for war crimes or crimes against humanity after an American-led attack on Iraq, a senior American official said. The list includes members of Mr. Hussein's inner circle who sit atop a hierarchy of 2,000 members of the Iraqi elite who were previously identified by American intelligence agencies. But only now are the names of the top group being made public. Administration officials said they had planned to send the list of people to Baghdad with a delegation from the Arab League in hopes of persuading the men to leave the country with Mr. Hussein as way to avoid a war. But the league, consumed by internal bickering and facing a brush-off from the Iraqi government, called off the trip that had been planned for Friday. Administration officials said they were making the list public now partly out of frustration, but also as part of the continuing psychological campaign against the Iraqi elite. President Bush and his senior advisers have repeatedly warned Mr. Hussein's loyalists that they have a choice between exile or prosecution. If the people on this list were to leave and there was a new leadership willing to disarm and "open up" Iraq, a senior official said, then it could avoid war. But the chances of that appeared ever dimmer today as Mr. Bush prepared at Camp David for an emergency summit meeting on Sunday in the Azores, in the Atlantic Ocean, to discuss final options for diplomacy with Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain and Prime Minister José María Aznar of Spain. Around the world, including in Washington and in other American cities, protesters assembled to demonstrate against an impending war. In his national radio address, however, Mr. Bush said bluntly that "there is little reason to hope that Saddam Hussein will disarm" without the use of force. Meanwhile, France, Russia and Germany, which have led the opposition to military action against Iraq, issued a joint declaration calling for an emergency meeting of foreign ministers from the Security Council countries to set a "realistic" timetable for Iraq's disarmament. In Iraq, the Foreign Ministry said that a top aide to Mr. Hussein had invited the chief United Nations weapons inspectors, Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei, to visit Baghdad "as quickly as possible" to discuss disarmament. United Nations officials said the two men would consult with the Security Council on Monday on whether to go. But Mr. Bush continued to make what he called a moral case for war, which he still maintains would be a last resort. In his radio address, Mr. Bush reminded his listeners that it was the 15th "bitter anniversary" of Mr. Hussein's chemical weapons attack on the Iraqi Kurdish village of Halabja. The attack, Mr. Bush said, "provided a glimpse of the crimes Saddam Hussein is willing to commit, and the kind of threat he now presents to the entire world." Using some of his most graphic language yet in describing Mr. Hussein's Iraq, Mr. Bush added: "We know from human rights groups that dissidents in Iraq are tortured, imprisoned and sometimes just disappear. Their hands, feet and tongues are cut off, their eyes are gouged out, and female relatives are raped in their presence." Mr. Bush, seeming to prepare the nation for war, said that if force was required to disarm Mr. Hussein, "the American people can know that our armed forces have been given every tool and every resource to achieve victory." The president then turned his remarks to the Iraqis, and said that "the people of Iraq can know that every effort will be made to spare innocent life, and to help Iraq recover from three decades of totalitarian rule." In Kuwait, as troops in the teeming desert base of Camp Virginia waited for orders to invade Iraq, the commander of the Army's V Corps said that the United States would not seek specifically to kill Mr. Hussein. In an interview on Friday, the commander, Lt. Gen. William S. Wallace, said the United States military instead planned to destroy the infrastructure and government controlled by Mr. Hussein to open the way for a representative government. Mr. Hussein's fate was secondary, General Wallace said, even though he expected fighting to be concentrated in and around Baghdad. The Pentagon has long pointed out that as a military commander, Mr. Hussein would be a legitimate target, as would anyone in an Iraqi command post. The White House has said that if there is a war, Mr. Hussein will not be allowed to stay in power. "The regime is the target, not one individual," General Wallace said. "Saddam is representative of that government, and eliminating him or making him a target is not necessary for the toppling of the regime. I don't care what happens to him, as long as what is left in his aftermath is a foundation for a new Iraqi state." In addition to Mr. Hussein and his two sons, Uday and Qusay, the administration's list for prosecution included Ali Hassan al-Hamid, who was the governor of Iraqi-occupied Kuwait in 1990, and Muhammad Hamza al-Zubaidi, who the administration says was responsible for atrocities against the the Shiites living in southern Iraq in early 1991. There are about a dozen people on the list in all, a senior official said. But he said for now the Bush administration would only publicly name nine. "This is the group that we would expect to depart if there's a departure or that we'd expect to apprehend if there's a use of force," a senior administration official said. "They are wanted for the crimes of the regime." Other Iraqi officials on the list included Aziz Salih Numan, the second governor of Iraqi-occupied Kuwait; Izzat Ibrahim, the deputy commander in chief of the Iraqi military, who is close to Mr. Hussein; Abid Hamid al-Tikriti, the presidential secretary who is considered Mr. Hussein's alter ego; and Hani Abd al-Latif Tilfah, the director of the special security organization that the administration said is in charge of hiding Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. The administration said that Mr. Hussein's son Uday was responsible for ordering torture, rape and looting of dissident communities within Iraq and that his son Qusay oversees the special security organization and the elite Republican Guards. Mr. Bush spent his day making what the White House said were diplomatic calls to prepare for the Azores meeting, which the administration has billed as a final chance to bring a deeply divided United Nations together on an ultimatum that Mr. Hussein disarm. The United States, Britain and Spain offered a draft Security Council resolution that would give Mr. Hussein a deadline of Monday to disarm or face an attack, but so far the only other nation on the 15-member Security Council to openly support it has been Bulgaria. This morning, Mr. Bush spoke for at least the fifth time this week to his closest ally, Mr. Blair. He also spoke to Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of Italy, who supports the administration on Iraq.

American Forces Press Service 15 Mar 2003 Halabja: Symbol of Hussein's Inhumanity By Jim Garamone WASHINGTON, March 15, 2003 – "Bloody Friday." That's what Iraqi Kurds call the attack on Halabja, Iraq, on March 16, 1988. This year marks the 15th anniversary of Saddam Hussein's largest use of chemical weapons on his own people. At least 5,000 Iraqi Kurds died from a lethal mixture of mustard gas and the nerve agents Sarin, Tabun and VX. Another 10,000 were reported injured. The victims were not Iranian soldiers, but the men, women and children of Halabja. Some reports indicated the Iraqis dropped cyanide gas, but that has never been proven. In 1988, Halabja, with a population of about 80,000, was a battlefield in the Iran-Iraq war that Saddam Hussein had started in 1980. Just before March 16, local Kurds and Iranian Revolutionary Guards had passed through the city. Local officials and the Iranians would not let people leave the city. They figured there was no military use to the city and that Iraq would not bomb a population center. They were wrong. Iraqi forces shelled the city, and aircraft dropped conventional bombs there. On March 16, the chemical weapons attacks began. Eight Iraqi aircraft began dropping chemical bombs over the city, Kurdish officials said later. The chemical bombardment continued all night with flights of seven or eight aircraft releasing weapons on the city and roads leading out of it. The attacks continued through March 19. "In the streets and alleys of Halabja, corpses piled up over one another," according to information on the Kurdistan Democratic Party–Iraq Web page: "Tens of children, while playing in front of the their houses in the morning, were martyred instantly…. The innocent children did not even have time to run back home. Some children fell down at the threshold of the door of their houses and never rose again." Christine M. Gosden, a professor of Medical Genetics at the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom, reported on Halabja to the U.S. Senate in 1998. "I was shocked by the devastating effects of these weapons which have caused problems such as cancers, blindness and congenital malformations," she said. Gosden likened the secondary effects to those of an atomic bomb. Survivors of the attack reportedly continue to suffer and die from its effects, she claimed. Halabja was not the first instance of Iraqi chemical attacks. Hussein first used chemical agents against Iranian soldiers in 1983. CIA documents show the largest documented attack was a February 1986 strike against al-Faw, where mustard gas and tabun may have affected up to 10,000 Iranians. Hussein continued to use the weapons against the Iranians, but then turned the weapons against the Kurds, who wanted to depose him. Before the attack on Halabja, Saddam Hussein launched chemical strikes on 20 small villages in 1987. But the scale of the attack on Halabja was unlike anything that happened before. During the 1930s Spanish Civil War-era, people were horrified with the conventional bombardment of the Spanish city of Guernica. On April 26, 1937, reportedly about 1,500 civilians, one-third of the city's population, died from 100,000 pounds of bombs raining down on them. Mention of the word "Guernica" gave a mental picture of the depths of cruelty man would stoop to. The Kurds maintain that "Halabja" should also trigger these feelings.

AP 15 Mar 20003 Fleeing Kurds accuse Saddam of clampdown- Refugees say military is taking over Kirkuk Stories about imminent war with Iraq Post or read comments in our online forums The Associated Press March 15th, 2003 QUSHTAPA, Iraq -- The Kurdish families arrive with few possessions but laden with stories about why they fled the city of Kirkuk: a tightening noose of searches, harassment and arrests by Saddam Hussein’s forces in the strategic oil center. "It’s terrible," exclaimed Saheed Said, who crossed into the Western-protected Kurdish enclave Friday with his wife and three children, joining a growing exodus of Iraqi Kurds from the northern city. "Saddam has turned it into a military camp." The accounts by the fleeing families cannot be independently verified. But they suggest Iraqi soldiers are fortifying positions at one of the potential key battlefields and trying to root out any perceived threats among the majority Kurds. An escalating campaign of house-to-house searches and detentions of suspected underground resistance supporters apparently has accelerated the Kurdish flight from Kirkuk, about 150 miles north of Baghdad. At least 1,000 Kurds have crossed into the northern safe haven zone outside of Saddam’s control since Thursday, border officials said. A steady stream of vehicles -- battered buses, cars and packed taxis -- passed Friday through the Kurdish checkpoint at Qushtapa, about 45 miles north of Kirkuk. Those with relatives in the enclave were allowed to continue toward Irbil, the administrative capital of the Kurdish zone. Others with nowhere to go huddled together in muddy lots until authorities could find them shelter. "We were so afraid. We decided we couldn’t wait and had to leave right away. All I grabbed was a few clothes and one loaf of bread," said Resan Bahadi. The Iraqi clampdown intensified early this week after protesters in Kirkuk burned a portrait of Saddam, the refugees said. The Iraqi searches apparently seek any evidence of Kurdish dissent, such as weapons, letters, Kurdish newspapers or books. "They even check the radio to see if it’s dialed to a Kurdish station," said Bahadi, whose husband was killed in the failed Kurdish uprising following the 1991 Gulf War. "That alone could get you in trouble now." Kirkuk, the regional center of Iraq’s most important northern oil fields, remained under Saddam’s control after the Gulf War while Irbil and other Kurdish areas to the north achieved effective autonomy under the protection of U.S. and British warplanes. Tens of thousands of Kurds have left Kirkuk for the safe haven in the past decade. Saddam, meanwhile, moved Arab settlers into the Kirkuk area and enforced a so-called "nationality correction" campaign in which Kurds were forced to adopt Arab names or risk losing their property. A report released in Washington on Friday by Human Rights Watch said Iraq continues to expel not only Kurds, but ethnic Turks and Assyrians in the region and turn their property over to Arab families from the south. The organization said there was an urgent need to organize the orderly return of more than 120,000 people forced out of their homes since 1991. This was essential to head off ethnic violence should displaced families attempt to return to the area, it said in a report. Kirkuk could become a pivotal point in a U.S.-led attack. The city would be a major crossroads for any northern invasion from Turkey -- if Turkey’s parliament reconsiders its rejection of a U.S. request to allow up to 62,000 troops to open a northern front. Walid Rashid, a 24-year-old Kurdish metal-shop worker in Kirkuk, said Iraqi forces were building earthen and concrete mounds and digging trenches in anticipation of an attack. Additional anti-aircraft batteries are in place, but no tanks have been seen in the city, he added. "All the young men are in a panic," he said. "The Iraqis are rounding up anyone they feel could fight against them. Everyone is looking to get out." So far, the Iraqi forces have not blocked the route north to the Kurdish enclave. But Kurds in Kirkuk fear their avenue out could be closed if diplomatic efforts to avert war are exhausted. The owner of an old Nissan bus, Karim Sulayman, planned three trips Friday to ferry Kurds to Irbil. "People are begging for seats," he said. "They are feeling this could be their last chance." Behind the bus, a rusty Kirkuk taxi creaked under the weight of nine passengers. Mohammad Salah, 81, crammed himself and his son’s family into the cab for a one-way trip from Kirkuk to Irbil. "How could we remain? Saddam’s military is everywhere in Kirkuk," he said. "In a war, it could become a very bloody place."

NYT 18 Mar 2003 Thousands of Kurds Flee Front-Line Cities By C. J. CHIVERS with DAVID ROHDE CHAMCHAMAL, Iraq, March 17 — Kurdish civilians began fleeing cities or safeguarding homes today along the front lines with the Iraqi Army in northern Iraq, saying that as war draws near they feared a conventional or chemical attack from Saddam Hussein. Crowded into taxis and buses, riding in trailers behind tractors, or simply piled into cars, they formed lines on the highways, seeking what they hoped would be safety in villages out of range of Iraqi artillery. The exodus was apparent in the cities of Kifri, Kalar, and Dohuk, as well as in this city of 60,000 people, which sits just under a ridge occupied by Iraqi soldiers. "We are afraid of chemical weapons, we are afraid of the tanks, we are afraid of the artillery," said Faizulla Karim Rahman, 66, a retired policeman who was moving 10 family members from Chamchamal. "We are going to a village away from here." In Erbil, the largest city in northern Iraq, thousands fled during the day. The withdrawal was marked by anxiety but not panic. Pickup trucks and station wagons bursting with children, clothing and food dotted the streets. Mile-long lines for gasoline snaked down avenues. By late afternoon, nervous residents were also making a run on plastic sheeting for use against a chemical attack. Some said they would remain behind. "We will use the plastic and stay in our home," said Infida Hussein, a schoolteacher who was searching for fast-selling plastic. "Fear is everywhere." The last-minute preparations in the anticipated battle area came as diplomacy stalled at the United Nations and President Bush was expected to deliver an ultimatum to Mr. Hussein in a televised speech. Already, tensions between Kurdish and Turkish officials have increased markedly over whose forces will take control of the oil-rich cities of Kirkuk and Mosul once the Iraqis are driven out. Both the Kurds and the Turks have massed soldiers and weaponry along the border between Iraq and Turkey. News media here have reported fully on the stalled diplomacy and the mounting regional tensions, also palpable on the Iraqi-Kurdish front. In the last two weeks, the Iraqi Army has prepared new bunkers and trench lines on the ridge above this city. Kurdish civilians have also watched a swelling number of Kurds fleeing from areas of Iraq controlled by Mr. Hussein, many arriving with tales of an Iraqi security crackdown in Kirkuk. The crackdown, they said, was aimed at rounding up suspected Kurdish underground members who are suspected of plotting uprisings inside Iraq. As many as 675 Kurds fleeing Kirkuk have arrived in this city in recent days, according to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, which controls the eastern zone here. Northern Iraq, now administered by Kurds and largely under the protection of American and British aircraft, de facto seceded from Mr. Hussein's Iraq in 1991. A Kurdish intelligence official said the crackdown began last week after Iraqi security agents caught three Kurds with satellite telephone phones inside Kirkuk. The telephones had been provided by the United States for intelligence collection and coordination, and had recently been smuggled into Iraq, the intelligence official said. He said many more phones, and agents, had been sent into the Iraqi zone. Many fleeing Kurds also said they have heard that Iraq has rigged explosives to wells in the oil fields outside of Kirkuk, and that Mr. Hussein plans to torch the fields in Iraq just as his soldiers did in Kuwait 12 years ago. These claims have not been verified by the opposition, security officials said. Kurdish officials and international aid organizations have said for months that a war in Iraq might set in motion great waves of people, and today offered the first glimpse. Kurds have been making arrangements since at least late January, when they first sensed the United Nations weapons inspections would be drawing to a close. Many have rented houses in villages distant from the Iraqi soldiers, or have cached food, clothes and sleeping gear at relatives' houses away from the front. But most had also remained in place, keeping their children in schools and maintaining their jobs, while waiting for the moment when it seemed war was nigh. The moment came today, and residents in Erbil, a city of more than a million people, said they feared one thing — chemical attack. Families departing the city said they were fleeing north to remote mountain villages. Those buying plastic sheeting said they were trying to make their homes resistant to infiltration by chemical weapons. "We will put plastic over our heads," said Kakamand Fatah, a 37-year-old porter in a market in Erbil. "We will make a tent." His wife, Fayruz, was one of several people who asked why the United States had not provided gas masks to the Kurds. Local officials say only several dozen antiquated gas masks are available for the 3.8 million people who live in northern Iraq. "Protect us by giving us gas masks," said the mother of seven children ranging from 2 to 12 years old. "Where can I go with my little kids?" For all of the fear, some expressed satisfaction that a war against Mr. Hussein seemed soon to begin. Karim Agha, the tribal chief in Chamchamal, sat in his home and estimated that 6,000 or 7,000 of his neighbors had left today. He was pleased. "Old people, children, wives, those who are sick — it is better for them to be out of here, and it is normal during a war," he said. "But I am happy now. We hate Saddam, and we want him removed."

White House USA 17 March 2003 President Bush's Speech on Iraq (excerpts) "It is too late for Saddam Hussein to remain in power. It is not too late for the Iraq military to act with honor and protect your country, by permitting the peaceful entry of coalition forces to eliminate weapons of mass destruction. Our forces will give Iraqi military units clear instructions on actions they can take to avoid being attack and destroyed. I urge every member of the Iraqi military and intelligence services: If war comes, do not fight for a dying regime that is not worth your own life. And all Iraqi military and civilian personnel should listen carefully to this warning: In any conflict, your fate will depend on your actions. Do not destroy oil wells, a source of wealth that belongs to the Iraqi people. Do not obey any command to use weapons of mass destruction against anyone, including the Iraqi people. War crimes will be prosecuted, war criminals will be punished and it will be no defense to say, "I was just following orders." . . . The cause of peace requires all free nations to recognize new and undeniable realities. In the 20th century, some chose to appease murderous dictators whose threats were allowed to grow into genocide and global war. In this century, when evil men plot chemical, biological and nuclear terror, a policy of appeasement could bring destruction of a kind never before seen on this earth. Terrorists and terrorist states do not reveal these threats with fair notice in formal declarations. And responding to such enemies only after they have struck first is not self defense. It is suicide. The security of the world requires disarming Saddam Hussein now."

AP 18 Mar 2003 Saddam Rejects Ultimatum to Surrender By DAVID ESPO ASSOCIATED PRESS In an edgy prelude to war, Saddam Hussein mocked an American ultimatum Tuesday to surrender power, and the Bush administration claimed public support from 30 nations for its international coalition supporting Iraq's disarmament. The streets of Baghdad captured the moment - panic buying by residents bracing for a fearsome U.S.-led attack, side by side with a government-prompted, mass demonstration in support of Saddam. "This war, in short, is tantamount to genocide," charged Mohammed Al-Douri, Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations, in one of a string of insults the Iraqi high command hurled at Bush. It was a daylong act of defiance in the face of an invasion force of more than 250,000 troops ringing Iraq, a nation of more than 23 million that Saddam has ruled brutally for nearly a quarter century. One day after President Bush set his deadline of 8 p.m. EST on Wednesday, troops in the Kuwaiti desert loaded their ammunition and combat gear into fighting vehicles, ready to invade on short notice. "I think I'd probably have a better chance of being elected pope than we have of Mr. Saddam Hussein leaving the country," Capt. Thomas A. Parker said aboard the USS Kitty Hawk - an aircraft carrier preparing to take on a supply of 1,000-pound, satellite-guided bombs from a nearby munitions ship. "So this is probably going to follow to its logical conclusion." As the hours dwindled toward Bush's deadline, the White House worked to keep Saddam guessing. Presidential spokesman Ari Fleischer would not rule out a U.S. attack before Bush's 48-hour clock ran out. "Saddam Hussein has to figure out what this means," he said. One official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Bush was leaving the door open in case Saddam makes a pre-emptive attack or U.S. intelligence warns that one is likely. Underscoring what Bush said on Monday night, Fleischer said U.S. troops would enter Iraq, either as an invading force or as part of an unmolested effort to locate weapons of mass destruction. Turkey's government, meanwhile, said it would ask parliament to reverse an earlier decision and let U.S. troops into the country to open a northern front against Iraq. At the same time the administration prepared for an invasion, it announced a series of steps at home to protect against terrorist attacks. "We know that our interests have been attacked abroad. And we should prepare for potential attacks, either here or abroad at this time," said Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. The plan, dubbed "Operation Liberty Shield," heightens security at the nation's borders, airports, seaports and railways, at nuclear and chemical plants, and in elements of the nation's food supply and distribution system. Ridge said governors are being asked to deploy National Guard troops or extra state police to help. At the State Department, Secretary of State Colin Powell said 30 nations had joined the administration's "coalition of the willing," and that another 15 had quietly pledged support. But at least two of the 30 nations, Spain and the Netherlands, have explicitly ruled out the use of troops to invade Iraq. Another, Japan, was identified as only a post-conflict member of the coalition. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said some of the countries "may put troops on the ground" and others may take on roles such as assisting in a defense against the use of chemical and biological weapons. Intelligence reports indicate that Saddam has given his field-level commanders the power to use chemical weapons, without instruction from the leadership, Pentagon officials said Tuesday. With war looming in the Persian Gulf, the diplomatic and political fallout circled the globe. In London, the House of Commons backed British Prime Minister Tony Blair's strong endorsement of Bush's policy, defeating an anti-war resolution and then voting in favor of using "all means necessary" to disarm Saddam. Blair has suffered in public opinion over his support of Bush, a stance that led three ministers to resign from his government this week in protest. French President Jacques Chirac, whose country led opposition to war within the U.N. Security Council, said Bush's action would undermine future efforts at peaceful disarmament. "Iraq does not represent today an immediate threat that would justify an immediate war," he said. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder concurred, and said U.N. weapons inspectors should have more time to try to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction. Both European leaders were sending their foreign ministers to a Security Council meeting set for Wednesday in New York. But by Bush's word, laid down in a stern speech Monday night, the time for diplomacy - and weapons inspections - had clearly come and gone. Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa scrapped plans for a last-minute peacemaking trip to Iraq. And the U.N. peacekeepers boarded a plane out of Iraq, their mission at an end. For his part, the Iraqi leader appeared on television wearing a military uniform for the first time since the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Iraq's al-Shabab television, owned by one of Saddam's sons, said the decision to defy Bush's ultimatum was made in a leadership meeting chaired by the Iraqi leader. "The pathetic Bush was hoping ... to achieve his evil targets without a fight," it said. "...The march of struggle will continue against the American, English and Zionist aggressors."

AFP 24 Mar 2003The human cost of the US-led war in Iraq NICOSIA, March 24 (AFP) - Following are details of dead and wounded in Iraq in the first five days of the US-led war against Iraq, according to official statements and confirmed reports. Here is a day-by-day breakdown of the casualties confirmed so far: Thursday, March 20 The first day of war, featuring the US bombardment of Baghdad and the initial incursions into southern Iraq, leaves four Iraqi soldiers dead, according to state television which gave no details of how they were killed. Friday 21 Two US Marines are killed in Iraq, the first American casualties of the war. Eight British Royal Marines and four US soldiers die when their CH-46 Sea Knight transport helicopter crashes in Kuwait. Iraq reports three people dead amid further bombardments of Baghdad. One is said to be a driver of Palestinian origin hit by a missile between Baghdad and the Jordan border. Saturday 22 Six British soldiers and an American soldier are killed when two Royal Navy helicopters collide over the Gulf. An apparently disaffected US soldier hurls a grenade into a tent in a military camp in Kuwait where officers are meeting. One soldier dies of his injuries the following day. US and British troops encircle the southern city of Basra and bombard the city. Iraqi Ministry of Information accuses the Americans of having killed 77 people and left 366 injured among the civilian population. A US air assault on the Kurdish Islamist groups Ansar al-Islam and Komala Islami Kurdistan (KIK) in northern Iraq leaves at least 45 dead. Four Iraqis die in raids on Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's home town, north of Baghdad. Four Jordanian students, returning home, are killed close to Mosul in northern Iraq when a missile falls close to their car. An Australian TV journalist is killed in Kurdistan in a suicide car bomb blast. Sunday 23 A US Marine dies in a road accident in southern Iraq, according to central command in Qatar. The first "friendly fire" incident of the war sees two British airmen die when their Tornado is shot down by mistake by a Patriot missile. A Baath Party official is killed in skirmishes between Americans and Iraqis in the Najaf region, south of Baghdad. A British TV war correspondent is pronounced dead by his news organisation after apparently being shot by coalition troops. Two of his colleagues are still missing. Iraq claims 25 American and British soldiers are killed in fighting around the southern city of Nasiriyah. The US Army admits deaths and injuries but no figures, while the Israeli public TV and radio monitoring service says it is six dead and around 50 injured. Monday 24 Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Said Al-Sahhaf announces 24 dead and 411 injured in bombardments of Baghdad, Karbala, Basra and Babel. Five people, including one woman, are killed and 28 are injured when a missile hits a densely-populated area of Baghdad. Five Syrians working in Iraq are confirmed dead and 10 others injured after a missile attack on their bus near Ratba, western Iraq, on Sunday morning, as they headed for the border. Two British soldiers are reported missing, believed killed, by the Defence Ministry in London, after an attack on the convoy their vehicle was travelling with in southern Iraq on Sunday morning. A British soldier is killed in action south of Basra, the first confirmed member of British ground forces to die in combat since the war began.

Reuters 29 Mar 2003 Angry Arabs Say Baghdad Market Blast U.S. Massacre By Miral Fahmy DUBAI A massacre, a crime against humanity, another U.S. atrocity against the people of Iraq. These were some of the words many Arabs and much of the Middle East's state-run press used on Saturday to describe Friday's devastating air assault on a busy Baghdad market that an Iraqi doctor said killed 62 people and wounded 49. "Dreadful massacre in Baghdad," said a banner headline in Egypt's mass circulation Akhbar al-Youm newspaper, with half its front page covered by photographs of two young victims of the blast in the rundown Shula neighborhood. "Martyrs' blood flows yet again in Baghdad," said Bahrain's Akhbar al-Khaleej. "A new atrocity and humanitarian disaster committed by the Americans," Yemen's Thawra newspaper added. "Yet another massacre by the coalition of invaders," read the main headline in Saudi Arabia's popular Al Riyadh daily. Graphic images of distraught Iraqis wailing over bloodied corpses of relatives -- many of them women and children -- filled television screens shortly after the attack, fueling Arab rage at this deeply unpopular war which has incited even more anti-American fury in the region. The widely watched al-Jazeera satellite television channel gave prominence to the Friday night incident, airing repeatedly gory pictures of strewn body parts and frail, wounded toddlers moaning on hospital beds. The United States has said it is checking to see whether its forces were responsible for the blast that ravaged the mainly Shi'ite Muslim Shula neighborhood, but many Arabs said they had no doubt the Americans were to blame. "The Americans can go to hell," Egyptian coffee shop waiter Mohamed Shukman spat out. "They don't care about Iraqi civilians, they just want Iraq's oil." "This is brutality, the Americans have no right to do this," declared veiled Egyptian businesswoman Rawya Shaker. "This is colonialism, this is an aggression against innocent people. This is something even an infidel wouldn't do." WARNING OF JIHAD CALLS Anger at the United States over the attack was also running high in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, which has witnessed some of the bloodiest anti-war protests in the region. "This is mayhem, just watching it gave me the creeps," said 25-year-old university graduate Tamer Ali. "This is shameful, it's unlawful. The Americans are killing women and children." Syria has had its share of war casualties when a U.S. missile accidentally hit a busload of workers and many people there said they identified with the victims of Shula. "I was watching what was happening and I found myself cursing for the first time in my life," said bashful 17-year-old student Lama. "I felt I wanted to kill not only curse." Many Jordanians and Saudis -- whose countries are key U.S. allies that border Iraq -- also poured scorn at the United States and warned it that any more attacks on civilians would fuel calls by Islamist radicals for jihad or holy war. Jordanians and Saudis are already furious with the United States for its support of what they see as Israel's brutal crackdown on a Palestinian independence uprising, and the Shula attack only intensified their rage. "Everyone now wants to be like Osama bin Laden," said Muhanad Abdullah, an outraged Jordanian computer programmer. "They have made thousands of bin Ladens. They will see what the future will bring upon them." The United States and Britain say they are invading Iraq to liberate its people from its "tyrant" President Saddam Hussein. While many Arabs have no sympathy for the Iraqi leader, they are set against this war. "I am not defending Saddam, but we don't have to kill a whole population and destroy a nation to remove him," said Egyptian pharmacist Ehab Abdul Latif. Bahraini businessman Taqi al-Zirah agreed. "The Americans say they are liberating Iraq but you can only make peace through peaceful means, not by terror," he said. (Additional reporting by Suleiman al-Khalidi in Amman, Abbas Salman in Bahrain, Andrew Hammond in Riyadh, Tom Perry in Cairo, Inal Ersan in Damascus and Mohammed Sudam in Yemen)

Arabs angry for the Shula market massacre JT, 3/30/03 DUBAI (R) — A massacre, a crime against humanity, another atrocity against the people of Iraq. These were some of the words many Arabs and much of the Middle East's state-run press used on Saturday to describe Friday's devastating air assault on a busy Baghdad market that an Iraqi doctor said killed 62 people and wounded 49. "Dreadful massacre in Baghdad," said a banner headline in Egypt's mass circulation Akhbar Al Youm newspaper, with half its front page covered by photographs of two young victims of the blast in the rundown Shula neighbourhood. "Martyrs' blood flows yet again in Baghdad," said Bahrain's Akhbar Al Khaleej. "A new atrocity and humanitarian disaster committed by the Americans," Yemen's Thawra newspaper added. "Yet another massacre by the coalition of invaders," read the main headline in Saudi Arabia's popular Al Riyadh daily. Graphic images of distraught Iraqis wailing over bloodied corpses of relatives — many of them women and children — filled television screens shortly after the attack, fuelling Arab rage at this deeply unpopular war which has incited even more anti-American fury in the region. The widely watched Al Jazeera satellite television channel gave prominence to the Friday night incident, airing repeatedly gory pictures of strewn body parts and frail, wounded toddlers moaning on hospital beds. The US has said it is checking to see whether its forces were responsible for the blast that ravaged the mainly Shiite Muslim Shula neighbourhood, but many Arabs said they had no doubt the Americans were to blame. "The Americans can go to hell," Egyptian coffee shop waiter Mohammad Shukman spat out. "They don't care about Iraqi civilians, they just want Iraq's oil." "This is brutality, the Americans have no right to do this," declared veiled Egyptian businesswoman Rawya Shaker. "This is colonalism, this is an aggression against innocent people. This is something even an infidel wouldn't do." Anger at the US over the attack was also running high in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, which has witnessed some of the bloodiest antiwar protests in the region. "This is mayhem, just watching it gave me the creeps," said 25-year-old university graduate Tamer Ali. "This is shameful, it's unlawful. The Americans are killing women and children." Syria has had its share of war casualties when a US missile "accidentally" hit a busload of workers and many people there said they identified with the victims of Shula. "I was watching what was happening and I found myself cursing for the first time in my life," said bashful 17-year-old student Lama. "I felt I wanted to kill not only curse." Many Jordanians and Saudis also poured scorn at the US and warned it that any more attacks on civilians would fuel calls by Islamist radicals for Jihad or holy war. Jordanians and Saudis are already furious with the US for its blind support of Israel's brutal crackdown on a Palestinian independence uprising, and the Shula attack only intensified their rage. "Everyone now wants to be like Osama Ben Laden," said Muhanad Abdullah, an outraged Jordanian computer programmer. "They have made thousands of Ben Ladens. They will see what the future will bring upon them." The US and Britain claim they are invading Iraq to liberate its people from its "tyrant" President Saddam Hussein. While many Arabs have no sympathy for the Iraqi leader, they are set against this war. "I am not defending Saddam, but we don't have to kill a whole population and destroy a nation to remove him," said Egyptian pharmacist Ehab Abdul Latif. Bahraini businessman Taqi Al Zirah agreed. "The Americans say they are liberating Iraq but you can only make peace through peaceful means, not by terror," he said.

UC Berkeley News 31 Mar 2003 Witnessing war: UC Berkeley scholar in Iraq to document conditions of displaced civilians and spotlight potential humanitarian disasters Sarah Yang | 31 March 2003 BERKELEY - When Eric Stover last visited Iraq, he was carefully documenting dental records, remnants of clothing and other remains of murdered Kurds exhumed from unmarked graves, many with single gunshot wounds to the head. More than 11 years later, Stover, now director of the Human Rights Center at the University of California, Berkeley, is back in Iraq. This time, as war rages about him, he is working to prevent the loss of innocent life like the kind he has investigated before in countries throughout the world. In a series of recent e-mail and telephone dispatches to campus, Stover described the plight of Kurds fleeing Iraqi-controlled areas for encampments that are dangerously ill-prepared for the influx. "Thousands of civilians have already fled Kurdish cities for fear of a chemical weapons attack," he said. "Once the northern offensive begins - which could be any day now - it's possible that thousands to tens of thousands more will arrive." Stover is working with Human Rights Watch, the largest human rights organization based in the United States, to monitor possible violations of the Geneva Conventions on all sides of the conflict, investigate the preparations for housing and feeding civilians who are sure to be displaced if the war's frontline hits their homes, and warn of human rights disasters in the making. Based in Arbil, a Kurdish city near the frontline of Iraqi-controlled territory, Stover said he had visited two encampments set up along the frontline for displaced civilians, but found a mere 10 tents for what could be thousands of people escaping the battlefront. In addition, the encampments lack functional sanitation facilities, setting the stage for possible spread of disease. "The potential for a humanitarian crisis is always present so long as the war continues," said Stover, an adjunct professor since 1996 in UC Berkeley's School of Public Health. That year, he also became head of the campus's Human Rights Center, part of International and Area Studies. The center conducts research on international human rights and humanitarian law. Stover said many of the displaced people have found shelter in the homes of Iraqi Kurds in Kurdish-controlled areas. Others have fled to caves or tented camps in the mountains of northern Iraq, where they are coping with freezing winter rains or snow. Stover well understands the fear Kurdish people have of an Iraqi attack. In December 1991, he led a delegation of forensic scientists to Iraq to assist the Kurdish government in the investigation of Kurds who had "disappeared" under Saddam Hussein's brutal Anfal campaign of forced relocation in the late 1980s. Some tens of thousands of Kurds were reportedly killed by the Iraqi government after they were driven out of their oil-rich land, but the exact number remains unknown, since many of the dead are believed to be buried in Iraqi government-controlled territory. In 1992, he testified before Congress about the mass killings in Iraq. Since returning to Iraq two weeks ago, Stover has joined Hania Mufti, the London director for the Middle East and Northern Africa division of Human Rights Watch, in interviewing displaced people about why they fled Iraqi-controlled areas, and documenting any human rights abuses. Stover related the account of one 23-year-old Kurd, Falah Hassan Kamazan, who fled the northern city of Kirkuk after members of Hussein's Ba'ath Party came to his house and told him to report to the city police station. At the station, he was to receive a uniform and be sent to the frontline. Kamazan managed to escape with his wife through the back door of his home, and paid smugglers to take them across the frontline. From there, Kurdish relief workers transported him and other internally displaced people into the Kurdish-controlled mountains in Diyana. Stover also reported that while U.S. and British soldiers work hard to distribute humanitarian aid packages in southern Iraq despite delays from underwater mines and sandstorms, Iraqi Kurdistan has been left to fend for itself. "The U.S. soldiers who are arriving here are preparing for a northern front and are not necessarily tasked to provide humanitarian aid to the Kurds," Stover said. "Virtually all foreign U.N. (United Nations) personnel and relief workers left when the war began. Humanitarian aid will be an uphill battle without the return of U.N. personnel to northern Iraq." Stover and Mufti have also been interviewing high-level Kurdish and opposition leaders about military plans for a northern front; their plans to adhere to the Geneva Conventions; and how they plan to deal with prisoners-of-war, avoid civilian casualties and prevent reprisal killings. A particularly risky flashpoint for inter-ethnic violence lies in Kirkuk and nearby villages, where an estimated 120,000 Kurds, Turkomans and Assyrians were driven out by Hussein's forces to gain control of the oil-rich region. In their place are resettled Arab families that face retaliatory attacks if the city falls. "Imagine what Kurds and other displaced ethnic groups would do if they returned to find a resettled family in the homes they were forced to leave," said Stover. "There doesn't appear to be any plan from the U.S. and coalition forces to deal with the likely violence and potential revenge killings by the returnees." Stover's work in the field of human rights over the past two decades necessarily takes him to areas of conflict. For example, as former executive director of Physicians for Human Rights, Stover investigated mass graves in Bosnia in the 1990s while serving as an "Expert on Mission" for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague. He also has investigated war crimes in Rwanda, Argentina and Guatemala. Stover plans to stay in Iraq at least until April 18, although his ability to leave will depend upon whether the border to the country closes, among other factors. "More than 1,000 U.S. paratroopers have landed at Harir airstrip just outside Arbil, and there are heavy U.S. air strikes taking place in Kirkuk and Mosul, not far from the frontline," Stover reported. "Things are definitely changing here." "For decades now, the Iraqis have suffered unspeakable crimes," Stover continued. "It is incumbent upon all sides in this war - the Americans, British and Iraqis - to take all measures necessary to prevent more bloodshed of innocent civilians."

Israel and Palestinian Authority

BBC 3 Mar 2003 Arafat accused of genocide Arafat is accused of masterminding attacks against Jews Seven French nationals have started legal action against the leader of the Palestinian Authority, Yasser Arafat, accusing him of crimes against humanity and genocide. The seven - all relatives of Jewish victims killed during the current Palestinian uprising, or intifada - said Mr Arafat was responsible for the crimes. "[Yasser] Arafat had the power and the means to stop acts of terrorism, murders and violence... [but] he organised and paid for them with the money of the Palestinian Authority," the seven families - all French Jews living in Israel - said in a statement. The statement said Mr Arafat did not have immunity of a head of state under French laws as there was no internationally recognised Palestinian state. A specially appointed judge must now determine whether the lawsuit can be accepted and pursued legally. 'Concerted plan' The statement said the suit included dozens of pages describing circumstances surrounding various "criminal acts, suicide bombings... and car bombs which caused death or injury to the victims of the crimes". It said video tapes of speeches at Gaza mosques "inciting directly and publicly to kill Jews" and some of Mr Arafat's speeches were also included. Lawyers for the plaintiffs said that as Jews, they considered themselves victims of "a concerted plan aimed at the partial destruction of a racial or religious group, which constitutes a genocide". The move follows the recent decision by a Belgian appeals courtto reject a lawsuit brought by Palestinians to prosecute Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for alleged war crimes. However, the Belgian parliament has not ruled out changing the country's laws to bring the case before the court. More than 1,800 Palestinians and more than 700 Israelis have been killed since the intifada began in September 2000.

Haaretz 6 Mar 2003 Jewish Agency plans fast-track conversion for immigrants from CIS By Amiram Barkat The Jewish Agency is readying a quick conversion course for non-Jewish immigrants from the Commonwealth of Independent States. According to the plan, dubbed Mt. Sinai, a special camp will be opened in an East European country, where immigrants on their way to Israel would spend four weeks in an intensive course that would climax in a conversion by Orthodox rabbis from Israeli rabbinical courts. Special panels of rabbis will be flown to the camps from Israel. The four-week course would be much speedier than the six months or more it takes to convert in Israel. Several well-known rabbis in the Orthodox establishment have agreed in principle to take part. At this stage, the program is planned for 150-200 new immigrants, but if the plan works, agency officials believe thousands could be converted in the program. Opening the quick conversion route is a dramatic step for the agency, and is meant to help new immigrants bypass the bottleneck in the rabbinical courts in Israel. Despite mounting public pressure, the rabbinical courts refuse to change their policies and only convert a few hundred people a year from the former Soviet Union. The special seminar for conversions, based on recommendations by a commission headed by attorney Yaakov Neeman, has not made a dramatic change in those numbers, despite its original promise to do so. Estimates put the number of non-Jewish immigrants in Israel at some 250,000 to 300,000, and agency activists call it a "ticking social bomb." Three key people are behind the plan. Sallai Meridor, the agency chairman, decided to "break the rules" with the rabbinical courts, accusing them of "an inhumane attitude" toward immigrants and conducting a policy "against the national interests of the state." The plan's second key personage is Prime Minster Ariel Sharon, who declared last week to the agency's board of governors that he regards finding a solution to the conversion problem as a top priority. "Meridor would not have set the plan in motion without backing from the prime minister," said a source knowledgeable about the program. The third person is Neeman. The board of governors has named a committee, which he will head, to examine the conversion issue and its possible solutions. There is also no doubt that the appointment of Shinui's Avraham Poraz as interior minister will greatly smooth the way for the program, compared to his predecessor, Eli Yishai of Shas. The decision to conduct the conversions in an Eastern European country rather than in Russia or another of the CIS countries was made to avoid suspicions in those countries the agency was encouraging citizens of those states to emigrate to Israel. Although theoretically it would be possible to convert immigrants already in Israel, by way of the same program, there are no plans yet to do so, to avoid a direct clash with the rabbinical courts. In the 1970s, during the first wave of Soviet immigrants, a similar plan was tried, using Israeli rabbis overseas to convert new immigrants. But that program was only partially successful, because many of the rabbis involved were not considered authoritative enough for the Orthodox establishment in Israel so they did not recognize many of the conversions. To avoid that eventuality, this time the agency decided to work with rabbis whose authority is unassailable and the agency is keeping their identities secret for now, to prevent the chief rabbinate from applying pressure on them. Agency spokesman Ephraim Lapid said the agency regards the issue of conversion as "highly important. The board of governors, which convened last week in Jerusalem, decided to advance the subject with the government and to appoint a committee headed by Prof. Neeman to recommend ways to improve the conversion process." Neeman's office had no comment.

Ha'aretz 5 Mar 2003 Back Home People and Politics Settlers voted with their feet By Akiva Eldar As reported here last week, if Prime Minister Ariel Sharon were really interested in dismantling the 32 blatantly illegal outposts and dozens more that were retroactively legitimized, he wouldn't have to wait for Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz to finish "studying the issue." All the necessary information, including the dates the outposts were resurrected, following an agreement between former prime minister Ehud Barak and the Yesha Council on October 14, 1999, to dismantle them, appear proudly on the regional authorities' websites. There's data on the number of mobile homes and trailers as well as the number of people living in each of the wildcat settlements. There are also details about Housing Ministry plans for building entire neighborhoods for the communities of lawbreakers. The rising wave in the territories' real estate markets seemingly should be the envy of Jerusalem's contractors, who have been suffering from an unprecedented recession during the last two years. And the arguments raised by the prime minister to the Americans regarding the "road map" and the loan guarantees give the impression that masses of Israelis are suffering from a housing crisis and are banging down the doors of construction companies in Ariel, Immanuel and Nahliel (yes, there's a settlement named that). But it turns out that there's also no need for a detective agency to find data that points to a totally different despair. According to Central Elections Committee official data, Israelis living in those settlements and many others are voting with their feet against the settlements. The most interesting finding in comparing voting rates in the settlements during the last three elections is that there's been a journey westward, to Israel, out of all of the settlements - secular, religious, Haredi and mixed. In the last two years, hundreds of families have given up the hope they'll get compensation for their property in the event of an official evacuation. There are constant reports of luxury homes in the Jordan Valley, Samaria, Judea and Gaza that are being sold at low prices. And now everything's documented. Prof. Amiram Goldblum of Peace Now recently presented Labor Party Chairman Amram Mitzna with eye-opening tables showing a trend in which people are leaving Jewish settlements in the territories. The meeting took place following reports that Mitzna told Sharon, after having visited the nothern Samarian settlements of Ganim and Kadim, that settlers from another nearby settlement, Rimonim, had complained to him that they couldn't afford to leave their homes because there were no buyers, and they didn't have the money to buy or rent inside Israel. Mitzna proposed to Sharon that the government subsidize settlers who want to return to Israel; Sharon didn't respond. Whenever an Israeli politician or a foreign statesman lets the demand to freeze the settlements cross his or her lips, Sharon pulls out the story of the soldiers who get out of the army, and all they want to do is start a family near their parents' home in Itamar, Adva or Ma'ale Amos. The prime minister's heart goes out to them. What's transfer if not keeping children away from the warm hearths of their parents' homes? But according to the CEC numbers from the last election, which gave Sharon a resounding victory, Israeli families are transferring themselves on their own. The public discourse in Israel stubbornly evades the question of why the government prefers a young couple that decides to live in the heart of the territories over a young couple that did its part (and sometimes gave its blood) for the sake of the settlements, but decides it's time to leave. Are moving people from their homes to their country an act of transfer that should be condemned, while exploiting the economic weakness of people to prevent them from moving home a worthy Zionist act? Where have all the voters gone? A combination of the CEC's data and the impressions of Israelis and Palestinians in the territories yields the following picture: Israel and the Palestinian Authority, through their various factions, are making each other bleed in a war for control over the territories, while all those who can, from both sides, are leaving. Both Jewish and Arab communities in the West Bank and Gaza are gradually becoming places to live for either economic reasons or ideological ones. And then there are the thugs. Ordinary people looking for a better and safer life for themselves and their children, and who can afford to pack up their bags and go, are doing so. Palestinians from the middle and upper-middle class, mostly Christians, are moving overseas. Israeli civilians, the types who wanted a cheap house with a red roof, garden and a view, are also moving westward; some stop at the large settlements on the Green Line, others go all the way home, to Israel. Here are some highlights from the data: In 90 of the 140 settlements in the West Bank and Gaza, there was a decline in the average growth of eligible voters in the last two years compared to the previous two years. It's true across the entire spectrum of settlements. It's true that the overall growth rate of the settler population in the last two years is 5.9 percent, and that rate is closing in on the birthrate of the Palestinians. But 30 settlements saw a decline in the number of eligible voters between the 1999 and 2003 elections, or between 2001 and 2003. That's especially true for settlements deep within the territories. The extreme religious settlement Hagai saw a drop from 133 to 124 voters, while Rafah Yam's voter registration rolls plummeted from 120 to 76. In 49 settlements, there was a steeper drop in voter turnout for the Knesset in the 1999 elections compared to the national average. Only five settlements saw an increase. It is difficult to assume that settlers are less politically involved than the general population. The only logical explanation is that many of those who have left the territories have not changed their addresses for various reasons - tax breaks or the inability to sell their homes. Therefore, the Interior Ministry registered-voter lists tend to report more residents than actually live in the settlements. For example, it is difficult to assume that only 46 of the 116 registered voters of Yafit bothered to vote on election day. In Ma'ale Ephraim, there was a slight rise in the number of eligible voters, from 1,111 to 1,123, but the low turnout - 53 percent compared to 75 percent in 1999 - should raise suspicions. Is it possible that in a relatively small settlement, nearly every second resident stayed at home? A similar question arises from the voting rates at Ma'ale Amos, where turnout plummeted from 85 percent to 59 percent. There was a particularly low turnout, 57 percent, at Adura. Out of the 137 registered voters, only 78 turned up at the polls. But there have been consistent reports that following the grave terror attack at the settlement and the discovery that some residents had sold munitions to Palestinians, only 26 families remain. Apparently at Adura, as elsewhere, good citizens who left the settlement made the trip back - on their own or with the help of others - to the settlement to fulfill their democratic duty. There's a particularly odd set of figures from Ariel. The number of eligible voters registered in the city grew between the 1999 election and this year's vote by about 2,000 to 12,079. However, the turnout dropped from 79 percent to 65 percent, a more dramatic decline than any other settlement in the northern West Bank. Is it possible that hundreds of Ariel residents, who have moved back to Israel, are keeping their old addresses to enjoy the tax breaks, and don't even bother to go back to the town to vote?

Ha'aretz 6 Mar 2003 15 killed, 40 wounded in Haifa bus bomb By Uri Ash, Amos Harel and Aluf Benn Rescue workers arriving at the scene of yesterday's suicide bus bombing in Haifa in which 15 people were killed and more than 40 were wounded. (Photo: Ronen Lidor / Ma'ari) At least 15 people were killed and more than 40 wounded, some critically, in a suicide bombing yesterday afternoon at a main Egged bus line stop in central Haifa, ending nearly two months of relative quiet inside the Green Line. Only seven of the dead were identified as of press time last night. Among them were eight children and teenagers, and a father and son. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon convened the security cabinet last night for the first since the establishment of the new government. He told Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom to relay the message that the relative quiet during the last two months was the result of IDF and Shin Bet operations, and that international complaints over the harm caused to Palestinian civilians ignores the fact that such operations are meant to prevent terrorism like yesterday's bombing. The no. 37 bus route from Bat Galim near the port to Haifa University on the top of Mt. Carmel is widely used by students. At around 2:15 P.M., a bomb went off in the crowded bus when it stopped on Moriah St., halfway up the mountain. After questioning survivors, police believed the terrorist boarded the bus one or two stops before the bomb went off. The terrorist, who was killed in the blast, was identified by Israeli sources as 21-year-old Mahmoud Awad Kawasme, a Hamas member from Hebron who studied computer science at the city's Polytechnic Institute. The army arrested Kawasme's father and two brothers last night in Hebron. Security officials still do not know how Kawasme made his way from Hebron to Haifa, but he apparently was aided and abetted by Hamas activists on the way. Security sources said the army would continue its broad operations against Hamas, particularly in Gaza. Palestinian sources last night reported Israeli troop movements toward the Jabalya refugee camp in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. The move on the camp comes as part of the IDF's ongoing efforts to subdue Qassam rocket attacks and other terrorist activity emanating from Gaza. The move would be the fourth major operation in Gaza in the last three weeks, along with several smaller operations. The operation, which was approved yesterday morning, is not expected to last more than a day, and is not in retaliation for yesterday's suicide bombing. Before last night's cabinet session, ministers did not demand an immediate harsh reaction but rather supported continuation of the current policy of applying military pressure on Hamas. Twenty nine people were arrested yesterday in the territories, including a rare IDF incursion into Jericho, where a wanted man was detained. Israel is expected to avoid any major departure from its current policies to prevent any obstruction to two upcoming major events: the U.S. assault on Iraq and a meeting of the Palestinian Legislative Council to ratify the appointment of a Palestinian prime minister, which Israel hopes will lead to a gradual reduction in PA Chairman Yasser Arafat's powers. "I was watching the bus, because I wanted to pull into the road, and then there was an enormous explosion and the bus blew up," said Dror Melamed. "I turned the wheel and pulled over, and then ran to the bus and went inside. There was a boy, his leg was caught under the seat. He shouted `get me out of here.' We moved the seat and freed him. There were so many wounded, I didn't know what to do. Then a fire started. I got a fire extinguisher from my car and tried to put out the flames. At the time, I wasn't thinking about whether there might be another bomb." "I was inside the bus about 20 or 30 seconds after the explosion," said Itzik Azoulai, who works at a WIZO branch a few meters away from where the bus, its roof torn open like a sardine can, exploded. "I sprayed water from the hose at the branch, and ran to bring a fire extinguisher," he said. "We began dealing with the wounded, using what we learned in the army - blocking arteries, bandaging. There were shocking sites. A young boy was hurt badly and looked me straight in the eye. You don't know what to do." Israel Police Inspector-General Shlomo Aharonishki said the bomb was "medium sized," in the 10-15 kilogram range. It destroyed the bus, blowing out all the windows, with pieces of bus - and human parts - scattered along the road on both sides of the divided road. Many apartments, mostly to the right of the bus, lost their windows and plastic shutters. Even on the other side of the street, windows were broken and shutters were damaged by shrapnel. According to Police Northern Commander Yaakov Borovsky, "a terrorist does not arrive alone... we're looking into who could have been his accomplices." But as of last night, there was little progress in making a breakthrough.

Ha'Aretz, 6 March, 2003 Murder of a population under cover of righteousness By Shulamit Aloni We do not have gas chambers and crematoria, but there is no one fixed method for genocide. Dr. Ya’akov Lazovik writes (“Academic Genocide”, “Ha’Aretz”, 4 March) that in the State of Israel it is impossible that the regime and the nation will plan and commit a genocide. It is difficult to determine if this is naïveté or self-righteousness. As we know, there is no single fixed method for murder and not even for genocide. The author I. L. Peretz wrote about “the righteous cat” who does not spill blood, but only suffocates her prey. The government of Israel, using the military and its instruments of destruction, is not only spilling blood, but it is also suffocating. What other name can be given to the dropping of a one-tonne bomb over a dense urban area, when the justification uttered is that we wanted to murder a dangerous terrorist and his wife? The rest of the citizens who were killed and injured, among whom are children and women, do not count, of course. How is it possible to explain the expulsion of citizens from their homes at three o’clock in the morning on a rainy night, then depositing bombs in the house and then departing without warning? When those expelled returned to their home, the bombs were exploded and a brutal murder and destruction of property was thus committed. And what is the justification for what happened in Jenin? We did not destroy the whole neighbourhood, just 85 houses; it was not slaughter, we killed only 50-some citizens. How many does one need to murder and destroy in one swoop for it to be a crime? – A crime against humanity, as determined by the Laws of the State of Israel, not only the laws of Belgium. And more: A curfew and closure of an entire city so that a few celebrants from the racist bunch of settlers in Hebron could walk to the Cave of the Patriarchs, and tanks destroying fruit and vegetable stands, and bulldozers that destroy houses, and Generals who, in their arrogant hubris, are willing to destroy a whole neighbourhood and ancient houses for the convenience of a group of settler hooligans. Curfew, closure, brutality, murder, destruction of homes of suspects, while we keep parroting the incantation that a person is innocent until proven otherwise (as in the case of our Prime Minister and his sons). The order that Ariel Sharon gave to the soldiers who went to wreak revenge in Qibiah: “Maximize losses in life and property”, has not been forgotten. Today Sharon, Mofaz and Yaalon, the three Generals who manage the policy of this government, behave like that self-righteous cat - suffocating all the time. Curfew and another curfew, arrests and more arrests, destruction of roads, brutality to the residents at road stops. Benny Alon, (a minister in the present government), already said: “make their life so bitter that they will transfer themselves willingly”. This is done on a daily basis, in addition to the destruction. The Chief of Staff, Yaalon, already announced that he is “destroying for re-building”. One can understand from his moves that the “building” is building of more and more settlements. So that they will not be obliged, as military rulers, to take care of the residents’ welfare, the army uses sorties, followed by retreats. They enter a village, they kill, they destroy and they arrest, and then they retreat. Those who remain on the ashes and the ruins will take care of themselves. Many of our children are being indoctrinated, in religious schools, that the Arabs are Amalek, and the bible teaches us that Amalek must be destroyed. There was already a rabbi (Israel Hess) who wrote in the newspaper of Bar Ilan University that we all must commit genocide because his research showed that the Palestinians are Amalek. The nation is not planning to commit genocide; the nation really does not want to know what’s happening in the territories. The nation is following orders given by the legitimate representatives of the regime. After the legitimate Prime Minister who wanted to bring peace was murdered, the hand is loose on the trigger, greed is paramount, and there is always some reason to brutalise all of the residents of a city that number tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, because there are always people there who are on the “wanted” list. It is sufficient that one person is wanted for us to bomb and kill, by mistake, of course, also women, children, workers and other humans – if indeed we still count them as humans. Of course with our self-righteousness, with our self-adoration in our “Jewish ethics” we make sure to advertise how beautifully the doctors take care of Palestinian victims in the hospitals. We do not advertise how many of those are executed in cold blood in their own homes. So it’s not yet genocide of the terrible and unique style of which we were past victims. And as one of the smart Generals told me, we do not have crematoria and gas chambers. Does that mean that anything less than crematoria and gas chambers is consistent with Jewish ethics? Did he not hear how an entire people claimed that it did not know what was done in its name? Shulamit Aloni is a human rights activist, and a legal scholar. She was a member of the Israeli parliament (Kenneset) and served in the Israeli government as Minister of Education from 1992 to 1995, and then as Minister of Communications, Science and Culture from 1995 to 1996. She is a winner of the Israel Prize. She was the former leader of the Meretz left wing party. http://www.knesset.gov.il/mk/eng/exmk_eng.asp?ID=132

Israel Insider 13 Mar 2003 (http://web.israelinsider.com) Terrorism, genocide and Palestinianism By Stuart E. Hersh March 13, 2003 The Shabbat terrorist infiltration of the Kiryat Arba community near Hebron, which occurred only a few yards away from my apartment, was the worst of several attacks on Kiryat Arba. The Palestinian terrorists, disguised as Jewish Yeshiva students, were able to penetrate deep into the community. They struck first at the Nir Yeshiva, then came within 50 yards of my apartment, choosing a closer apartment and killing a husband and wife as they were enjoying their Shabbat meal. The injured were all students at the Yeshiva, which, like the 1929 Hebron massacre, was the first target. Despite the excellent security measures in Kiryat Arba, the violence will continue. No "Roadmap" or U.S. intervention will alter that reality. This recent terrorist attack gave pause to reflect upon some of the e-mails received over the past few years. Some people have written to me asking why we are living in a "foxhole" on the front lines. The only logical answer that came to mind is that it is not safe anywhere in Israel - as this past week has shown. Since we have an IDF base and two police stations, as well as a fully equipped emergency treatment clinic staffed by professionals, we are probably the most secure West Bank Jewish community outside Efrat. The reality is, however, that this is where we make our stand. Terrorism cannot be regarded as a spontaneous or impulsive action. Nor is its justification acceptable, regardless of the expression formulated to describe the action. "Resistance" and "martyrdom" are no more valid than Nazi Germany's "Lebensraum" or Imperial Japan's "co-prosperity sphere." Much of the core problem lies beneath the surface. We are fighting a war against a people who believe that violence is the legitimate and only means of diplomacy, reflected in the "Bible" of Palestinian Nationalism - Article 9 of the PLO Covenant - and who view diplomacy-terrorism as a means to pressure Israel to capitulate. I am convinced that the Arab attitude is genocidal with regard to the Jews in general, and the citizens of Israel in particular. It has nothing to do with a small sliver of territory under Israel's control since 1967. The idea that Jews live anywhere in Israel is an anathema to the Arab mind and the legitimacy of Israel's existence is rejected on principle alone. Terrorist organizations such as Hamas, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), to name a few, merely serve as the means of institutionalizing ideology, equipping, planning and financing the terrorism. The intrinsic Arab attitude has already been made fertile for these ideologies to nurture and grow. It is a fundamental principle of Arab identity - Israel is illegitimate, Israel must cease to exist, Israel exists because Jews live there. For Israel to be liquidated the Jewish body politic must die. This is the central tenet and logic of the institutionalized attitude, not a strategy. "Roadmaps," removing Arafat from power, Vice Presidents and democratic reform are Western concepts that are useless in the Middle East. In the mind of an Arab whose attitude is as ethno-centric as his 17th century predecessors, Western concepts are to be rejected. The intrinsic principle of Arabism is that the existence of Israel and its Jewish population constitute an obstacle to the maximal achievement of Arab and Palestinian character and regional homogeneity. Thus, the Arab and Palestinian nationalist objective is the destruction of Israel which, dialectically, necessitates the liquidation of its population. That said, Arab and Palestinian nationalisms contain, as a pillar of their existence, an inherent and intrinsic genocidal element. In short, what the late former head of Israeli Intelligence Yehoshafat Harkabi referred to as "politicide," appears to be a justification for genocide. Arab and Palestinian nationalism is a product of an evolution that began before Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat, before the late President of Egypt Gamal Abdel Nasser, and before Hajj Amin al-Husseini, former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem who openly collaborated with Hitler during World War ll. The Arabs and Palestinians have passed on this politicidal-genocidal ideology from generation to generation. This ideology has become institutionalized as the nucleus of Arab and Palestinian national identities. It has become the ideology that justifies Arab and Palestinian viewpoints and actions. This attitude is what must be radically altered if there is to be any peace in the region. The current plans on the international table are simply cosmetic changes that will not alter the violent reality. They are the brainchild of a world that believes that Western orientation is the only logical means to resolve conflicts. This, despite the fact that the Arab-Moslem mind has long ago rejected such orientation. What should be unequivocally clear is that this politicidal-genocidal attitude will not change, and with each generation it becomes more institutionalized in ideology and tactically more radical. Without a radical alteration of the Arab attitude, the achievement of peace and an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict is simply an illusion. Stuart E. Hersh is a political psychologist by education and a journalist by profession. He served as a volunteer for the Israeli Police and was deputy commander of a special unit of the Civil Guard. On September 4, 1997, he was wounded in a multiple suicide bombing attack on Ben-Yehuda Mall in Jerusalem. He currently resides in Kiryat Arba.

Ha'aretz 13 Mar 2003 JAG: 'Pinpoint prevention' could end up in new International Court By Moshe Gorali Judge Advocate General Maj. Gen. Menachem Finkelstein predicted yesterday that "as far as the international criminal court is concerned, there is no fear of prosecution of mid- and low- ranking soldiers. If there is a problem, it will be about the system and not a particular case." Speaking at a Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center conference on Israel and the new court, Finkelstein added that the methods that might come under the court's purview include what Israel refers to as "pinpoint prevention," a euphemism for assassinating terrorists and terrorist commanders. While Israeli courts have approved their legality, "there could be arguments that they contravene international law." The court recently launched its activities after its justices were selected, but it cannot begin work until a general prosecutor is appointed to coordinate its investigative and prosecutorial authority. "That will be the most powerful person in the world," predicted Prof. Yoram Shahar at the conference. The leading candidate for the job is South African Justice Richard Goldstone, who was the chief prosecutor at the special war crimes tribunal established for Yugoslav war criminals. Meanwhile he is rebuffing pressure to take up the post. Alan Baker, the Foreign Ministry's legal advisor, said that Goldstone, a Jew, had recently appeared on Belgian TV and spoke in favor of putting Premier Ariel Sharon on trial for his alleged involvement in the Sabra and Chatila massacres of Beirut during Israel's occupation of the city in 1982. An Israeli, attorney Nick Kaufman is soon to join the Hague court dealing with Yugoslavia. Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein said Israel refuses to join the international criminal court treaty "because we have a responsibility toward the IDF, security officials and the political echelon to protect them against fabricated enforcement. As Jews, it was important for us to join the tribunal that combats war crimes, but we voted against because of the political intrusions that ruled Jewish settlement in the territories is a war crime." Rubinstein said that in 1997 the U.S. asked Israel to try Pol Pot, the deposed Cambodian leader, on charges of crimes against humanity, using the Israeli law that enabled the prosecution of Adolf Eichman. The U.S. had a chance to capture Pol Pot, but would only do so if he could be prosecuted. At the time there were only five countries, including Israel, that had a universal law on its books. All turned down the request and Pol Pot died within a few months as a free man.

Al-Ahram EG 13 - 19 March 2003 Issue No. 629 Protection does not apply Israel can demolish the homes of its Arab citizens and spray their crops with toxins because even the law does not recognise the rights of non-Jews. Jonathan Cook reports from Kafr Qassem. In the struggle for what little is left of world attention when all eyes are on Iraq, one Palestinian's suffering must compete with another's, one tragedy overshadows the next. The pain of each is seen in isolation, a separate case crying out for more or less sympathy, with a stronger or weaker claim on our compassion. Some instances of such suffering are not even understood as Palestinian. Last week the media reported that the UN children's agency UNICEF had criticised the Israeli army for demolishing a home in Bureij refugee camp in the Gaza Strip on 3 March that led to a building collapsing on a pregnant 37-year-old woman, Noha Sabri Sweidan. The mother of 10 bled to death under the ruins. The men in military uniform who sent the explosives experts into the camp were doubtless driven by the same blinkered logic that the day before, 2 March, prompted other men, this time in suits, to send bulldozers into the village of Kafr Qassem to demolish 18 cinderblock houses, wrecking the lives of 18 families. The incident went almost entirely unnoticed. Kafr Qassem is in Israel, though only a few hundred metres from the West Bank, and the inhabitants are all Israeli citizens. What connects Kafr Qassem and Bureij camp is that both are Palestinian communities, albeit on different sides of the Green Line. Two days later, on 4 March, a different group of men in suits sent a fleet of helicopters into the Negev, the belly of each aircraft filled with pesticides. Over fields next to the Bedouin village of Abda, they spilt their toxic loads. Like the villagers of Kafr Qassem, the Bedouin of Abda are citizens of Israel but the pilots did not hesitate before releasing the chemicals over the villagers' crops nor did they worry that the fine mist was falling to earth where 10 young children were playing. This incident also went largely unreported. The men in suits from the Israel Lands Authority (ILA) had not told the villagers of Abda that they were coming to destroy 1,500 dunums (375 acres) of crops, or that they would be sending helicopters armed with pesticides. The Bedouin residents, who claim rights to the land their tribe has farmed for generations, live in one of several dozen villages the 55-year-old state of Israel refuses to recognise. The Bedouin themselves are recognised: they must pay taxes. But they have no right to build homes on or farm their historic lands. The villages of tents and huts in which they live are not entitled to local services, including water and electricity, or to schools and doctors. The threat of demolition hangs constantly over the house of every one of them. This was not the first time the Israel Lands Authority, a government agency that owns and controls most land inside Israel, has sprayed Bedouin crops. Last year, on 14 February, a group of its planes sprayed a total of 12sq km of Bedouin lands in the Negev. That action was carried out shortly after the ILA sent a letter to the Adalah legal centre for the Arab minority in Israel promising that it would not use such tactics to try to pressure Bedouin to move off land to which the state says they have no rights. Apparently the ILA's word not only meant nothing in 2002; a year later it was just as worthless. Israel's liberal laws do not apply to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Legal codes designed to offer protection to civilians can always be overruled, annulled or postponed in favour of a more pressing military order, or in the name of security. Israel's judges readily uphold such exemptions, as the family of Noha Sabri Sweidan will discover if it seeks accountability, or compensation, for her death in Bureij camp. For Palestinian citizens of Israel, these laws do apply, formally providing the same protection offered to Jewish citizens. But somehow in the planning, implementation and enforcement stages, different criteria are used. The difference of outcome experienced by Jewish and Arab citizens is rarely challenged successfully in Israeli courts. Fifty-year-old Souheil Taha did not see the destruction of his home, into which he had pumped 20 years of his savings and in which he was living with his wife and eight-year-old son. He was arrested as some 200 policemen flooded the outskirts of Kafr Qassem at 3am on 2 March and taken to nearby Petah Tikva police station. His wife and son were also spared. "By chance they were staying at her uncle's for the night," he said. "I didn't want the boy seeing the destruction so I rang from my cell to tell her not to go back home. "I've spent $60,000 on the house and was starting work on the second floor to give to my son when he marries. How do I tell him that nothing of the house now exists?" Taha built his home on land that has been owned by his family for generations and on which the olive trees his ancestors planted still grow. The land is included in the masterplan of his village of Kafr Qassem. So why was it illegal for him to build? Because the state, through wholesale land confiscations from Arab villages and landholders, now owns some 93 per cent of the land -- held not on behalf of its citizens but in trust for the Jewish people. The state decides what is legal and illegal, what land can be built on and what cannot, what land can be farmed and what cannot. It decides when permits will be given to Arabs and when they will be given to Jews. And if a Jew and an Arab build illegally, it decides through the ILA whether to pursue a demolition order. It also decides whether to implement that order. And if there is an appeal to the courts it chooses whether to abide by the ruling or ignore it. Every layer of this Kafkaesque system defeated Taha and the 17 other families. His land was confiscated by the ILA in the early 1970s and zoned as agricultural rather than building land, even though it was within the boundaries of the village. Later the ILA decided that the land could be leased for 49 years -- and Taha's home made legal -- if each family paid a fine of more than $100,000. The 18 families did not have that kind of money, so the ILA took them to court in July 2002. The court in Petah Tikva agreed that the homes were illegal but did not issue a demolition order. A further hearing in December in Kfar Sava ruled that all activities at the site -- both building work and the threatened destruction -- were frozen until September 2003, giving time for the two sides to negotiate over the fine. Six months early the ILA, supported by the police, decided to take action unilaterally and in defiance of the court hearing. Claims that Israel's laws are liberal and fair remain untarnished; in both Abda and Kafr Qassem, the policy of discrimination can be concealed in the bureaucratic procedures of implementation and enforcement. Hanna Sweid, mayor of the Galilean village of Eilaboun, is one of only two Arabs sitting on the 32-member panel of the National Planning and Building Council, which establishes Israel's development strategy. He says a survey carried out by the government-appointed Gazit Committee three years ago revealed that there were some 50,000 illegal structures built across the country, half in Arab towns and villages and half in Jewish areas, particularly in the agricultural communities of the moshav and kibbutz. The reason for unlicensed building in each community was different. Jews resented buying permits and paid only if the illegal building was detected. Although Arabs equally begrudged the permit system, particularly for land they considered historically theirs, they usually were not given then option of paying. Because the planning authorities refused to provide their areas with municipal zoning plans, they had no choice but to build illegally. All Arab development was effectively criminalised. Sweid says there is another difference. "Most Jewish unlicensed building is either retroactively approved or a demolition order is never issued," he said. "I am hard pushed to recall instances of the buildings of Jews being destroyed." In contrast, the majority of the 25,000 illegal Arab buildings -- some 8 per cent of all Arab homes -- have demolition orders hanging over them and a steady number are razed each year for "deterrence value", says Sweid. "In the mid-1990s there were tens of Arab houses being demolished each year. Then it gradually tailed off until there were some five or so cases recorded annually. But in the last three years the rate of destruction has been stepped up dramatically. Excluding the Negev, more than 50 houses are being demolished each year. Including the Negev the figures are far higher." More than 70 homes were demolished in the Negev over a two-month period last summer alone. Israel set a new precedent last month by demolishing a Bedouin mosque at the unrecognised village of Tel Al-Milleh. The villagers had been forced to build the mosque illegally because the state refused to provide them with anywhere to pray. The discriminatory demolition policy, says Sweid, can be maintained because Jews dominate the National Planning Council and the next layer of the planning authorities, the six powerful Regional Planning Committees. They approve local zoning masterplans, decide on building permit policy and allocate resources. Each committee has 17 members. The best Arab representation is to be found in the northern district, covering the Galilee, half of whose population is Arab. It has two members -- increased from one after the government was taken to court. The other districts have either one or no Arab members. The southern district which determines policy towards 140,000 Bedouin in the Negev has no Arab representative. Sweid says the result is that Israel seeks to deal with Arab building not through planning solutions but through demolitions. Not one new Arab town or village has been approved in the 55 years since Israel was created. "The government's strategic goal is to use force to stop all expansion by Arab communities, to prevent us claiming any more land than the 3 per cent which has not yet been confiscated." He points out that Israel claims a right to extra territory to cope with the "natural growth" of the illegal settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. "Israel wants both the settlements and the kibbutz inside Israel to take as much land as possible and for us to be squeezed."

WP 17 Mar 2003 American Is Killed By Israeli Bulldozer Student Was Protesting Demolitions By Molly Moore ; Page A15 JERUSALEM, March 16 -- A 23-year-old American protesting the demolition of Palestinians' houses in the Gaza Strip was killed today by an Israeli military bulldozer that crushed her body as she crouched in its path, according to witnesses from her pro-Palestinian organization. Rachel Corrie, a college student from Olympia, Wash., was the first international protester to be killed during the 30-month conflict between Israelis and Palestinians here, although numerous protesters have been injured, arrested or ordered out of the country by Israeli authorities. "This was a very regrettable incident," said Capt. Jacob Dallal, an Israeli military spokesman. "We're dealing with a group of protesters acting very irresponsibly, putting everyone in danger -- the Palestinians, themselves and our forces." Corrie, who had been in the Middle East for about six weeks as a volunteer for a U.S.-based Palestinian support group called the International Solidarity Movement, was kneeling in front of the bulldozer and tried to scramble out of its way, said Tom Dale, 18, a British protester who said he was standing several yards away. "She thought they'd stop, but they kept going," Dale said. "She tried to stand up and fell over backwards. The bulldozer dragged her under its blade. About four of the internationals [protesters] gestured to the driver . . . but it kept going, and she was under the main body of the bulldozer. "I couldn't believe it. I was sure the bulldozer would stop," he said, adding that "when we arrived she was still alive but had blood all over her face." An official at the nearby hospital where she was taken said Corrie died of skull injuries and chest fractures. Dale said eight representatives of the international group were near the bulldozer during its operations late this afternoon. But he said no other demonstrators were within several yards of Corrie as she knelt in the rubble between a Palestinian's house and a metal wall that Israel is erecting along the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. Dale said Corrie was wearing a bright orange vest. The Israeli military forces were removing shrubbery in the border area and were approached by the protesters, according to a statement released by the military tonight. Troops ordered the demonstrators to move back, the statement said. "An initial inquiry indicates that an Israeli bulldozer apparently accidentally ran over a protester," the statement continued, adding, "The windows of the bulletproof bulldozer are very small and the visibility is very limited, and the bulldozer operator did not see the woman." The military "expresses sorrow" and is investigating the incident, the statement said. "It's possible they [the protesters] were not as disciplined as we would have liked," Thom Saffold, a founder and organizer of the International Solidarity Movement, said in a telephone interview from the group's base in Ann Arbor, Mich. "But we're like a peace army. Generals send young men and women off to operations, and some die." Saffold said 30 to 50 volunteers from the group are in the Palestinian territories, many of them focused on protesting the Israeli military's destruction of Palestinians' houses in the Gaza Strip. Ben Granby, who volunteers with the group in the southern Gaza town of Rafah, called Corrie "remarkably brave." "She didn't seem too fazed by all the gunfire and the danger," said Granby, 27, who recently went home to Madison, Wis., after spending the first week of March with Corrie in Gaza. In an interview with reporters on Friday, Corrie said: "I feel like what I'm witnessing here is a very systematic destruction of people's ability to survive." Anne Fischel, a faculty member at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., where Corrie was a student, said that many people had asked Corrie whether she had thought through her plan to go to Gaza "and what her support system would be there. But did we tell her not to go? No. If we had, she would have done it anyway. She was following her own convictions." A U.S. Embassy spokesman declined to comment on the incident but said the State Department has warned Americans not to travel to the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Two Palestinian men also died in separate incidents in the Gaza Strip late this evening. An 18-year-old man was shot to death in a clash involving Israeli soldiers, and a 43-year-old man was hit by Israeli gunfire as he stood in his doorway, according to Palestinian media reports. Staff writer Blaine Harden in Seattle contributed to this report.

Japan (see Peru)


NYT 6 Mar 2003 Online Newspaper Shakes Up Korean Politics By HOWARD W. FRENCH SEOUL, South Korea — For years, people will be debating what made this country go from conservative to liberal, from gerontocracy to youth culture and from staunchly pro-American to a deeply ambivalent ally — all seemingly overnight. For most here, the change is symbolized by the election in December of Roh Moo Hyun, a reformist lawyer with a disarmingly unfussy style who at 56 is youthful by South Korean political standards. But for many observers, the most important agent of change has been the Internet. By some measures, South Korea is the most wired country in the world, with broadband connections in nearly 70 percent of households. In the last year, as the elections were approaching, more and more people were getting their information and political analysis from spunky news services on the Internet instead of from the country's overwhelmingly conservative newspapers. Most influential by far has been a feisty three-year-old startup with the unusual name of OhmyNews. Around election time the free online news service was registering 20 million page views per day. Although things have cooled down a bit, even these days the service averages about 14 million visits daily, in a country of only about 40 million people. The online newspaper, which began with only four employees, started as a glimmer in the eye of Oh Yeon Ho, now 38, a lifelong journalistic rabble rouser who wrote for underground progressive magazines during the long years of dictatorship here. Its name, OhmyNews, a play on the expression "Oh my God!" which entered the Korean language by way of a comedian who popularized it around the time the online service was founded in 2000. Although the staff has grown to 41, from the beginning the electronic newspaper's unusual concept has been to rely mostly on contributions from ordinary readers all over the country, who send dispatches about everything from local happenings and personal musings to national politics. Only 20 percent of the paper each day is written by staff journalists. So far, a computer check shows, there have been more than 10,000 other bylines. The newspaper deals with questions of objectivity and accuracy by grading articles according to their content. Those that are presented as straight news are fact-checked by editors. Writers are paid small amounts, which vary according to how the stories are ranked, using forestry terminology, from "kindling" to "rare species." "My goal was to say farewell to 20th-century Korean journalism, with the concept that every citizen is a reporter," said Mr. Oh, a wiry, intense man whose mobile phone never stops ringing — and who insists his name has no connection with the newspaper's. "The professional news culture has eroded our journalism," he said, "and I have always wanted to revitalize it. Since I had no money, I decided to use the Internet, which has made this guerrilla strategy possible." The kind of immediacy this brand of journalism can bring to a story was brought home again in late January by the dispatches of a firefighter from the central city of Taegu, who sent gripping accounts of the subway arson disaster there, which killed nearly 200 people. More pertinent to the impact OhmyNews has had on the country's political culture were reports the service ran last summer after two schoolgirls were crushed to death by a United States Army armored vehicle on patrol. OhmyNews's reports of the incident were widely seen as forcing the hand of the mainstream media to pay attention to a story that conservative tradition here suggests they might have been inclined to ignore. The rest is, as they say, history: a series of demonstrations against the Army presence here snowballed in the fall and winter, becoming a huge national movement that many see as having propelled the candidacy of Mr. Roh. The new president was, until then, a relative unknown and third in a field of three major candidates. If no one else caught on to this link, Mr. Roh appears to have. After his election, he granted OhmyNews the first interview he gave to any Korean news organization. For Mr. Oh, the story of the American military accident had echoes of one of his first big scoops, a story he wrote as a little-known freelance journalist in 1994 on the No Gun Ri incident, a reported massacre of South Korean refugees by United States military forces who opened fire on them at a railroad trestle in the summer of 1950, during the Korean War. The South Korean press made almost no mention of his reports after he broke the story, but five years later The Associated Press wrote about the incident, winning a Pulitzer Prize for its subsequent investigation with American Army veterans. "Once the American media picked up the story, our mainstream newspapers wrote about No Gun Ri as if it was a fresh incident," Mr. Oh said. "This made me realize that we have a real imbalance in our media, 80 percent conservative and 20 percent liberal, and it needed to be corrected. My goal is 50-50." After he broke the No Gun Ri story, Mr. Oh went away to school in the United States, earning a master's degree at the conservative, explicitly Christian Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va., whose president is the evangelist pastor Pat Robertson. It might have seemed like an unlikely choice, but Mr. Oh said it was deliberate. "Pat Robertson and I are very different in temperament and ideology, but we are very similar in strategy," said Mr. Oh, who became what he calls a serious Christian during his stay in the United States. "They are very right-wing and wanted to overthrow what they saw as a liberal media establishment. I wanted to overthrow a right-wing media establishment, and I learned a lot from them." Although OhmyNews pays its staff less than reporters earn at the top South Korean newspapers, morale appears to very high. "Wherever I go, people ask me, `What about the pay?' " said Son Byung Kwan, 31, a reporter who helped break the story about the American soldiers' accident. "I took a 30 percent pay cut to work here, but things couldn't be better. My company is so famous that I have become well known, and best of all, my stories have real impact."


PTI 13 Mar 2003 Pakistan rejects Sinha's remarks as "ludicrous" Islamabad,Thursday, March 13, 2003: Pakistan has rejected as "ludicrous and self serving" External Affairs Minister Yaswant Sinha's assertion that Islamabad continued to be a sponsor of terrorism. "The Indian Minister's allegations amounted to the pot calling the kettle black," a Foreign Office statement said, reacting to Sinha's remarks in Parliament Wednesday that international community has recognised Pakistan as a sponsor of terrorism and is putting pressure on it to desist from doing so. "A leadership that falsifies history and promotes systematic harassment of its minorities cannot even be called civilised," the statement said. Alleging "genocide of Muslim minorities" in India, it said the country should be declared a terrorist state. Such statements from New Delhi "only revealed the bankruptcy of the Indian policy of tarnishing the image of Pakistan," it said. (PTI)

BBC 14 Mar 2003 Girl killed in Muharram clash A young girl has been killed and three women injured in Pakistan during a procession to mark the festival of Ashura, the climax of the Shia Muslim holy month of Muharram. Some Shias cut themselves with blades Reports say a tractor drove into the procession. Police say detained two people on the tractor who they say have connections with the banned hardline Sunni group, Sipah-e-Sahaba. Tight security has been in place across the country with more than 20,000 police and paramilitary patrolling the streets. In past years Ashura has been marked by violence between Sunnis and Shias. Ashura marks the final day Shia Muslims hold processions to mourn the death of Hussein, the grandson of the prophet Mohammed. Sectarian violence Across Pakistan thousands of Shias have engaged in passionate displays from beating their chests to frenzied flagellation, in which men hit themselves with knives and chains. The majority of Pakistani people are Sunni Muslim and, during sectarian violence, Shias have mostly been the victims. Violence between small numbers of extremists from both groups has claimed around 2,000 lives since the 1980s. In the capital, Islamabad, people were banned from watching the marches from rooftops to limit the possibility of attack. In Karachi, around 5,000 Shia followers took part in processions. Karachi has been the scene of considerable sectarian violence over the last 20 years. Protests Head of the Interior Ministry's Crisis Management Cell, Brigadier Javed Iqbal Cheema gave reassurances saying: "The security apparatus is well in place. Law enforcement agencies are very alert." Processions can become frenzied Some young Muslims used the event as an opportunity to express their fears over a US-led war with Iraq. They burned American flags and distributed anti-war leaflets. Meanwhile, in Indian-administered Kashmir the police halted attempts by Shia Muslims to hold a Muharram procession along a traditional route in Srinagar.


Reuters 4 Mar 2003 Airport Bomb in Philippines Kills 18, Wounds 100 Reuters Tuesday, March 4, 2003; 9:10 AM By John O'Callaghan MANILA (Reuters) - A bomb ripped through a crowd at an airport in the strife-torn southern Philippines on Tuesday, killing at least 18 people and wounding up to 100. At least one American was among the dead in the blast at the Davao international airport in the Mindanao region, where U.S. troops are training government troops to fight Muslim rebels. Three other Americans were wounded. It was not immediately clear if the Americans were tourists or people working in the Philippines. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said the blast was a "brazen act of terrorism which will not go unpunished." The bomb went off in the midst of scores of people who had taken refuge from a downpour in a shelter just outside the airport's arrival terminal. The blast in Davao, the Philippines' second-largest city, ripped through the roof of the shelter. Soon after that explosion, a home-made bomb went off outside a health center in the nearby town of Tagum, killing one person and wounding three, police said. The military said it had no suspects but suggested the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the largest of four Muslim separatist groups in the south of the mainly Roman Catholic country, was responsible. The rebels denied any involvement and no other group claimed responsibility. Davao, a gateway to Mindanao, has largely escaped the separatist violence which has plagued the region for decades. Doctors told radio stations in Manila that around 100 people had been wounded, 20 of them seriously. Many of those in hospital had shrapnel wounds, they said. The U.S. Embassy said one American was killed in the attack and three others were wounded. An embassy spokesman said he could not comment on what the Americans were doing in the area because of privacy concerns. BRAZEN ACT Arroyo called an emergency meeting of the cabinet oversight committee, which discusses internal security issues, for Tuesday evening, her office said in a statement. U.S. special forces are now on Mindanao, training Philippine units in counter-terrorism tactics in and around the city of Zamboanga, 350 km (220 miles) west of Davao. No one claimed responsibility for the blast in Davao, about 980 km (610 miles) south of Manila. Davao is the second-largest city, after the capital, Manila. The blast in Davao tore through a shelter about 15 meters (yards) from the airport's domestic terminal as people waited for arriving passengers. Initial reports said an explosive device was placed inside a black box inside or near the waiting area. "At the time that the bomb went off, it was raining and many people were seeking refuge from the rain in the waiting shed," Abner Mendador, a private pilot whose house is within the airport compound, said by telephone. Most of Davao's 1.2 million people are Christian but most of the Philippines' five million Muslims live in the Mindanao region. Philippine soldiers overran a key MILF stronghold near the town of Pikit in central Mindanao in mid-February after a week of intense fighting. The military has said several recent bombings, including an attack on power pylons that blacked out much of the island, were reprisal attacks by the MILF. On February 20, a bomb at a domestic airport near the city of Cotabato in central Mindanao killed one soldier and wounded six civilians. That attack was blamed on the MILF. The rebel group has denied aiming at civilians, saying its only target was the military.

AP 10 Mar 2003 Gunmen Kill 2 Hostages in Philippines By TERESA CEROJANO The Associated Press Monday, March 10, 2003; 12:21 AM Suspected Muslim separatist rebels seized a bus in the southern Philippines on Monday, and two people were killed before the gunmen escaped, authorities said. The bus was traveling between Cotabato City and Davao on the southern island of Mindanao when about 200 gunmen fired on the vehicle and forced about 40 passengers into a nearby school, said Mayor Farida Malingco of nearby Pikit town, 575 miles southeast of Manila. Officials at the scene said the gunmen introduced themselves as rebels of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and robbed the passengers of mobile phones, money and other belongings. Last week, suspected members of the same rebel group killed 21 people and injured more than 100 in a bomb blast at Davao airport, the nation's worst terrorist attack in three years. The group has been fighting for a separate Muslim homeland in the predominantly Roman Catholic Philippines for three decades. The gunmen fled on Monday as security forces approached about two hours after the seizure, Malingco said. One passenger - a soldier who was in civilian clothes but had a military ID - was shot in the head and died. A pro-government militiaman was also killed and five villagers wounded as troops, backed by two helicopter gunships, chased the attackers in Takepan village, about one mile from the attack site, officials said. Malingco said the other passengers were unharmed, along with other civilians in three cars also seized by the gunmen. "The civilians don't know the motive but they were just held there," she said, adding that there were no negotiations and the gunmen made no demands. Army Capt. Onting Alon, deputy spokesman of the army's 6th Infantry Division in the area, said he suspected the Moro rebels in the incident. Rebel spokesman Eid Kabalu denied involvement, but acknowledged the guerrillas were active in the area. The rebels are widely suspected of carrying out a series of recent bombings in the south to divert a military offensive. Last month, government troops overran a guerrilla stronghold in Pikit, killing at least 160 rebels. Authorities also blamed the rebels for bombing three power pylons in North Cotabato province over the weekend, cutting power supply to most of the Pikit area and neighboring Maguindanao province. On Saturday, the rebels said that murder charges filed against their leaders in Tuesday's bombing at Davao airport dimmed the prospect of resuming peace talks with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's administration. The talks have been suspended for two years. Among those killed in the bombing was American missionary William Hyde, 59, from Iowa. The violence coincided with public debate in the Philippines over the role of U.S. troops training Filipino soldiers in counterterrorism. Washington wanted about 1,000 American soldiers allowed into combat against the militant Muslim Abu Sayyaf group on southern Jolo island later this year, but Arroyo ruled out a combat role.



ICG 11 March 2003 ALBANIA Albania: State of the Nation 2003 This annual 'state of the nation' report warns that grave social and economic problems could become tomorrow's political problems if left unaddressed. After long confrontation, the ruling Socialist Party and opposition Democratic Party have agreed to cooperate but the consensus is already unravelling, and political tensions are expected to rise as local elections approach in October. Albania began negotiations with the EU on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement in 2002. The overall economic performance remains satisfactory, and Albania is a key factor in regional stability. However, organised crime has increased, the judiciary is weak, unemployment is high, productivity low, and there are severe environmental problems and an energy crisis. Endemic corruption and an inefficient public sector hamper institutional reform. ------------------------------------- For the full report, please see CrisisWeb - http://www.crisisweb.org


AZG 5 Mar 2003 UNESCO ASKED TO INVESTIGATE DESTRUCTION OF ARMENIAN CEMETERY IN AZERBAIJAN The President of ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) Michael Petzet has applied to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) requesting it dispatch a team of experts to evaluate the destruction of the Armenian cemetery in the Jugha region (presently Julfa) in the Azerbaijani enclave of Nakhichevan that previously housed around 3000 Khachkars, and is considered to be a historical monument, Armenpress reported. The ICOMOS Armenia office recently notified the press about illegal actions taken by Azerbaijan to destroy the Jugha monuments. More recently, it called on Petzet to take appropriate measures in stopping continuous occurrences of vandalism, and asked that UNESCO mediate by sending experts (to include both Armenian and Azeris) to the area. In making their case, ICOMOS-Armenia compiled documents, including photographs of the destruction taking place. Some of the photographs were taken in November 2002, when a large number of Khachkars (cross-stones) and tombstones had already either been vandalized or simply removed from the site, while the other half was taken much earlier, showing all the monuments intact. The 2002/03 "Endangered Heritage" ICOMOS almanac published to inform the world about historical monuments that have either been destroyed or are on the verge of destruction will provide detailed information and photographs of Old Jugha.


AFP 19 Mar 2003 Iraqis sue over first Gulf War SEVEN Iraqi families have filed a lawsuit against former US president George Bush, father of the current president, and three other US leaders for alleged crimes during the first Gulf War in 1991, a lawmaker said. The lawsuit cites Bush senior, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell and retired US Army General Norman Schwarzkopf, who led operation Desert Storm against Baghdad, said deputy Patrick Moriau. Cheney was US defence secretary at the time of the first Gulf War, while Powell was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The action was brought under Belgium's universal competence law, which allows legal proceedings against people accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity, or genocide, regardless of their nationality or location. The families who brought the action are either victims or relatives of victims of a US bombing of a civilian shelter in Baghdad that killed 403 people in February 1991, Moriau said. Two of the families currently live in Belgium, added the socialist lawmaker, who accompanied the Iraqi plaintiffs when they filed the lawsuit. Heads of state, prime ministers and foreign ministers are immune from the Belgian universal competence law while in office.


NYT Massacre payout ordered March 9 2003 By Daniel Simpson Belgrade A panel of Bosnian and international judges have ordered Bosnia's Serb Republic to pay more than $US2 million ($A3.25 million) in compensation for the massacre of 7500 Muslims at Srebrenica in 1995. The money will be spent to build a memorial at the graveyard where families of the victims plan to bury their relatives' remains when they are finally identified. The first funerals will be held at the site, just outside Srebrenica, at the end of this month - almost eight years after the massacre, the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II. So far, 582 corpses have been released from a nearby morgue, where thousands of body parts lie in bags awaiting identification. Although families gather at the memorial site every July 11 on the anniversary of the massacre, there have been no burials, largely because of a shortage of money for the cemetery and the fact that so many victims remain unaccounted for. In its ruling on Friday, which settled a lawsuit filed by 49 families of victims, the Human Rights Chamber of Bosnia and Herzegovina also ordered the Bosnian Serb Government to provide more information about the location of mass graves where hundreds of missing victims are presumed buried. The court said that "in the light of exceptionally high levels of trauma caused in part by the lack of information" about those listed as missing, the failure of Serbian authorities to disclose more was "particularly egregious". The two Serbs on the panel, which also includes two Croats and two Muslims, along with eight foreign judges, voted against the ruling. In a report released last year, the Bosnian Serb Government denied that a massacre had taken place, stating that only 1500 people had been killed and that the majority had been combat troops. The prospects of the money being paid are not immediately clear, but the Government is under pressure to comply with international demands concerning war crimes. Relatives of the dead said they hoped Friday's decision would put Serbian officials under greater pressure. - NEW YORK TIMES

NYT 8 Mar 2003 Bosnian Serbs Told to Pay $2 Million for Srebrenica Massacre By DANIEL SIMPSON BELGRADE, Serbia, March 7 — A panel of Bosnian and international judges ordered Bosnia's Serb Republic today to pay more than $2 million in compensation for the massacre of 7,500 Muslims at Srebrenica in 1995. The money will be spent to build a memorial at the graveyard where families of the victims plan to bury their relatives' remains when they are finally identified. The first funerals will be held at the site, just outside Srebrenica, at the end of this month — almost eight years after the massacre, the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II. So far, 582 corpses have been released from a nearby morgue, where thousands of body parts lie stacked in bags awaiting identification. Although families gather at the memorial site every July 11 on the anniversary of the massacre, there have been no burials, largely because of a shortage of money for the cemetery and the fact that so many victims remain unaccounted for. In its ruling, which settled a lawsuit filed by 49 families of victims, the Human Rights Chamber of Bosnia and Herzegovina also ordered the Bosnian Serb government to provide more information about the location of mass graves where hundreds of missing victims are presumed buried. The court said that "in the light of exceptionally high levels of trauma caused in part by the lack of information," about those listed as missing, the failure of Serbian authorities to disclose more was "particularly egregious." The two Serbs on the panel, which also includes two Croats and two Muslims, along with eight foreign judges, voted against the ruling. In a report released last year, the Bosnian Serb government denied that a massacre had taken place, stating that only 1,500 people had been killed and that the majority had been combat troops. The prospects that the money will be paid are not immediately clear, but the government is under pressure to comply with international demands concerning war crimes. Relatives of the dead said they hoped that today's decision would put Serbian officials under greater pressure. The money was less important, they said. "No money in the world could make me feel better," said Mevlida Sulejmanovic, one of the plaintiffs. "Unfortunately, I have survived, and I am now forced to live without my loved ones." Ms. Sulejmanovic lost her husband, two sons and three brothers when Serbian forces separated the men of Srebrenica from their families and killed them. Dutch United Nations peacekeepers, who had been assigned to protect them, failed to intervene. Another woman, Hata Ahmetovic, who lost three sons and her husband, said the ruling would "at least help the efforts to bury those identified." But it is unlikely to help officials identify more victims. The cost of building the memorial alone is likely to eat up most of this compensation payment. A DNA identification program for all unidentified victims of the war, set up 14 months ago by the International Commission on Missing Persons, badly needs money, too, but it is unlikely to get any. Since its inception, the project has identified more than 1,500 of the 30,000 people unaccounted for. Gordon Bacon, the project's director, urged international officials to remember that in the simplest cases, a positive DNA match can cost just $100. "We want to go faster, but we don't have the money," he said. "Every little bit we get is going to lead to another identification at this stage, and it's a shame to have such a wonderful system in place without being able to use it to the full."

AFP 10 Mar 2003 Five dead in landmine explosion in Bosnia SARAJEVO, March 10 (AFP) - Two women and three men from the same Bosnian Serb family were killed in northern Bosnia on Monday when a land mine left over from the country's 1992-95 war exploded, police said. The mine blew up when the family, which had recently returned to their home in the village of Brnik near the northern town of Orasje, was cleaning up their field to prepare it for sowing, Orasje police told AFP. Brnik is located on a wartime front line. Dordje Kojic, his parents and a cousin were killed instantly. His grandmother, Mileva Skuljevic, died an hour later in a nearby hospital, police said. Seven years after the war ended, there are still more than 20,000 minefields in the Balkan country, hiding approximately one million mines. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says there have been more than 1,400 casualties from mine explosions. Almost 34 percent of the victims have been killed.


NYT 1 Mar 2003 U.N. EXTENDS DEADLINE ON PEACE DEAL The United Nations secretary general, Kofi Annan, gave rival Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders a 10-day extension to decide whether they will put before their people referendums on a peace plan intended to reunify the island after nearly three decades of division. Mr. Annan made the proposal in Cyprus after both leaders failed to meet a Feb. 28 deadline to initial the peace plan without further changes. They agreed to meet with Mr. Annan at The Hague on March 10 to tell him whether they would hold referendums on March 30. Anthee Carassava (NYT)

Kathimerini 11 Mar 2003 New failure teaches a lesson By Stamos Zoulas The Turkish “No” to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s plan for the reunification of Cyprus must teach a lesson to Greek Foreign Ministry officials, especially to those amateurish aides that surround the foreign minister. The first lesson is that in diplomacy you should not be the first to make a unilateral good-faith gesture; you also should not overestimate the niceties of your interlocutor, and you should not be the first to accept compromise in the hope of a similar response from your counterpart. This is even more the case when dealing with Turkey — not because Ankara is a skilled bargainer, but rather because its behavior does not follow the long-established Western principles of weighing the pros and cons of a policy and making all decisions on the basis of the national interest as understood by democratic governments. It’s also because the Turkish government is not an agent of the public but of the military bureaucracy. As a result, the Turkish negotiator pays no heed to so-called public sentiment since he is accountable to a power which does not derive its power from the people, as in Western societies. Hence Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash rejected the plan in spite of the fact that the overwhelming majority of his fellow citizens wanted the plan as well as EU membership. He even snubbed the calls of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s ostensible power-wielder, who failed to keep his promise of imposing a more flexible stance on Denktash. Hence it is clear where Denktash draws his power from. Similarly, it is clear that our country cannot trust any Turkish premier or foreign minister to be reliable or independent, for decisions actually abide with the all-powerful military establishment. From now on, Greece must wait for tangible proof of Turkey’s good will before accepting any initiative or proposal from Turkey.

Anadolu Agency 12 Mar 2003 Ankara To Extend Efforts To Find A Solution In Cyprus ANKARA - Although Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot sides did not accept the plan of United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan during the meetings in The Hague, Ankara does not believe that efforts to find a solution to the Cyprus question has come to an end. Sources told the A.A correspondent on Wednesday that United Nations Secretary General Annan's decision to put an end to his initiatives did not constitute an obstacle in front of resumption of talks between President Rauf Denktas of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos. Failure in talks in The Hague and the Greek Cypriot side's progress in its European Union (EU) membership process have entailed Turkey to review the developments in Cyprus and develop a new policy about the new process in the island. Ankara has serious concerns about future of relations with the EU after the Greek Cypriot side joins the EU. Ankara has decided to maintain its efforts to find a solution to the Cyprus question. Turkish officials reacted harshly to statement of the EU Commission that it would consider Turkey as occupying EU territory when the Greek Cypriot side joined the EU as a full member. Diplomatic sources stressed, ''Turkish forces entered Cyprus in line with its responsibilities stemming from the guarantee agreement of 1960 in order to prevent Greek Cypriot side's ethnic cleansing action against Turkish Cypriot people.'' Since Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot side could not reach a compromise over the plan of Annan, the 1960 agreements are still valid.

Kathimerini 12 Mar 2003 Another plan fails Attempts to settle the Cyprus issue have once again failed, and this is something which only Ankara and the Turkish-Cypriot leader can be blamed for. The painful concessions made by the Greek Cypriots were not enough to break the deadlock. The pressure from new Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as reflected in his initial statements, was also of no avail. The military bureaucracy eventually imposed its policy and torpedoed UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s initiative. Ever since last autumn, when the secretary-general presented the original version of his blueprint, Athens and Nicosia have welcomed the UN proposals even though they were clearly unfair and problematic. Even the most skeptical will have no room to object to the EU accession of the southern part of the island when the issue is debated in the European Parliament. Should no other snag hinder the EU’s expansion in general, the accession treaty will be signed on April 16. We need not worry about the possibility of some member state’s parliament blocking Cyprus’s EU membership, as all national assemblies will vote on the entire enlargement package, and not on each separate candidate. The Turkish denial has placed the Greek Cypriots in an advantageous position. Diplomatic mobility will ease for a while, but negotiations will again gain momentum at the beginning of 2004. The EU wants to be done with this long-running issue and this is why it has set a solution as a precondition for the strengthening of EU-Turkish ties. The EU’s enlargement commissioner was clear on that issue yesterday. Ankara will have to change course, unless it decides to abandon its European aspirations. The prospect of such a U-turn is, however, extremely remote. As a result, when the Turkish side realizes the nature of the dilemma, it will most likely attempt to trade a positive stance on Cyprus for a European nod to its ambitions. At that point, the Greek-Cypriot side will have more leverage so as to not only extract a more favorable agreement but also to push for a settlement that will be closer to European standards — meaning a functional solution that is compatible with the acquis communautaire. This will be made easier after Erdogan has imposed his own policy line and Denktash has been replaced.

Kathimerini 12 Mar 2003 Obstacles that blocked agreement In his statement announcing the failure of the reunification talks, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan outlined how Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash responded to his request that they submit his plan to “separate, simultaneous referenda on March 30 in order to achieve a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.” “Mr Papadopoulos answered that he was prepared to do so, as long as the people knew what they are being asked to vote on. To that end, he wished to be sure that the gaps regarding federal legislation, as well as constituent state constitutions, would be filled. He underlined the importance of Greece and Turkey agreeing and committing to the security provisions in the plan. Furthermore, considerably more time was needed than was available for a proper public campaign on the referendum to be carried out. These conditions need to be fulfilled before a referendum can take place. He said he was prepared not to reopen its substantive provisions if the other side was prepared to do likewise,” Annan said in his statement. “Mr Denktash answered that he was not prepared to agree to put the plan to referendum. He said he had fundamental objections to the plan on basic points. He believed that further negotiations were only likely to be successful if they began from a new starting point and if the parties agreed on basic principles. He added that Turkey was in any case not in a position to sign the statement requested of the guarantors because this first required the authorization of Parliament,” Annan said. www.ekathimerini.com


AP 18 Mar 2003 In Denmark, an Iraqi general being investigated for war crimes vanishes COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) - A former Iraqi general under house arrest while Danish prosecutors investigate his alleged role in gas attacks on Kurds has disappeared, his son said Monday. The circumstances around former Gen. Nizar al-Khazraji's disappearance were murky and few details were released. He had been under house arrest in his adopted country of Denmark since November. Prosecutor Birgitte Vestberg is investigating claims that al-Khazraji, a former Iraqi army chief of staff, was responsible for poison gas attacks in northern Iraq in 1988 that killed more than 5,000 Kurds. Al-Khazraji, 63, says Saddam Hussein, not he, controlled the chemical stockpiles, and some Kurdish opposition groups have defended the general. Al-Khazraji - an outspoken critic of Saddam - left Iraq in 1995 and has been living in Denmark since 1999. He has outlined plans for regime change under which the army would take over temporarily until a new government can be elected, and his name has surfaced as one of several potential interim leaders should Saddam be ousted. His son, Mohammad al-Khazraji, told The Associated Press that his father had stepped out of his home in Soroe, 60 miles southwest of the capital, Copenhagen, for an early morning cigarette and didn't return. "We contacted the police and asked for their help to find him," Mohammed said. "It's a very bad situation and I'm very confused." Investigators said they issued a national arrest warrant for al-Khazraji. They also were seeking an international warrant. Police said they searched a nearby patch of woods where al-Khazraji typically takes walks. The Scandinavian country's border points were told to be on the lookout for him. Al-Khazraji was placed under house arrest in November after he applied for a passport to travel to Saudi Arabia as a means of getting to Kurdish northern Iraq. The house arrest order meant Al-Khazraji was not allowed to leave his house without permission and was required to report to the police regularly. Vestberg said she was not aware what happened to him and her investigation into his alleged crimes would continue. "He could have gotten ill on his walk and collapsed or he could have been abducted or he could have tried to leave the country on his own," she said. Al-Khazraji's lawyer, Anders Josefsen, said his main concern was the general's safety. "I was very surprised to hear it, I didn't expect this and I hope he's OK," he told the AP. Under the Geneva Conventions, which calls for countries to prosecute or expel war criminals, Denmark is obligated to investigate claims he was involved in the poison gas attack.

Financial Times UK 18 Mar 2003 Danish arrest warrant for Iraqi general By Clare MacCarthy in Copenhagen Published: March 18 2003 4:00 | Last Updated: March 18 2003 4:00 Danish police yesterday issued an international arrest warrant for a former Iraqi army chief after he vanished from his home south of Copenhagen. General Nizar al-Khazraji had been under house arrest since November pending possible trial for suspected involvement in a massacre of Iraqi Kurds in the late 1980s. The general's knowledge of Iraq's military system had sparked media speculation that the US was planning a role for him. But the US embassy in Copenhagen last night denied having been in contact. "We have no idea of his whereabouts," the embassy said. General al-Khazraji fled to Jordan in 1995 and applied for political asylum in Denmark four years later. He disappeared from his apartment yesterday morning after telling his family he was stepping outside for a cigarette. Family members said they were concerned that he could either have become ill or had been abducted. However, had expressed a desire to leave Denmark and return to Iraq to assist in the efforts to topple Saddam Hussein. Lene Espersen, the Danish justice minister, said the situation was "extremely regrettable". Opposition politicians in Denmark called the general's disappearance "totally scandalous".

Copenhagen Post 18 Mar 2003 Iraqi General disappears as war looms Vanished: former Iraqi chief of staff Nizar al-Khazraji disappeared from his home in Sorø yesterday, as authorities swap blame and scramble to investigate Nizar al-Khazraji, the former Iraqi chief of staff and the highest-ranking military official ever to defeat from the regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, was reported missing in Denmark yesterday. Khazraji had been under de facto house arrest at his home in Sorø since last November, while the State Prosecutor for Special International Crimes investigated war crimes charges against him. Khazraji had been named by several Kurdish refugees in Denmark as the leader of the notorious Anfal Campaign in 1988, an Iraqi-led offensive on the village of Halabja that killed thousands of Kurdish civilians in a ruthless chemical weapons attack. Late yesterday morning, neighbours of the general reported receiving enquiries from police concerned that Khazraji had disappeared. The General was reported missing by his family, after he apparently failed to return from a brief walk outside to smoke a cigarette. An international all-points bulletin was issued from Denmark early yesterday afternoon. A non-government majority has since criticized Justice Minister Lene Espersen for Khazraji's disappearance. The Danish People's Party, Social Democrats, and Unity List say police should have known that the exiled General would pose a flight risk, as war in Iraq loomed closer. The Social Democrats, Socialist People's Party, and Unity List have demanded an emergency meeting of parliament's Foreign Policy Committee to discuss the case. The meeting is likely to take place sometime today. Espersen wrote in a press release yesterday that "it speaks for itself, that this is a most regrettable situation." She has asked the State Prosecutor for a full report on Khazraji's disappearance, and plans to brief parliament thereafter. http://cphpost.periskop.dk/

AP 18 Mar 2003 Missing Iraqi's Son Fears Abduction COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) - A son of a former Iraqi general who disappeared from house arrest in Denmark said Tuesday his father was taken by Iraqi agents. ``I think he was taken by (Iraqi) intelligence officers, everything points toward that,'' Ahmed al-Khazraji told The Associated Press. He did not provide any proof to verify his claim. Gen. Nizar al-Khazraji had been under house arrest in Denmark, his adopted country, since November 2002, but disappeared Monday after he stepped out of his home for a morning cigarette. State prosecutor Birgitte Vestberg said authorities are not sure if al-Khazraji tried to leave the country or was taken against his will. ``If he left the country freely he will probably appear in public soon, as he's very fond of the media,'' state prosecutor Birgitte Vestberg told AP. Interpol issued an international arrest warrant for him, and local police said Tuesday they ended a search around his home in Soroe, 60 miles southwest of the capital, Copenhagen. Vestberg is investigating claims that al-Khazraji, a former Iraqi army chief of staff, was responsible for 1988 poison gas attacks on Kurds in northern Iraq. Al-Khazraji, 64, who has repeatedly denied any role in the attacks that left more than 5,000 Kurds dead, called his detention an obstacle to toppling Saddam Hussein. ``I feel like a lion in a cage,'' he said last month when his house arrest was extended. ``I should be in Iraq and taking the lead of the people and the military against Saddam Hussein.'' Al-Khazraji was put under house arrest after he planned to go to Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq. His passport was taken from him and he was required to check in with police three times a week. A hero of the 1980-88 war between Iraq and Iran, Gen. al-Khazraji was fired by Saddam in 1990 for criticizing the invasion of Kuwait. He had been in Denmark since 1999 under a Danish policy that lets a person stay in the country without social security, supplied housing or the right to work. Under the Geneva Conventions, which calls for countries to prosecute or expel war criminals, Denmark is obligated to investigate claims he was involved in the poison gas attack.


NYT 1 Mar 2003 ANTIRACISM CAMPAIGN IN SCHOOLS Alarmed at the prospect of racial tension between Arab and Jewish pupils in schools if there is war in Iraq, the Education Ministry has begun a campaign to curb racism that includes measures like distributing pamphlets encouraging racial harmony, appointing mediators to resolve conflicts and setting up a government oversight committee. The ministry seeks to discourage the use of racial slurs by pupils and the wearing of religious insignia like the cross, the Star of David, and Muslim veils, though it acknowledges it cannot ban them. Education Minister Luc Ferry said anti-Semitic and racial slurs had become so common that they often went unreported. Last year, anti-Semitic attacks multiplied in France because of the anger of France's large Arab population over the Israeli occupation of West Bank cities. John Tagliabue (NYT)

AFP 2 Mar 2003 Immigration – Paris region - demonstration Demonstration in Yvelines ( Paris region ) against the expulsion of Romania’s Roma Achères, 2 March 2003 (AFP) Some 40 representatives of humanitarian organisations occupied Sunday afternoon an encampment in which live about hundred Roma in Achères (Yvelines), to demonstrate against an expulsion decision taken on Thursday by the Prefecture, reported the AFP. "We are here to protest against the relentlessness of the Prefecture and to testimony our solidarity towards these Roma ", stated Michèle Mezard, responsible of the mission Rom-Île-de-France in Médecins du monde (Doctors of World). "On Tuesday, sixteen of these Romanian citizens have been interpellated and nine already expelled, she added. On Friday, it was the police who came for bringing the order of insalubrious situation as well as some thirty expelling orders taken by the Prefecture. We denounce this approach, which consists of chasing people, while they are involved in integration projects (learning of French, schooling…). Chasing them, this is the best manner to make them come back”. Alain Outreman (PCF), mayor of Achcres, who was also present, declared: "They are here for already two years and the public authorities have done nothing for them. They should take their responsibilities. The municipality of Achères is ready to take its own responsibilities, but not alone. These Roma must be re-housed in acceptable conditions”. Contacted on Sunday by the AFP, François Burdeyron, sub-prefect of the Saint-Germain-en-Laye district (Yvelines), a underlined: "This is a camp of transit where the Roma stay before leaving in the whole Europe. We have constated the insalubrious status of the site as well as the irregular situation of a considerable number of these Roma that led the Prefecture to take this order of expulsion. Alain Outreman denounces the conditions in which they live, but he never proposed places for their housing. If they don’t leave before the end of March, we will be obliged to make them leave by force”.

AFP 17 Mar 2003 France deploys 300 soldiers to coup-stricken Central African capital PARIS, March 17 (AFP) - France on Monday deployed 300 soldiers to Bangui airport in the coup-hit Central African Republic to assist in the evacuation of foreign nationals and control access to the airfield, a spokesman for the French army chief of staff said. "The mission of the French soldiers is to control the airport to permit French citizens and the international community who wish to leave the country," Colonel Christian Baptiste told AFP. He added the soldiers were also "an expression of solidarity with Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) soldiers who have been through difficult moments and saw three combat deaths" during the weekend coup by rebels led by former army commander Francois Bozize.

IRIN 17 Mar 2003 France agrees to receive genocide convicts NAIROBI, 17 Mar 2003 (IRIN) - France became on Friday the first European country to sign an agreement with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to implement sentences imposed by the UN court, the tribunal reported. The tribunal reported that the French ambassador in Tanzania, Jean Francois Lionnet, signed the agreement on behalf of his government, and ICTR Registrar Adama Dieng represented the tribunal. The agreement is expected to take effect after ratification by the French National Assembly. The agreement brings the number of countries that have entered such agreements with the tribunal to four. The other countries are Benin, Mali and Swaziland. The tribunal said negotiations were in progress with other African and European countries. Lionnet said that the agreement signified France's commitment to promote international justice. Dieng said the support of all UN member states was necessary in order to enable the tribunal to achieve its mandate, that of trying the alleged perpetrators of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Under the tribunal’s rules, a convict may serve the sentence imposed in Rwanda or in the prison of a state that has agreed to accept the tribunal's convicts. The sentence is served under the tribunal’s supervision. Currently, six prisoners, including former Rwandan Prime Minister Jean Kambanda, are serving their sentences in Bamako, Mali.

AP 17 Mar 2003 France to Jail Rwanda Genocide Convicts ARUSHA, Tanzania - The French government has agreed to allow people convicted in the Rwanda genocide to serve their sentences in France, the U.N. tribunal for Rwanda said Monday. France is the first European country to agree to provide prison space for those convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Jean Francois Lionnet, France's ambassador to Tanzania, signed the agreement Monday with tribunal based in Arusha in northern Tanzania, according to a tribunal statement. Lionnet said the agreement was an example of France's commitment to promote international justice. The tribunal was set up in November 1994 to try the alleged masterminds of the 100-day slaughter earlier that year when more than 500,000 minority Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus were killed. The tribunal has convicted 10 people and acquitted one. It is currently holding 55 suspects. The maximum sentence the tribunal can hand down is life in prison. Six of those convicted are serving their sentences in Mali, which signed an agreement with the tribunal in 2001. Benin and Swaziland have signed similar agreements with the tribunal. France will begin receiving those convicted once the agreement has been ratified by the French parliament. Rwanda, which gained independence from Belgium in 1962, is one of eastern Africa's few French-speaking countries, but relations between Rwanda and France have been frosty since the genocide. France supported President Juvenal Habyarimana's government, whose members orchestrated the killings. The spark that ignited the killings was the shooting down on April 6, 1994, of Habyarimana's French jet as it was approaching Kigali airport. Those responsible for shooting down the jet have not been identified.


Civil Georgia 13 Mar 2003 ( www.civil.ge ) International Criminal Court Ready to Discuss Georgia’s Appeal Tbilisi. - “International Criminal Court [ICC] at Hague ready to discuss Georgia appeal on genocide against Georgian population in Abkhazia,” Tamaz Nadareishvili, head of the Tbilisi-based Abkhaz government in exile said at the Parliamentary session today. A delegation of the Abkhaz government in exile visit Hague to study the procedures on appealing the International Criminal Court. “The only problem is that Georgia has not ratified Rome Statute. I urge the Georgian Foreign Ministry, the Parliament to ensure ratification of the Statute as soon as possible, so that the ICC could start study our appeal,” Tamaz Nadareishvili said. The Rome Statute of the ICC came into force in July last year when the number of countries ratifying the court passed the requisite 60. The court is empowered to try cases of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.


NYT 2 Mar 2003 excerpts Celebration: Berlin By WILLIAM MURRAY Berlin, in the warmer months, is an open-air festival, its youthful population swarming through the streets on bicycles or sitting at its many outdoor cafes. Who would have believed it? The city has risen from the ruins of World War II, reconstituting itself practically minute by minute as a hub of art and culture. Reunited as the nation's capital, Berlin has become an international center to rival Paris, London and New York. The Mood Apart from the sheer energy that seems to emanate from the very stones here, my first reaction as I drove into Berlin a few months ago was amazement at its size. The city is as large as New York, spread out in a seemingly haphazard fashion in every direction, crisscrossed by wide boulevards and the elevated rail lines of its superb transportation system. Three and a half million people of 184 nationalities live and work here, making their way to and from their homes and jobs through great agglomerations of new housing projects, government buildings and corporate towers. This daily scene reflects the elan of a population relentlessly on the move toward the future. And yet Berlin cannot refute its tragic past -- nor does it try to. All over the city are reminders, like the bomb-ruined tower of the Kaiser-Wilhelm Memorial Church, the plaque near the Zoo Station listing the names of all the concentration camps and, on the Operaplatz, the simple, moving memorial to the Nazi book burnings: a pane of glass through which the viewer looks down at rows of symbolically empty bookshelves. Then there is the elegant villa, set in a park in suburban Wannsee, where a well-documented exhibit recalls the conference of Nazi leaders there on Jan. 20, 1942, when the extermination of Europe's Jews was decided. The Jewish Museum on Lindenstrasse, in what used to be called the eastern sector, holds a scrupulously assembled collection that recalls the history of the Jewish community in Germany. It is mostly on display in a reconstructed 18th-century courthouse. More exhibition areas are in an adjacent new building linked to the old one by a tunnel, a stunning zigzag-shaped design by the architect Daniel Libeskind that ultimately leads to the Holocaust Tower. I entered not knowing what to expect and found myself standing suddenly in total silence and darkness, transfixed. That silence, that darkness convey the full horror of the victims' fate more eloquently than any photograph. Berlin is now a new city, full of young people who quite rightly feel no direct responsibility for the atrocities committed by others in a now distant past. They are more prone to remember with pride their 30-year resistance to the East German Communist regime sheltering itself behind the hideous wall it built in 1961. The structure cut off about a third of the city and led to the slaughter of more than 200 would-be fugitives. A few segments remain as a reminder, as does Checkpoint Charlie, an adjacent museum and, most eloquently, a row of white crosses where some of the victims were gunned down. An irony of history is that Berlin has almost always been considered a tolerant and liberal town, from its earliest days as a village on the banks of the River Spree. When it became a city in 1709, it readily accepted foreigners, including many Jews and thousands of French Huguenots fleeing persecution in their own country. Today the city's traditional tolerance is reflected in its politics, extremely liberal by American standards. There are daily peaceful demonstrations of one sort or another -- on the day I visited the newly reopened Brandenburg Gate, a gaggle of distressed dentists, dressed in their white smocks, had gathered under waving banners to denounce a new tax law. . . . William Murray is the author of ''City of the Soul: A Walk in Rome'' (Crown).

NYT 15 Mar 2003 Germans Revisit War's Agony, Ending a Taboo By RICHARD BERNSTEIN DRESDEN, Germany, March 10 — The photograph, a precious possession, shows gracious, dignified Holbein Street in Dresden before World War II, where the childhood friends Nora Lang, now 72, and Vanila John, 71, lived in apartments across from each other. "It's nice that Dresden is being restored," Ms. John said, speaking of the many monuments in this once ruined city that are still being rebuilt, stone by stone. "But the old Dresden is gone forever — the houses, the homes and also the people whom I knew, who are gone, too." Ms. John, who witnessed the nighttime firebombing of Dresden by the Royal Air Force on Feb. 13, 1945 — an attack that killed about 35,000 people and destroyed one of the most beautiful cities in Europe — was doing what many Germans have been doing lately: talking about their own suffering in World War II. For the last few months in fact, television has been showing endless documentaries and discussions of the air war waged by Britain and the United States against Germany in World War II. While this is not exactly a new subject in Germany, there are at least two ways in which the discussion is different from the past. First, the emphasis in today's articles and discussions is on what Jörg Friedrich, author of a best-selling book on the Allied bombing campaign, calls "Leideform," the form of suffering inflicted on the German civilian population. In other words, a taboo, by which Germans have remained guiltily silent, at least in public, about their experience of the horrors of war, has been suddenly and rather mysteriously broken. Second, the new awareness of the Allied bombings and the devastation they wrought has become an important element in German opposition to the expected American war on Iraq. What people like Ms. Lang and Ms. John, both antiwar activists in Dresden, have been saying is something like this: We have direct knowledge of the gruesome effects of war and we don't want anybody else to experience what we have experienced. In Germany, where all consideration of World War II bears a special weight, this new national attention to German suffering has generated plenty of commentary of its own. Much of it focuses on the wildly successful book by Mr. Friedrich, which is titled "Der Brand," or "The Fire," a work that describes in stark, unrelenting and very literary detail what happened in city after city as the Allies dropped 80 million incendiary bombs on Germany. "Der Brand" is about mass deaths by fire and suffocation, the fearsome technology of incendiary bombing and the obliteration of architectural and cultural monuments. But it describes as well the effects on the spirit, what Mr. Friedrich in a recent interview in Berlin called "the slow destruction of psychic endurance, the living day and night in fear of death." It is not that Mr. Friedrich is the first to write on this. There have long been books and photographic collections on many of the cities destroyed in the bombing, including an authoritative one on Dresden by Götz Bergander, a 76-year-old survivor of the firebombing. Five years ago, the novelist W. G. Sebald, who has since died, aroused considerable emotion here with a book, "On the Natural History of Destruction," whose main point was that German wartime suffering had been strangely absent from postwar German literature. But the reaction to Mr. Friedrich's book is something special, more visceral and widespread, and it brings questions to mind: Is there a danger that the Germans will conflate their suffering with the vastly greater and more unforgivable suffering they inflicted on millions of others, including both the genocidal slaughter of the Jews and the bombing raids on London, Coventry, Warsaw and Rotterdam? Have the Germans attached themselves to Mr. Friedrich's book and, similarly, have they used Mr. Friedrich's book to fuel their rejection of war with Iraq — because it gives them a rare and intoxicating taste of the moral high ground? One element in the picture is Mr. Friedrich himself, a respected writer and commentator who bears not the slightest resemblance to some ultraright, neonationalist eager to exonerate Germans of responsibility for the war. His earlier work includes a study of German war crimes in in the conquered territory of the East. Germany, he said in the interview, "lived in submission" to Hitler's "genocide, slavery and aggression." With the splash made by Mr. Friedrich's book, some here have begun talking about Allied war crimes against Germany. But the author makes no explicit claims to that effect. "My book is pure description," he said. "There's nothing about war crimes. I am a historian, not a judge." But there is also an edginess to Mr. Friedrich's writing and commentary, an emotional power, a sense that what a critic in the newspaper Die Zeit called "the emotionalized channeling of his narrative" carries with it an accusation of tremendous wrongdoing by the Allies. In person, Mr. Friedrich clearly believes that much of the air war was unnecessary and atrocious. Moreover, in what has stirred perhaps the greatest amount of criticism, here and there in his book Mr. Friedrich uses language that until now has been reserved to describing the Holocaust. He refers to the deaths in bomb cellars caused by the carbon monoxide produced by the fires raging above as "death by gassing." He also uses the word "crematoria" to describe the fires' incinerating effect. Where he describes attacks on cities that had, in his view, no military significance, he calls the havoc and deaths that resulted "massacres." "I use the word `massacre' in the case of Swinemünde, which was attacked on March 12, 1945 by the American Eighth Air Force," he said. "It was packed with refugees driven West by the Red Army." "If the Americans are allowed to talk of massacre in My Lai," Mr. Friedrich said, referring to the Vietnam war atrocity committed by American troops, "why can't I describe 23,000 dead in Swinemünde as a massacre?" Swinemünde, which was a German naval base, passed to Poland at the end of the war. In the interview, Mr. Friedrich pointed to two photographs in a book that documents the destruction of the industrial city of Kassel. One of the photographs shows a tangle of burned and twisted bodies, including those of children, women and old people, filling up an entire square. "You cannot look at pictures like that without being reminded that there's only one other situation where you have seen such scenes," he said. While he did not say so, the other situation is, of course, the death and concentration camps where Nazi victims were slain. "Between genocide and fire warfare there is no similarity," Mr. Friedrich said, "but the similarity is drawn by mentality and consciousness." Many in Germany and elsewhere, of course, will disagree even with a similarity drawn by mentality and consciousness. Mr. Bergander, interviewed in his home in Berlin, took exception to Mr. Friedrich's use of words like "death by gassing," which, Mr. Bergander argues, "is not a word you can use as a German." Mr. Bergander also believes that some of the bombing war was criminal, including the bombing of Dresden, his hometown, but he is nonetheless troubled by the possibility that Germans will be swept into a mood of victimization. "So many people feel that if Mr. Friedrich, who is a man of the left and who works for good relations with Israel, can say, `We Germans are victims too,' that then they can say it also, and they can say it more loudly and more freely." Then there is the whole debate about the bombing itself, and whether it was militarily necessary. Richard Overy, a historian at King's College, London, who has written several well-regarded books on the war, argues against the notion that what was called "area bombing," the destruction of whole cities, had no military purpose. "The bombing of Germany was carried out under a clear military strategy, which was to degrade the military and economic infrastructure and reduce the war willingness of the population to the point where the allies could enter Germany with a real prospect of victory," Mr. Overy said in a telephone interview. That is not the view in Dresden, at least not in Ms. Lang's modest living room, which overlooks the square where old Dresden once stood. Near the apartment is the blackened Tinitatis Church with its permanent exhibition of signs saying "No to war with Iraq," and for Ms. Lang there is a clear connection between that sentiment and the collective memories stimulated by "Der Brand." "We had to suffer from Hitler and then from that bombing," Ms. Lang said. "I was 8 when the war started and 14 in 1945, so my childhood was all war. And I have to ask myself the question, What I have done? The answer is nothing. That's why I think I have to do something to prevent another war."

Guardian UK 19 Mar 2003 German court rejects attempt to ban neo-Nazi party John Hooper in Berlin Wednesday March 19, 2003 The The German government's efforts to curb the neo-Nazi right were thrown into disarray yesterday when the country's top court blocked its key initiative - an attempt to ban the skinhead-dominated National Democratic party. If the decision was an embarrassment for Gerhard Schröder's centre-left administration, the reasons for it were doubly so. The judges ruled that the government's case rested largely on the statements and actions of NPD members who had been shown to be agents of the German intelligence services. Indeed, the party was, in part, responding to the government's dictates, the court said. "The presence of the state at the leadership level makes influence on its aims and activities unavoidable," it concluded. It said evidence from the government showed that in recent years about 30 of the NPD's 200 top officials were secretly paid by the government. Eight of the spies have been unmasked in the two years since the case was brought. They include a former deputy chairman of the party and author of an anti-semitic tract that formed a central part of the government's case. A number of other intelligence services' agents remain undetected. Three of the court's judges said the issue of informants had blurred the government's case irreparably. The reliance on informers created a "lack of clarity that can no longer be overcome", the presiding judge, Winfried Hassemer, said in announcing the narrow decision. Only three of the seven judges voted to reject the government's case, but the court would have needed a two-thirds majority for the case to proceed. The centre-right opposition lumped the blame for the fiasco on to the interior minister, Otto Schily. The Christian Democrats' parliamentary home affairs spokesmen said in a joint statement: "Schily bungled." But that conveniently ignored the fact that the initiative to ban the NPD originated with a Christian Democrat, Bavaria's interior minister, Günther Beckstein, and that both houses of parliament voted for the move at a time when sentiment against the far right was at a high. The authorities singled out the NPD as a target after a spate of attacks on disabled people and immigrants. In so doing, they ignored advice from the intelligence services and other experts in the field, who argued that outlawing the party would drive its members underground, into the arms of more extreme movements whose activities would be difficult to monitor. Attempting to outlaw the party also ran up against a deep-seated reluctance in Germany to keep parties out of the democratic arena. Only two have been banned since the end of the second world war: a successor to the Nazis in 1952 and the Communist party in 1956. The NPD won only 0.4% of the vote at the last general election and does not hold any seats in the national or state legislatures. But one of the government's reasons for pressing ahead was to bar it from access to television advertising and public funding. In an unusual move, Mr Schily argued yesterday against the judges' decision. He said the agents were not employees of the state and had been recruited rather than infiltrated as agents provocateurs. He said the verdict was "very much to be regretted". The NPD leader, Udo Voigt, said his party would now "press ahead energetically with its political work", starting with a campaign for a boycott of US products in protest at plans for war against Iraq.

NYT 19 Mar 2003 POLITICIAN QUITS IN ANTI-SEMITISM FUROR The former deputy leader of the Free Democrat Party has resigned after a monthslong dispute over election campaign tactics that many found anti-Semitic. Jürgen Möllemann, who also served briefly as vice chancellor to Helmut Kohl, came under fire last fall for circulating a leaflet criticizing the Israeli government and a Jewish leader in Germany. Mr. Möllemann said he had paid for the $1 million mailing, but a lawsuit suggests the financing may have come from a Middle East business partner. Mr. Möllemann says he is the victim of a witch hunt by the party leadership. Hugh Eakin (NYT)

Holy See

BBC 15 Feb 2003 Vatican opens secret Nazi files The Church's role during the Holocaust has long been questioned The Vatican is opening up archives documenting its relations with Nazi Germany amid accusations that the then Pope failed to speak out against the Holocaust. The archive includes the office records of Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, the Vatican's ambassador to Berlin from 1922 to 1929, who went on to be pope during the war. As Pope Pius XII, who led the Roman Catholic Church from 1939 to 1958, he has long been accused by Jewish groups of turning a blind eye as many Jews were marched off to concentration camps. Pius was "a great pope", according to John Paul II The archive is being opened on Saturday - but only to scholars by special appointment. According to archive custodian Sergio Pagano, much of the material in the documents has already been published. "More interesting material is due to be made available to historians in three years time," he told Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper. He added that delays in opening the archive were due to a "shortage of personnel, and not a desire to hide anything." The Vatican has admitted, however, that files dating from 1931 to 1934 were "nearly completely destroyed or dispersed" during the bombing of Berlin and by a fire. In 2001, Catholic and Jewish scholars investigating the Vatican's relations with Nazi Germany suspended their research in protest at the huge amount of material kept secret. Jewish groups at the time also called on the Vatican to delay the beatification of Pius XII. 'Criticism' The Vatican has long countered criticism by saying Pope Pius XII did not speak out for fear of worsening the situation for Catholics as well as Jews in occupied territories during the war. The Catholic Church has been criticised for not revealing the extent of its possible involvement or complicity in the Holocaust, in which six million Jews and hundreds of thousands of other ethnic minorities, gypsies and homosexuals were killed. In March 2000, Pope John Paul II asked for forgiveness for wrongs inflicted by the Catholic Church on Jews, minorities and women. However he angered Jewish groups for stopping short of mentioning specifically the Holocaust or the possible role of Pope Pius XII.


Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe 10 Mar 2003 Tenth assessment of the situation of ethnic minorities in Kosovo (May-Dec 2002) Security and access to services remain a concern for minorities in Kosovo PRISTINA, 10 March 2003 - Improvements in the conditions of minority communities remain limited to certain areas in Kosovo or to certain groups, according to the latest OSCE/UNHCR assessment on the situation of minorities. The tenth in this series of joint reports finds that while improvements have been seen in many areas, concerns remain in minorities' essential services, property rights, access to justice and public, civil, and political structures and their security and freedom of movement in Kosovo. The last report prescribed an approach combining the continued active engagement of UNMIK and other international actors, but as importantly, the firm commitment and strong leadership of the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government at all levels. Kosovo has now had three successful elections and governments elected by the people have been put in place at both the central and municipal levels. Yet fair and equitable access to service by minority communities continues to be problematic. "The Provisional Institutions of Self-Government have a fundamental role to play in providing protections for minorities against discrimination," said Ambassador Pascal Fieschi, OSCE's Head of Mission in Kosovo. "They must be actively involved and take ownership over the return dynamic, sending visible signs of tolerance to their communities." The report recommends that the OSCE drafted Omnibus Anti-discrimination Law should be passed. Security, instability and lack freedom of movement still affect minorities' access to services such as education and health care as well as equal employment opportunities. "Kosovo is still a fragile environment in which conditions for the return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees need to be carefully cultivated," said Walter Irvine, UNHCR's Chief of Mission in Kosovo. "Priority must be placed on the quality and the sustainability of returns in order to effectively lay a solid foundation for a lasting process." Progress made in 2002 on return of minorities to Kosovo is reviewed in the report, emphasising the importance of a more sustainable community-based approach. "Inter-community dialogue, confidence-building, committed involvement of the local authorities and a bottom-up approach represent key elements for improving the conditions of Kosovo's minorities and to guarantee the return process to occur in safety and dignity," said Mr. Irvine. "The key challenge now is for the provisional institutions to be inclusive and responsive to the needs of all of its communities. It is important for all communities that make up Kosovo's diverse society to work together for a better future," said Ambassador Fieschi. Overall the reporting period highlights that changes seen during the reporting period are not yet fundamental enough to conclude that conditions are in place for large scale return of ethnic minorities in the near future, underscoring the continuing need for international protection for members of ethnic minorities in Kosovo. The report is available in all three languages on OSCE's and UNHCR's websites.(see below) For further information, please contact: Poul Smidt Spokesperson Press and Public Information Section OSCE Mission in Kosovo Full Report (in pdf* format - 560.13 KB) http://www.reliefweb.int/library/documents/2003/osce-kos-10mar.pdf


NYT 1 Mar 2003 AMERICAN TO LEAD TRIBUNAL An American judge, Theodor Meron, has been elected president of the United Nations war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, replacing Claude Jorda of France. Mr. Meron has long served as professor of international law at New York University Law School and joined the tribunal as an appeals judge in 2001. Marlise Simons (NYT)

Reuters 6 Mar 2003 Kosovar Pleads Not Guilty THE HAGUE, the Netherlands, March 5 — A Kosovo Albanian war crimes suspect and prominent politician pleaded not guilty at The Hague today to charges of murder and torture in the province in 1998. The suspect, Fatmir Limaj, was identified as the leading member of a group of former Kosovo guerrillas in the tribunal's first indictment against Kosovo Albanian separatists who fought Serb forces in 1998-1999. He faced nine counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Arrested last month, he was transferred to The Hague on Tuesday.

NYT 12 Mar 2003 World Court for Crimes of War Opens in The Hague By MARLISE SIMONS HE HAGUE, March 11 — Fiercely opposed by the Bush administration and long awaited by other countries, a new and permanent international criminal court for dealing with dictators and war criminals formally opened today with the swearing in of its bench of 18 judges. The court's task will be to try individuals — not nations or armies — accused of large-scale crimes against civilians. The judges, 11 men and 7 women from all over the world, will be part of what was called today the most ambitious initiative in the history of modern international law. Dressed in black gowns, the 18 judges took their oath of office in a 14th-century hall of the Dutch Parliament, before jurists, diplomats, politicians and government ministers from more than 100 nations. One by one, their right hands raised, the judges pledged to perform their duties "honorably, faithfully, impartially and conscientiously." They also promised to respect "the confidentiality of investigations and prosecutions and the secrecy of deliberations." The group elected a president, Philippe Kirsch, a Canadian judge and international law specialist. Supporters hope the new institution will play a crucial role in averting as well as prosecuting major human rights abuses. Although the court is independent of the United Nations, Secretary General Kofi Annan was present and said he was looking forward to supporting its cause, "which is the cause of all humanity." He urged the judges to act without fear or favor. "Unspeakable crimes must be deterred," Mr. Annan said, adding that deterrence has been missing in the past. "It is needed today as much as ever, and it will be needed in the future." But the Bush administration, fearing that a politicized prosecutor could indict American officials or military personnel on missions abroad, has actively campaigned against the institution and pressed many governments into deals to disregard any subpoena issued for an American citizen. Washington has obtained such deals from 21 nations, mainly poor countries dependent on United States aid. No American officials attended the ceremony, but some American legal experts did, among them Theodor Meron, a professor at New York University Law School who was recently appointed president of the Yugoslavia war crimes tribunal, as well as two elderly lawyers who had played a role at the Nuremberg trials. One of them, Benjamin B. Ferencz, 82, said the current American leadership "seems to have forgotten the lessons we tried to teach the rest of the world." Several speakers tried to dispel the fears of America and others — including China, India, Iraq and Turkey — who are not among the 89 that have ratified the Rome Treaty that created the court in 1998. Prince Zeid al-Hussein of Jordan, who presided over the court's parent body, said the new court "is not the world's crucible for vengeance" but a "court of last resort." Its statutes dictate that it must defer to national courts first. The prosecutor, who is expected to be selected in April, can issue indictments only in cases where national courts are unwilling or unable to deal with grave atrocities, like war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. The court has no jurisdiction over single abuses, but only over those that have been "systematic or widespread." A panel of judges must approve any indictment before it can be issued. The shadow of a possible war in Iraq was also very present today. As the new court pledged to uphold the rule of law, several speakers expressed fears of a breakdown of international law if the United States and Britain waged war on Iraq without United Nations approval. With neither the United States nor Iraq members of the court, however, it seems unlikely that this new tribunal will play any role in prosecutions stemming from the war. British troops however could in theory be vulnerable in case of abuses. The court's jurisdiction covers only crimes committed after July 1, 2002. Anyone can bring charges, individuals, groups, governments, and the United Nations Security Council.

NYT 13 Mar 2003 Serb's Killing Is a Setback to War Crimes Tribunal By MARLISE SIMONS THE HAGUE, March 12 — The killing of Zoran Djindjic, the Serbian prime minister, was seen as a setback at the United Nations tribunal appointed to try the crimes of Yugoslavia's wars, where prosecutors regarded him as their best hope to deliver important Serbian fugitives indicted by the court. Carla Del Ponte, the tribunal chief prosecutor who frequently traveled to Belgrade to seek greater Serbian cooperation, said through a spokesman: "We have lost a great supporter who was in favor of working with the office of the prosecutor. He was a driving force in that regard because he believed achieving justice was important and would help his own country to deal with its past." Mr. Djindjic played a central role in the arrest of Slobodan Milosevic, the Serbian leader most widely blamed for instigating the carnage of 1990's Yugoslavia, and in Mr. Milosevic's transfer in June 2001 to the tribunal in The Hague. His trial on charges of war crimes and genocide has now been going on for more than a year. When Mr. Milosevic was handed over to the tribunal, Mr. Djindjic shunted aside the objections of other senior Serbian politicians. Ms. Del Ponte, who often criticized Belgrade over the lack of access to state archives and documents vital to the prosecution, had tense relations with other Serbian leaders, but she "always had very open and direct discussions with Mr. Djindjic," said Florence Hartmann, her spokeswoman. Ms. Del Ponte last visited him in his office on Feb. 17 and spoke with him by phone a week ago to discuss tribunal requests, Ms Hartmann said. Prosecutors have long sought documents clarifying the structure of the former Yugoslav Army and transcripts of meetings of top military men during the wars of the 1990's. Mr. Djindjic insisted repeatedly that it was beyond his power to get such documents from the military, a powerful and secretive institution in Serbia since Yugoslavia was established in 1945. But Mr. Djindjic cooperated in other areas, understanding that this was a crucial condition for Serbia to receive indispensable American and European financial help and to end his country's isolation. Backed by Western governments, the tribunal has been most eager to get hold of the wartime Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic, and his military chief, Ratko Mladic. General Mladic has often been seen in and near Belgrade, where he is believed to enjoy the protection of the military. .

ICRC 11 Mar 2003 Press Release 03/13 ICRC welcomes inaugural session of International Criminal Court Geneva (ICRC) - Ever since the community of nations recognized that the rights of war victims must be better protected under international law, there have been few more significant dates than 11 March 2003. On this day in The Hague, the 18 judges elected by the Assembly of States Parties for terms of up to nine years are to be sworn in during the inaugural session of the International Criminal Court (ICC), an event that should convincingly boost efforts to deprive of the cover of impunity all those who commit crimes against humanity, war crimes and acts of genocide. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), an organization that has over the past 140 years consistently been at the forefront of the struggle to enforce and broaden protection and assistance for the victims of armed conflict, welcomes this event and wishes every success to the ICC and all those who have worked and continue to work to uphold increasingly efficient standards of justice. As the guardian of the Geneva Conventions, the ICRC took an active part in drawing up the ICC's Rome Statute, which entered into force on 1 July 2002. The organization's president, Jakob Kellenberger, will attend the inaugural session. From an ICRC perspective, the Geneva Conventions and their two Additional Protocols were prime sources of inspiration for the Statute. This fact, along with the establishment of the ICC, is incontrovertible proof that international humanitarian law is more than ever necessary and relevant. The ICC is the latest and most important development in the field of international law. By making individuals criminally responsible for their actions, it should prove to be a powerful deterrent. From now on there will be a permanent and independent institution to enforce respect for the Geneva Conventions. The ICC is, however, an international court designed to supplement national courts. Under the principle of complementarity, it may act only when a State is unable or unwilling to exercise its own jurisdiction. The ICRC, through its Advisory Service on International Humanitarian Law, will continue to assist governments with the national implementation of their obligations under humanitarian law treaties so that they are better able to prosecute perpetrators in their own domestic courts and under the ICC Statute. To ensure the widest application of the Court's jurisdiction, all States should ratify the Statute.

Guardian UK 11 Mar 2003 International criminal court comes to life: Justice for genocide victims now in sight but American opposition threatens to hamstring new institution, Ian Black in the Hague Under the watchful eyes of Kofi Annan and the Queen of the Netherlands, 18 judges are to be sworn in today as the most important human rights institution the world has seen in half a century is formally inaugurated. The ceremony in the Dutch parliament marks the coming of age for the international criminal court - and the fulfilment of a dream that began with the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals for Nazi and Japanese war criminals, and later found expression in the work of the UN tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. But the ICC will be a new and, crucially, a permanent feature of the geopolitical landscape. It faces enormous challenges, including powerful American opposition, the task of choosing a prosecutor - and deciding who to put in the dock. The court's job is to provide justice for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, so that future victims have somewhere to turn to when national systems fail. Bruno Cathala, the French judge who has been overseeing the ICC since it came into existence last summer, can hardly contain his excitement. "This is about globalised justice," he said. "No one has ever built an international criminal court before. We are going to fill the impunity gap." Getting this far has been a long haul. The US, China, Russia and India remain opposed. Neither Iraq nor Israel has signed up. And Washington continues to pick off small countries to sign deals ensuring that American personnel are guaranteed immunity. But 89 other states now back the court, and the moment is approaching when the first pre-trial investigation will be launched: its likely target is the Congolese rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba. The Bemba case falls into the category of those where a "state party" to the ICC statute - in this case the Democratic Re public of Congo - is either "unwilling or unable" to prosecute a suspected war criminal. "At the moment the ICC is a highly abstract concept, and it can only start to be real when it gets its teeth into actual cases," said Steve Crawshaw, of Human Rights Watch. "That's when it will start to be a highly important player on the world stage." Before that, though, a prosecutor must be found."His or her decisions will have a crucial impact on the court's development and credibility," says the Dutch government, an enthusiastic supporter. "It is vital to find someone whose credentials are impeccable." This is proving difficult. Richard Goldstone, the first prosecutor at the Yugoslav tribunal, does not intend to leave his native South Africa. Carla del Ponte, the current incum bent, wants to see the Milosevic case through. Other top candidates are holding back. High politics and great sensitivities are at work here: the judges' bitterly fought election produced seven women and 11 men from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, eastern Europe, Latin America, North America, and western Europe. "We would not like to see this court becoming a court to prosecute poor countries or just Africa," warned the South African judge Navanethem Pillay, who is the president of the Rwanda tribunal. Staff numbers are to jump from 40 to 200 by the end of the year, but a big concern is to avoid creating a bloated and costly bureaucracy. "We need a 'plug-and-play' court that we can take anywhere in the world so that we don't have to bring everyone to the Hague," explains said Mr Cathala, the former deputy registrar of the Yugoslav tribunal. "We are not trying to create a judicial empire here; quite the opposite," said Mr Cathala. "Paradoxically, one measure of our success will be not doing too much." Under the principle that the ICC will serve only as a court of "last resort", other cases are likely to be generated by the conflicts in Colombia and Sierra Leone. Since jurisdiction is not retroactive, crimes committed before last July cannot be tried. No one claims the court will be perfect. Final negotiations saw its statute weakened, so it can try only crimes committed by nationals of governments that ratify the treaty, or in the territories of ratifying states. Some also doubt that its ambitions can be realised as long as the US stays out. Washington insists it is not trying to undermine the court, just to protect US personnel abroad from an "unaccountable" prosecutor. Russian actions in Chechnya, like Israel's in the occupied Palestinian territories, will also be off limits for the foreseeable future, risking accusations of selective justice. The UN security council can ask the ICC to launch investigations. But it will not have power to coerce, as it did when forcing Libya to give up the Lockerbie bombing suspects. No wonder then, despite Mr Cathala's optimism and the likelihood that more countries will eventually join, that the future looks so uncertain. "The ICC is likely to survive, but without the US and other key countries it is unlikely to be very significant," a leading American legal expert said. "It will trundle along, but they are not going to be able to crack tough nuts like getting Milosevic to the Hague because they will not have the diplomatic and institutional muscle to do it. "I continue to be pretty sceptical about how much diplomatic china some of the European states are prepared to break in the interests of international criminal justice." LOAD-DATE: March 11, 2003

Financial Times (London), March 12, 2003, Wednesday, WORLD NEWS;, Pg. 11, 100 words, UK frustrated by court delay NEWS DIGEST, By NIKKI TAIT, THE HAGUE Britain expressed disquiet yesterday at the time being taken by the new International Criminal Court, the world's first permanent forum for trying war crimes, to find a chief prosecutor. Bill Rammell, foreign minister responsible for global issues, said the government was "somewhat frustrated" by the failure to move forward on the appointment, which is delaying consideration of 200-plus complaints. Mr Rammell's comments came as diplomats, law experts and human rights advocates gathered in The Hague for the swearing-in of judges at the ICC's inaugural ceremony. Nikki Tait, The Hague LOAD-DATE: March 11, 2003 The Age (Melbourne), March 12, 2003 Wednesday, News; Pg. 5, 361 words, NSW Judge Candidate For International Court, Annabel Crabb Sydney judge Reginald Blanch is competing against a narrow field to become the world's first International Criminal Court prosecutor, with responsibility for pursuing war criminals. The Australian Government has been silent for months on the identity of its candidate, but is lobbying heavily to win the prosecutorial role in the new court. Justice Blanch, who served as New South Wales's first director of public prosecutions from 1987 until 1994, is Australia's candidate in a field of at least five contenders. If successful, he would assume responsibility for selecting cases to go before the court, which formally swore in its first panel of 18 judges last night Australian time in The Hague before United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The nomination and election of the 18 judges involved a frenetic round of diplomatic negotiations, and Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer faced criticism at home for failing to proffer an Australian candidate for the bench. Yesterday, a spokesman for the minister confirmed that an Australian candidate for the prosecutor's job was being put forward, but would not name the candidate. "We are looking for a consensus approach, so we're not going to name the candidate," he said. But a government source confirmed that Justice Blanch would be Australia's choice. Some Australian academics have argued that Australian soldiers could be vulnerable to prosecution in the ICC if they become engaged in a war against Iraq without United Nations approval. "International law says clearly, and the most recent statement of that is in the International Criminal Court statute, that if you disproportionately harm civilians . . . then this can constitute a war crime under the International Criminal Court statute," Professor Hilary Charlesworth of the Australian National University said at the weekend. Professor Tim McCormack, a Melbourne University international law expert who was recently appointed to assist in the UN Security Council's prosecution of former Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic, said yesterday he did not believe Australian soldiers in Iraq would be vulnerable to prosecution.

Inter Press Service 12 Mar 2003 A BRAVE NEW COURT WITH LITTLE REAL POWER, By Sanjay Suri, LONDON, Mar. 12 The International Criminal Court opened in The Hague this week but its writ will not run over much of the world in conflict. And where it does, any real action could still be years away. An agreement to set up an international court to try war crimes has been signed by 139 countries but ratified by only 89. These latter do not include many of the nations in conflict situations in which many cases for the court could arise. Also, the International Criminal Court (ICC) can only take up cases against those accused of war crimes after July 1, 2002 when it came into existence legally. And it can only deal with cases where the accused is a national of a signatory state or if the crime took place in a signatory state. And no one is certain how the court hopes to enforce its orders. The U.S. signed the ICC convention on Dec. 31, 2000 but then opted out. U.S. officials wrote to the ICC in May last year: "This is to inform you, in connection with the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court adopted on July 17, 1998, that the United States does not intend to become a party to the treaty." U.S. officials say that participation in the ICC would expose U.S. troops to politically motivated cases and undercut anti-terrorism efforts. China, Russia, India and Pakistan, Israel, North Korea, Iraq and most countries run by military dictatorships have opted to remain outside its jurisdiction. "But the only really prominent opponent is the Bush administration," William Pace, Convenor of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court, told IPS from The Hague. The coalition represents about 2,000 non-governmental organizations that back the court. The U.S. ambassador declined to attend the inauguration of the court at The Hague in the Netherlands Monday. Under strong U.S. pressure, about 20 countries have signed immunity arrangements with Washington under which any complaints from them would exempt all U.S. citizens. The U.S. is signing such agreements under Article 98 of the ICC's statute which allows signatory countries to refuse to hand citizens serving abroad to the court if doing so would clash with another international agreement. According to some reports the U.S. has threatened to cut off all assistance to nations that do not sign similar exemption agreements. Russia and China, despite staying out of it, have been making "neutral or pro-ICC statements over the past two or three years," Pace says. There are also countries "in the middle of terrible conflicts who have joined," he says. These include the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan and Colombia. In most cases the ICC is expected to take up cases that are referred either by the governments of countries that have ratified the agreement, or by NGOs and humanitarian organizations. But cases can also be referred by the United Nations Security Council and in such cases it makes no difference whether the government concerned has ratified the Rome agreement or not. That means any referral by the Security Council could be subject to a veto by any of the five permanent members - the U.S., Russia, China, France and Britain. But that could change "if the U.S. determines over the next one month that in the future the veto does not mean what it used to in the past," Pace says. Where its jurisdiction does run, the ICC will still not override governments and national court systems at will. Take the case of Britain, which has ratified the convention to set up the ICC. If Britain joins an attack on Iraq and a complaint is made before the ICC against British soldiers or its leaders, it would still be "only remotely" possible that the court will launch prosecution, Pace says. "The court would tell the British government in such a scenario of the complaints it has received over war crimes, but the British could say they have a functioning legal system which would investigate the complaints and prosecute someone if necessary," Pace says. The ICC could step in only if such an exercise proves to be a sham and a way of shielding individuals who should be found guilty. The ICC would in effect have to sit in judgement on the judicial systems of nations before it can begin to try individuals. Whatever actions result would be likely only in the somewhat distant future. Pace anticipates three or four cases going forward over the next 10 to 15 years. "A lot of what the court can do has to be sorted out, it cannot be predicted," he says. The court has already received hundreds of complaints even before it can begin dealing with cases. "But the court will not allow itself to be overwhelmed by frivolous referrals," Pace says. Eighteen judges were inaugurated Tuesday this week. A prosecutor is due to be appointed over the next two months. That is a critical post because the prosecutor will decide finally what cases the court chooses to take up. There is much dispute at present over that appointment. The court has got going with about 50 to 60 employees. But it will need about 200 employees for purposes of basic establishment. It will need 500 to 600 employees before it can begin dealing with cases. The tribunal to try war crimes in Yugoslavia needed 900 employees, the tribunal for Rwanda several hundred. Just setting up will take a year or two even with the fastest possible hiring of staff. But the establishment of the court represents a "fundamental strengthening of the international legal order, despite the sound and fury over another impending war," Pace says. "There has been progress in the development of law and justice at an international level over the last ten years," he says. "The development of international democracy in Europe over the past 35 years is as much a reality as Pax Americana." The court represents a globalization of democracy, human rights and the rule of law, Pace says, and has in a sense joined "the race between democracy and the principle of might is right." "The 20th century was the most violent in all of history and in this century so far that legacy is continuing. But the creation of this court has meant the creation of one of the greatest anti-war institutions in all of history."

NYT 16 Mar 2003 Court With a Growing Docket, but No Chief Prosecutor Yet By MARLISE SIMONS THE HAGUE, March 13 — The glass-and-steel headquarters of the new global war crimes court has a post office box — No. 19519 — that is already receiving complaints against dictators and human rights abusers from distant places. About 200 claims have arrived, according to the staff. While the International Criminal Court swore in its first bench of 18 judges this week, no complaint will be studied until a chief prosecutor is elected. Only he or she can bring charges of genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity in cases where national courts fail to act. The search for someone to fill the prosecutor's post is proving difficult. Members countries have scheduled the election for next month, but no strong candidate with broad support has emerged so far. Nominations were due in December, but court officials said they extended the date because they preferred to find a figure by consensus, rather than risk divisive bargaining. In the case of the judges, chosen according to a complex code to balance sex, legal traditions and geography, it took 33 rounds of voting. A short list for the prosecutor's post, including candidates from Argentina, Australia, Gambia and Niger, has been circulating. Canada was taken off the list after a Canadian judge, Philippe Kirsch, was elected this week as the court president. "No one thought this would be easy," said one court official, recalling that it took the war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia more than a year to find its first prosecutor in Richard Goldstone, a judge from South Africa. Kofi Annan, the United Nations secretary general, said the appointment was crucial. Speaking at the investiture of the judges, he said the experience of the war crimes tribunals for Rwanda and Yugoslavia had shown that "the decisions and public statements of the prosecutor will do more than anything else to establish the reputation of the court, especially in the first phases of its work." In private, a court official elaborated: "He or she must be solid on substance, skillful at handling the press, and be politically savvy. It has to be someone who can instill confidence, especially among countries that are not yet members, not least the United States." It is not easy to find all of those qualities in one person, who is also willing to give up a private life, he said. The prosecutor, unlike the judges, does not have to come from one of the 89 countries that have ratified the treaty establishing the court. That theoretically leaves the door open to large countries that have not joined, like China, India, Russia and the United States. Russia has said it will join, but has not ratified its decision. Some diplomats and legal experts here have speculated that an ideal prosecutor, in fact, would be an American, but they agree this seems unlikely because of the Bush administration's hostility to the court. "Americans are terrific prosecutors — they have a very fine tradition," said Geoffrey Robertson, who has just been named president of the international war crimes court for Sierra Leone. "Having a top-flight American would clearly help reconcile Washington to the court." Supporters argue that the fact the 18 judges are largely from Western-style democracies that are American allies may also calm critics. "With these judges it will be harder now to paint this court as an anti-American cabal and this will put the lie to the willful distortions Washington has put out about this court," said Richard Dicker, a director of Human Rights Watch in New York. Even with a prosecutor in place, it may take a year to prepare the first indictment. "It will be hard to manage expectations," said one official. "You don't want a prosecutor who is too politically scared and won't indict anybody or a prosecutor who is too anxious to get started and may indict too soon. The first case obviously will be crucial."

NYT 19 Mar 2003 MILOSEVIC ILL AGAIN Hearings in the war crimes trial of Slobodan Milosevic were suspended again for an undetermined time after the prison doctor found he had had a recurrence of high blood pressure, according to a spokesman for the United Nations tribunal. The former Yugoslav president, 61, has repeatedly fallen ill, causing the cancellation of more than 30 days of hearings since his trial began 13 months ago. Marlise Simons (NYT)


AFP 10 Mar 2003 Bread for votes: Chechen refugees to vote or go hungry by Arbi Arbiyev NAZRAN, Russia, March 10 (AFP) - For days now, Chechen refugees huddling in in the neighboring republic of Ingushetia have faced a choice -- either to sign up to vote in a controversial March 23 referendum or go without bread. Over the past three years, thousands of Chechens who fled their war-ravaged homeland to seek refuge in Ingushetian shanty-towns have come to depend on free bread distribution for their survival. But the authorities at the three distribution centers near Nazran on border with breakaway Chechnya have now ordered the refugees to sign on to voter lists for the upcoming constitutional referendum unless they wish to be off the aid lists as well, refugees complained to AFP. Some, like Zina Magomadova -- left alone with three children to feed -- find the choice is no choice at all. "I have no resources, my family lives on nothing but humanitarian aid, and if I did not sign on, I would have nothing to feed my kids," she said. Migration service officials, charged with distributing aid to refugees, told them they had orders to refuse bread handouts to those who did not fill out an application for the voters list, though they did not say who those orders came from. In the March 23 referendum, several hundred thousand Chechens including refugees living in Ingushetia are to vote on a new constitution that will fix their republic's place within the Russian Federation and pave the way for presidential and parliamentary elections later this year or in early 2004. Nevertheless, Yakha Madayeva, 48, has refused to sign on. "I have always supported Chechnya's independence and I will not sell my principles for a scrap of bread," she said, denouncing what she called official "pressure and intimidation." "I have no intention of taking part in this spectacle they call a referendum, and I have refused to fill out their paper. I'm not the only one, and that makes me happy," she added. "In any democratic state a referendum or elections are an expression of the popular will, and every citizen has a right to participate or not, but obviously those rules do not apply to Chechens," the refugee said. Chechnya's rebel president Aslan Maskhadov called on the Chechens to boycott the referendum, accusing Russia of trying to force his people to vote "at the point of a gun barrel" and insisting that there was no alternative to independence. In fact, dubious practices had already discouraged even those refugees who, like Madina Tsurayeva, originally decided to take part. "I hoped that this referendum will bring peace, but now I've understood that this is nothing but an attempt to swindle the Chechens yet again," she scoffed. "Since seeing this cynical attitude of blackmail and intimidation, I've pledged that neither me nor any of my family will take part in this poll," she said. Russia has sought to establish a semblance of "normalisation" in the republic with the referendum vote. However, international observers and rights defenders have criticized the poll as premature, with separatist rebels and federal troops continuing to battle for control of the small southern republic and civilians living in a war-zone. Federal troops stormed back into Chechnya in October 1999 in a self-declared anti-terrorist operation that was meant to be a lightning strike, but which has since degenerated into a protracted guerrilla war.

AFP 11 Mar 2003 Kremlin dismisses European monitors' snub of key Chechnya vote by Dmitry Zaks MOSCOW, March 11 (AFP) - The Kremlin dismissed Tuesday as "strange and cunning" a European observers' decision to shun a Chechen constitutional referendum cementing the separatist republic's Russian status and vowed to push through the contentious vote. In the latest war of words over Chechnya between Russia and the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), the top Kremlin spokesman on Chechnya unleashed a scathing attack on the Strasbourg-based rights body. "I think it is premature to draw a final line under a pronouncement of who will and who will not participate" in observing the vote, Sergei Yastrzhembsky told a roundtable discussion. Moscow needs a Western stamp of approval on the March 23 referendum in order to formally disassociate itself from the separatist leadership of rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov -- the once elected Chechen president now branded by Moscow as a terrorist. After several trips to Moscow and Chechnya, PACE decided Monday to steer clear of the war-torn Muslim republic, despite several rounds of negotiations with top officials including Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov. Yastrzhembsky said PACE made its decision -- which comes in the midst of a 41-month guerrilla war that sees heavy casualties on a nearly daily basis -- because the monitors were simply scared for their own personal safety. "It was a strange and cunning decision" by PACE, said Yastrzhembsky, implying that the move was political in nature. "They (the observers) know that their security would have been guaranteed by the state," he said. Yastrzhembsky added that "we very much hope that the vote will have a positive result" for Moscow that could lead to new presidential elections in Chechnya by the start of next year. At Yastrzhembsky's side sat Akhmad Kadyrov, the current pro-Russian Chechen administration chief -- on whose head the guerrillas have placed a hefty bounty -- whom most observers agree Moscow is going to back in the presidential vote. PACE representatives, however, said they decided not to come to Chechnya because it was impossible to fairly monitor elections there under the present tight Russian military presence and the fighting that still goes on. On all official trips to Chechnya, both Western journalists and diplomats are guided by dozens of heavily armed Russian soldiers who decide each trips' itinerary. "There were only two alternatives: Either to send observers in a normal way, independently, so that we could ourselves decided where to go (in Chechnya). But this was impossible because it is too dangerous," PACE representative Matjaz Gruden told AFP from Strasbourg. "Or we could rely on the Russian security, without making any meaningful observations of our own," he added. "Our group decided neither was an option," he said. At the same discussion attended by Yastrzhembsky and Kadyrov, which took place to introduce Western journalists to Chechnya, President Vladimir Putin's top rights advisor rejected Moscow press reports that Chechen refugees in neighboring Ingushetia were threatened with food deprivation if they did not vote. "To the best of our knowledge, the situation in the refugee camps is normal," said Ella Pamfilova. Russian media have indicated that Chechen refugees in Ingushetia are being asked to fill out a voter's registration card in order to qualify for vital supplies of humanitarian aid. The Kommersant business daily implied that the move was aimed at winning enough votes for the pro-Russian constitution. Refugees have made similar allegations to AFP. Pamfilova confirmed that registration forms for the referendum in Chechnya were being made available at food distribution points but insisted that the supplies were in no way conditional on voting.

AP 13 Mar 2003 Chechens claim Russians blow up corpses -By Sarah Karush March 13, 2003 | MOSCOW (AP) -- Aslan Dzhabrailov says he wasn't supposed to be seen again, dead or alive. He says Russian troops in Chechnya dragged him from his bed last month and tortured him, then ignited explosives under him and his dead brother, apparently to erase the evidence. Had the explosives gone off, the men's remains would have been unrecognizable. In what would be a grisly twist to the pattern of alleged military abuses in Chechnya's 3 1/2-year war, residents and human rights campaigners say fragments of blown-up bodies are being found all over the war-ruined region. Rather than put a stop to human rights violations, the military appears to be doing its best to hide them, critics say. Some even see signs of a coordinated campaign of killing Chechens. "Lately, near a pipeline not far from our village, (Chechen) policemen have been finding people's blown-up remains," said Murzabek Saidulayev of Belgatoi, about 18 miles south of Grozny, the capital. "That's where the federals (troops) like to blow up corpses. They drive there in armored personnel carriers." Lawmaker and rights campaigner Sergei Kovalyov theorizes that the intent is to make it difficult for independent investigators to connect the corpses to the soldiers who allegedly arrested them. Bodies blown up beyond recognition can more easily be blamed on the rebels, he says. Kovalyov traveled to the United States and Britain last month to press for action, but was told ``quiet diplomacy'' was preferable. He says that isn't working. President Vladimir Putin and other officials have repeatedly called on troops to obey the law during security sweeps that civilians say often lead to disappearances. Last year the military ordered arresting troops to fully identify themselves and inform relatives of detainees' whereabouts. But rights advocates say the order is ignored and most likely meant to appease critics. The pattern of blown-up bodies, and the fact that remains of people from different parts of Chechnya are found in the same place, point to a centralized system of violence, Kovalyov said. "What comes to mind immediately are death squads. ... The question of genocide could be raised," he added. Igor Botnikov, a Kremlin spokesman on Chechnya, scoffed at the charges, saying he would "leave those words on Mr. Kovalyov's conscience." Asked if the charges were worth checking, he said all allegations of military abuse are investigated. Independent verification is impossible because violence and government restrictions prevent Western journalists from working unimpeded in Chechnya. Dzhabrailov, 23, spoke to The Associated Press on condition his location not be revealed because he feared reprisals. The details of his story match the patterns Kovalyov's allies at the Russian human rights group Memorial have documented. His head bandaged and his face covered in bruises, Dzhabrailov said masked troops stormed his house in the village of Pobedinskoye, 9 miles west of Grozny, at dawn on Feb. 16. They pulled him and his brother Valid, 30, from their beds, and -- ignoring the pleas of their mother and sister -- handcuffed them, put sacks over their heads and drove for about an hour until they heard gates opening. He said he heard helicopters and believed he was at Khankala, the military's main base in Chechnya. Dzhabrailov was separated from his brother and brought to a basement, where he remained chained to a pipe for a day and a half. Masked men visited him periodically, jabbing his kidneys with guns and breaking his nose with flashlights. They demanded Dzhabrailov confess to having fought with the rebels. Dzhabrailov said he was never involved in fighting. In the evening, he said, an unmasked man came, silently put a bag over Dzhabrailov's head and led him to a vehicle. "A cold, dead body lay under me," he said. After a long ride, the men removed the corpse from the truck and dragged Dzhabrailov onto the ground, his head still covered. He said he heard a shot and a bullet took off some skin above his ear. Dzhabrailov said he heard the men put something underneath him and the corpse and light it with a cigarette lighter. Then the truck left, and Dzhabrailov freed himself and extinguished the lit fuse. He looked at the corpse next to him and recognized his brother's mangled body by his clothes.

AFP 17 Mar 2003 Putin offers Chechens "sweeping autonomy" under new constitution by Catherine Lavrentieva MOSCOW, March 17 (AFP) - Russia's President Vladimir Putin has offered Chechnya "sweeping autonomy" within Russia if they approve a new constitution in a referendum next week. The constitution would "give Chechnya a chance to reconstruct its life and obtain sweeping autonomy within Russia's borders," Putin said in a televised address broadcast on Chechen television late Sunday, a week ahead of the March 23 poll, and in the rest of Russia on Monday. He urged Chechens to turn out to vote in the referendum which he described as "an important step" towards ending the devastation and restoring order. "Only the people can determine their destiny. You have your children's future in your hands, and that of your homeland. So I call on you to vote and make a correct choice," he said. The poll comes three and a half years after Russia sent its troops into Chechnya to put down a separatist insurgency. Critics have argued that the security situation in Chechnya, where rebels continue to inflict regular losses on Russian forces and pro-Russian administrators, is too precarious to lend the poll validity. However Moscow is arguing that the new constitution, and the presidential and parliamentary elections that Chechen voters are also being asked to approve, will form the basis of a durable peace in the war-ravaged republic. "A constitution accepted by its people would become a basis for a political settlement in Chechnya, allowing them choose truly democratic authorities that would rely on popular trust," Putin said, stressing that the republic would not be allowed to secede. While regretting Stalin's 1944 deportation of the Chechen population in which tens of thousands of people died, Putin said the origins of the present "tragedy" lay in the 1991 declaration of independence by the Chechen president Dzhokar Dudayev. However the new constitution would help end the military "sweeps," the bureaucracy and corruption and the harsh military rule in Chechnya, he said. Though making no direct reference to the separatist rebels who continue to operate in many part of the republic, Putin said Russian troops would be withdrawn and checkpoints dismantled apart a few that would "fight crime, not rob the civilian population." Russia will maintain its aid to restore Chechnya's shattered economy, particularly its food, construction and oil industry, as well as provide housing for thousands of Chechens left homeless and educate children deprived of schooling by the bloody warfare, he said. The Russian leader was upbeat in his assessment of the present situation, while admitting that life in Chechnya for the moment "still looks as it has been hit by a natural catastrophe." But he noted improvements such as "the newly restored power lines in many districts, the restoration of gas supplies, the working hospitals and schools." Around 530,000 Chechens are eligible to vote in the referendum, as are some 23,000 Russian troops permanently stationed in the breakaway republic. European human rights bodies have said the poll is coming too soon in a republic still wracked by daily battles between federal troops and separatist rebels, who have been fighting a bloody war since December 1994, with a three-year break between 1996 and October 1999. Earlier this month the Council of Europe said it would not send observers to monitor the poll.

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty Date: 18 Mar 2003 Democrats argue that Chechen referendum is premature Echoing an article published last month by Yabloko leader Grigorii Yavlinskii, Yabloko, the Union of Rightist Forces, the Social Democratic Party of Russia, and the human rights organization Memorial issued a statement on 17 March arguing that while a referendum on a new Chechen constitution must be held at some point, it is premature to do so while hostilities continue, Interfax reported (see "RFE/RL Caucasus Report," 14 February 2003). They propose a two-stage approach to resolving the Chechen conflict, in which a formal cease-fire and an end to guerrilla activities and "sweep" operations would precede a peace conference at which all factions would be represented.

NYT 19 Mar 2003 REBEL LEADER URGES 'NO' VOTE A pro-guerrilla Web site quoted the Chechen rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov as urging Chechnya's residents to reject a new constitution for the province in a Kremlin-backed referendum scheduled for Sunday. The Web site, www.kavkazcenter.com, quoted Mr. Maskhadov as saying that Russia was "trying to force us to vote at gunpoint" in the referendum, which has been heavily promoted by the pro-Russian authorities in the region. Russia says the proposed constitution would give Chechens broad political freedoms while remaining part of the Russian state; the guerrillas say nothing short of total independence for Chechnya is acceptable. Michael Wines (NYT)

Prague Watchdog 24 Mar 2003 Human rights defenders cast doubt on referendum results Timur Aliyev, North Caucasus - Chechen human rights defenders have cast doubt on the 85% turnout announced for the Chechen constitutional referendum, claiming that their monitoring did not reveal such a high number. "The town was virtually empty, and by noon only seven elderly men came to the polling station in Katayama," said Yekaterina Sokiryanska, a trainee at Memorial, the Russian human rights group. "As soon as we heard on television that there were queues at the polling station of School No.7, we rushed right over, but we found only five people there. It seems that shortly before our arrival, long queues had indeed formed, but they were primarily made up of people loyal to Beslan Gantamirov, the Chechen Press Minister," stated Lida Yusupova of Memorial. Meanwhile, Chechen authorities today declared that the election took place and that the drafts of the constitution and the presidential and parliamentary election acts had been approved. Abdul-Kerim Arsakhanov, chairman of the Election Committee, said that according to preliminary results from 418 election precincts in Chechnya and Ingushetia, 85% of registered voters arrived at the polls on March 23. "Therefore voting did take place," he insisted, adding that each of the three documents was approved by some 95-97% of voters. "The results were known beforehand," Memorial's Usam Baysayev's said. "How is it possible that by 10:00 a.m. the turnout in Sharoy had already reached 40%? The answer is that 1,500 people live in the Sharo-Argun village, but there are also 4,000 Russian border guards there and they obviously increased the percentage," Baysayev explained. According to the Joint Troops Group in Northern Caucasus, a total of 36,000 permanently stationed servicemen and their families were included in the poll. There are 23,000 soldiers of the Russian Defense Ministry, 9,000 of the Russian Interior Ministry, and 4,000 border guards, all of whom voted at 41 polling stations located in military compounds and command posts. In Ingushetia, nearly 3,000 people had submitted applications that made them eligible to vote; yet the actual turnout totalled 5,500. Ruslan Badalov, the chairman of the Chechen Committee for National Salvation, thinks the difference was caused by incorrect figures provided by the election committee. "There are 50,000 eligible voters among Chechen refugees in Ingushetia, so given that figure, only 3.5% of the refugees took part in the referendum," he stated. "Even if we use the figures of the Ingush Interior Ministry, that there were 20,000 eligible voters in Ingushetia, then the turnout does not even exceed 15%," Badalov added. Badalov claims that the figures are fictitious, like the ones in last year's census. "In fact, the majority of Chechens boycotted the referendum," he asserted. In the meantime, protests against the referendum continue in Grozny. Some 30-40 women, whose sons disappeared during the Russian mop-up operations, are still picketing in front of the Chechen administration building.

AP 25 Mar 2003 Monument Defiled ST. PETERSBURG (AP) -- Vandals in St. Petersburg defiled a monument to victims of political repression under Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, a human rights group said Monday. The Memorial human rights group said the vandals wrote "Long live the great Stalin!" on the monument. It was the fourth act of vandalism on the monument since the fall. "This indicates the general condition of society, which has lost the culture of memory and understanding of its own past," said Irina Flige, head of the St. Petersburg branch of Memorial.

AP 27 Mar 2003 Russian court legalizes textbook critical of Jews MOSCOW (AP) - A Russian court decided Monday there's nothing illegal in a government-endorsed textbook that describes Jews as power-hungry and greedy, a rights group said. The Moscow-based Movement for Human Rights wanted prosecutors to open a criminal investigation into "The Fundamentals of Orthodox Culture," a public school textbook endorsed by the Education Ministry and Russian Orthodox Church. The book says Jews forced Pontius Pilate to crucify Jesus because "they thought only about power over other peoples and earthly wealth." It also accuses non-Orthodox groups in Russia of "not always behaving nobly in the traditionally Orthodox state." The textbook is intended for school classes on Russian Orthodoxy, which are increasingly common though opponents say they violate separation of church and state. Last year, the Movement for Human Rights sought criminal prosecution for the book under laws against inciting ethnic hatred. Federal prosecutors referred the issue to local Moscow prosecutors who refused to pursue a case. The Meshchansky district court has now upheld their refusal.


NYT 19 Mar 2003 NEW PREMIER Serbia's Parliament approved the nomination of a loyal ally of Zoran Djindjic, the reformist prime minister who was assassinated last week, as the republic's new leader. Zoran Zivkovic, 42, will preside over the same cabinet, and unwieldy coalition, as his predecessor. He vowed to dismantle the alliances of criminal networks and war criminals that Mr. Djindjic was trying to face down before he was shot. The police have now detained 750 suspects, most of them from the Belgrade underworld, in their search for the killers, believed to be members of Serbia's biggest gang. Its ringleaders remain at large. Daniel Simpson (NYT)

BBC 19 Mar 2003 Serbian purge spreads to judges The Serbian authorities are in the midst of a massive crackdown The Serbian Government has taken action against more than 30 judges, as part of its continuing crackdown following the assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic. The judges, including seven from the Supreme Court, have been retired early. No specific allegations have been made against them. Restrictions on local media are also being enforced, with two dailies - Nacional and Dan - and the weekly Identitet banned on Tuesday allegedly for hindering the police investigation. In a separate development, Serbian Interior Minister Dusan Mihajlovic said police now knew the identities of two of the three people who carried out the assassination. Third man He added that they were members of the Zemun clan, an organised crime network with alleged links to supporters of former President Slobodan Milosevic which is said to have organised the killing. Zivkovic: More than 700 have been arrested The photo of the third man was published in several newspapers on Wednesday. It has been reported that he may be a citizen of a neighbouring country. Mr Djindjic was shot by sniper fire outside the government headquarters in central Belgrade. The three are said to have carried out the attack from the second floor of a nearby building. Political background The BBC's Nick Hawton in Belgrade says the authorities are in the midst of a massive operation against those they believe have links to organised crime in Serbia. The new Prime Minister, Zoran Zivkovic, has said more than 750 people have been arrested in the police inquiry since Mr Djindjic's assassination last week. But he said in parliament on Tuesday that the assassination of Mr Djindjic had a clear political background and was not linked solely to the mafia. Under the emergency powers, people can be held for 30 days without charge, and without access to lawyers. Several members of the Zemun clan are still at large, including leader Milorad Lukovic, nicknamed Legija, a former paramilitary commander in the wars in Croatia and Bosnia.


NYT 9 Mar 2003 Nostalgia for Old Name Lingers in Uneasy Union By DANIEL SIMPSON ELGRADE, Serbia, March 8 — Yugoslavia, a country that will forever be associated with war in the Balkans, was consigned to the history books last month when its leaders agreed to a rebranding exercise imposed by the European Union to stop it from subdividing further. Its borders remain the same, but its new title, "the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro," is as awkward as relations between its constituent republics. That said, both in Serbia, the dominant partner, and in Montenegro, a tiny coastal state that had been seeking a divorce, people generally agree on two things: the new name is awful, and it will not last long. "It takes an eternity just to pronounce it," scoffed Maja Jovanovic, a 28-year-old hairdresser in Belgrade. "I can't exactly imagine anyone falling into a state of frenzy chanting it at a soccer match." Over the mountains to the south, Montenegrins are just as dismissive. Furthermore, for every separatist there is an ardent Yugo-nostalgic, reminiscing fondly about a country that was for most of its history ruled by autocrats who suppressed ethnic rivalries and kept most people in gainful employment. "All the newspapers say Yugoslavia has died," Bosko Sjekloca, a history professor from the Montenegrin capital, Podgorica, said with a sigh. "But the Yugoslav ideal will never die." Others contend that it has been dead for more than a decade, after five wars that claimed close to a quarter of a million lives, while creating four new countries and two semipermanent international peacekeeping missions. "For the past 15 years we only had this fictional Yugoslavia made up by Slobodan Milosevic," said Mirjana Jelovic, a 57-year-old doctor, referring to the former Serbian and Yugoslav leader. "I'll just keep calling myself a Serb. Russians say they're from Russia, not from the Commonwealth of Independent States." As with many outside interventions in Balkan affairs, the demand from Western Europe that the illusion of a union between Serbia and Montenegro be maintained derives from the unplanned consequences of earlier interventions. Having encouraged Montenegro to secede as a way of pressuring Mr. Milosevic in the late 1990's, Western policy makers changed direction when Mr. Milosevic lost power in 2000. He is now in The Hague being tried on charges of war crimes. Since then, they have been preoccupied with the question of what to do about Kosovo, where the majority Albanian population fought to repel his repressive security forces until NATO intervened in 1999. Kosovo's Albanians also want independence, but United Nations resolutions still classify their province as part of Yugoslavia. The collapse of the Yugoslav federation would make it impossible to contain Kosovo separatist demands, international officials contended. Hence Yugoslavia's new name and a new constitution that classifies Kosovo as part of their union, to which both republics have agreed to adhere for at least three years. The solution has further incensed Kosovo Albanians. Their increasingly fraught relationship with the United Nations officials who govern the province has encouraged Serbian politicians to demand the partition of Kosovo into Serbian and Albanian territories. That is the outcome that international officials most want to avoid. "I'm not sure what the European Union thinks it has achieved by sending Javier Solana down here to invent new countries that don't work," said Milan Stolic, a Belgrade lawyer, referring to the European Union's foreign policy chief. "Maybe we should just call the place `Solania' and have done with it." Almost everyone contends, though, that the constitutional sleight of hand was essential. "It buys us some time," one European diplomat said. "We're simply not ready to start talking about the future status of Kosovo at this stage." But the inevitability of talks on this issue only makes it more likely that Serbia and Montenegro will part company as soon as the terms of their new relationship allow. Senior politicians from both republics say the deal is unworkable in the long run because it has officially sanctioned the existence of separate economies, each with different currencies, and two conflicting legal systems. "Even if the rest of the world is integrating, I think it would be much better if Serbia and Montenegro split up," said Neli Perovic, a 35-year-old Belgrade economist. "We're clearly too immature to make things work together." The flags of both Serbia and Montenegro are virtually identical tricolors of red, blue and white, although the Montenegrin blue is a slightly lighter shade. But despite nine months of tortuous talks on the constitutional framework, there is still no agreement on how any of its official symbols should look. The union has no national anthem either, although one is to be composed by the end of this year. Confused as to which country they inhabit, many people have paused to reflect on the passing of a name that once seemed to offer hope for unity in a troubled corner of Europe, where bitter rivalries between ethnic groups stretch back centuries. Yugoslavia, which means "land of the southern Slavs," came into being in 1929 when the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes created after World War I adopted a name with greater resonance. Nostalgia for the days of cold-war prosperity under the nonaligned leadership of Tito is perhaps the most striking consequence of the creation of Serbia and Montenegro. "Farewell Yugoslavia," said a headline in a Belgrade paper the day the old federation was dissolved. "You live on in history and the memories of generations that grew, lived and bled under your name."

BBC 12 Mar 2003 Serbian premier assassinated Djindjic played a leading role in ousting Milosevic The Serbian Prime Minister, Zoran Djindjic, has been assassinated in the capital, Belgrade. He was shot in front of government offices at around 1300 (1200 gmt) on Wednesday. He was taken to hospital for emergency surgery but a government minister told the BBC's Serbian section that he had died of his wounds. Mr Djindjic, a former mayor of the Serbian capital, was a prominent reformist opposition leader until Slobodan Milosevic was ousted from power in 2000. Unconfirmed Serbian media reports say that two people were arrested at the scene of the shooting. A police source told Reuters news agency that he had been hit twice by large-calibre sniper rifle bullets. The editor of the Fonet news agency, Zoran Sekulich, told BBC World television Mr Djindjic had been shot once in the stomach and once in the back. Enemies On 21 February Mr Djindjic survived what he said was an assassination bid when a lorry swung into the path of his motorcade as he was travelling to Belgrade airport. He later dismissed the incident as a "futile effort" which could not stop democratic reforms. Correspondents say that Mr Djindjic, 50, made many enemies over his career as a pro-democracy campaigner and then as Serbia's prime minister. He was pivotal in arresting and handing Mr Milosevic over to the war crimes tribunal in The Hague in June 2001. The move opened the way to international aid to the then Yugoslavia.

www.b92.net 12 March SERBIAN PM ASSASSINATED Martial law in wake of Djindjic assassination BELGRADE, Wednesday (B92) – Acting Serbian President Natasa Micic late on Wednesday proclaimed a state of emergency in Serbia after the assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic. Djindjic was gunned down outside the Serbian Government building at 12.30 this afternoon, sustaining wounds to the heart and chest. Surgical and resuscitation teams at the Belgrade Emergency Centre failed to revive him and he was pronounced dead just 65 minutes later. Senior police officer Sreten Lukic told B92 that the prime minister’s bodyguards did not return the fire and that police arrived on the scene within minutes. The shots were fired by a sniper positioned on the roof of a building across the street which is in the process of renovation. Three suspects have been detained in connection with the assassination. Capital brought to a standstill An emergency meeting of the cabinet resolved that Micic should declare a state of emergency. Belgrade traffic came to a standstill after the shooting, with police stopping and searching cars throughout the central city and on bridges across the Danube and Sava rivers. They appeared to be concentrating on luxury vehicles. Belgrade airport was also closed for departures for several hours and security provisions at the airport stepped up. Passengers leaving on intercity bus lines were also subjected to police searches. At the inner city headquarters of Djindjic’s Democratic Party, the party’s blue and yellow flags were lowered to half mast, as was the Serbian flag atop the building. Belgraders flooded into the city early this evening to pay silent tribute to the murdered prime minister, leaving flowers and lighted candles near the spot where he was assassinated. The government has announced three days of mourning, beginning tomorrow. The first effects of the state of emergency were felt by media this evening when Deputy Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic summoned the heads of broadcast and publishing organisations to a meeting. They were ordered to only publish information from official government sources. Imprisoned by Tito Djindjic was born in Bosnia on August 1, 1952 in the town of Bosanski Samac. He graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade in 1974. He was jailed by communist leader Josip “Tito” Broz in 1974 for attempting to organise an independent student union. On his release he went to West Germany where he worked at a number of universities and social science institutes in Konstanz, Bonn and Frankfurt, where he completed a Ph.D in philosophy. He was one of the founders of the Democratic Party and in 1990 was elected president of the party’s executive. In 1994 he became president of the party. During this period he was a senior consultant in the Centre for Philosophy and Social Theory in Belgrade and also taught at the Faculty of Philosophy in Novi Sad. Djindjic as a member of the Serbian Parliament and the upper house of the Federal Parliament from the beginning of multi-party politics in Yugoslavia. Leading the opposition to Milosevic After heading, together with the leaders of the Serbian Renewal Movement and the Civil Alliance of Serbia, three months of demonstrations in Belgrade in the winter of 1996-97 which resulted in the overturn of fraudulent local election results, he was elected mayor of Belgrade in February, 1997. He was dumped from the job little more than six months later when the Serbian Renewal Movement, with whom Djindjic’s Democratic Party was in coalition, joined the Socialist Party and the Serbian Radical Party to vote against him. He was given a four month suspended prison service after a legal dispute with then Serbian Prime Minister Mirko Marjanovic in 1996. The Serbian Supreme Court later extended the sentence to seven months, suspended for three years. In June, 2000, Djindjic undertook the campaign leadership for the DOS coalition, bringing about a win for the coalition’s presidential candidate, Vojislav Kostunica. In the same elections, he again won a seat in the Federal Parliament’s Chamber of the Republics. “Politician for the third millennium” Djindjic was elected Serbian prime minister on January 25, 2001, after the DOS coalition victory in Serbian parliamentary elections in December, 2000. US news magazine Time, in September 1999, included Djindjic among fourteen leading European politicians for the Third Millennium. He was also a winner of the German Bambi Award in 2000, and in 2002 won a Polak Foundation award for his contribution to the development of democracy in Serbia. He is the author of a number of books including “Subjectivity and Violence” and “Yugoslavia as an Unfinished State” and edited a philosophy journal. He is survived by his wife Ruzica, daughter Jovana and son Luka.

Government of Serbia 12 Mar 2003 Acting Serbian President declares state of emergency Belgrade, March 12, 2003 - In line with the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia, article 83, item 8, Acting Serbian President Natasa Micic has declared a state of emergency on the territory of the Republic of Serbia. The Serbian government made the state of emergency proposal following the assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic. Briefing the press in the Serbian government building, Micic said: "In view of the fact that the assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic has put into jeopardy the safety of the Republic of Serbia, the rights of citizens and the work of state institutions, I am declaring a state of emergency at the proposal of the Serbian government, in line with the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia, article 83, item 8, with the aim of facilitating the capture of the assassins. The state of emergency on the territory of the Republic of Serbia is declared. The assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic represents an attack on the country's constitutional system and is a major crime against its safety and stability. This criminal act is an attempt to stop the fight against organised crime, democratic reforms, integration into the international community and to undermine the stability of the country, but also the whole region. I decided to accept the state of emergency proposal made by the Serbian government so that the safety of people and property can be maintained, and so that state organs can confront organised crime with the harshest measures available. To that end, the state will use all methods a law-abiding state can use in a state of emergency to bring to justice the masterminds and perpetrators of this [crime], and all other recently committed crimes. I urge all citizens and state institutions to remain calm in this difficult moment and fulfill their obligations as stipulated by the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia and the Law on state of emergency. I also urge all state institutions and legal entities to take all necessary measures as stipulated by the Law on state of emergency and be at the disposal of the security bodies in their efforts to capture Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic's assassins and bring them to justice. I urge the Army of Serbia and Montenegro, the police, judiciary organs, the media and political parties to unite in achieving these objectives because the country's safety and stability are at stake. The state of emergency will be in force until we have achieved these goals, that is, until the murderers have been captured."

NYT 13 Mar 2003 DEATH IN THE BALKANS Assassins Leave Grisly Trail in Serbia By THE NEW YORK TIMES ome of the more significant attacks against public figures in Serbia: FEBRUARY 2003 Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic of Serbia survives when a truck tries to run into his motorcade near Belgrade's airport. JUNE 2002 Gen. Bosko Buha, the deputy chief of Serbian public security, is shot dead in front of a hotel in Belgrade. AUGUST 2001 Monir Gavrilovic, a former Serbian secret police official, is shot dead in a suburb of Belgrade. FEBRUARY 2001 Interior Minister Dusan Mihajlovic survives when attackers shoot at his car in Belgrade. APRIL 2000 Zika Petrovic, head of the state-owned Yugoslav Airlines, is shot dead while walking his dog near his home in Belgrade. FEBRUARY 2000 Defense Minister Pavle Bulatovic is shot dead in a Belgrade soccer club. JANUARY 2000 Zeljko Raznatovic, a feared Serbian paramilitary leader under indictment for war crimes and known as Arkan, is shot dead in a hotel lobby in Belgrade. OCTOBER 1999 The opposition leader Vuk Draskovic survives when an armored truck runs into his car in Belgrade. Several others die in the attack. APRIL 1997 Radovan Stojicic Badza, the head of public security for the Serbian police, is shot dead in a Belgrade restaurant.

NYT 13 Mar 2003 Killings Shaped Serbia and Also Roiled Europe By MICHAEL T. KAUFMAN From Napoleonic times to World War I to the recent years of Yugoslavia's collapse, assassinations like yesterday's killing of Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic have profoundly shaped Serbia's political life and at times thrown Europe into conflict and turmoil. The most explosive of these political murders occurred on June 28, 1914, when Gavrilo Princip, an ardent Serbian nationalist, shot and killed Archduke Francis Ferdinand and his consort as the Hapsburg pair were driven through Sarajevo. The act ignited World War I, four years of bitter fighting that resulted in the collapse of empires ruled from Moscow, Istanbul, Vienna and Berlin, and in a redrawn map of Europe that included the new state of Yugoslavia. Neither Princip nor fellow members of the Black Hand terrorist organization likely anticipated how their act would reverberate. But, as in many assassinations in the Balkans, motives of vengeance and desires to shift policies are interlaced. The resort to assassination has been so common that of the 10 monarchs who ruled Serbia, 3 have been murdered and 4 others deposed. The first to be killed was King Michael, a member of the Obrenovic dynasty, which over the years vied for the crown with a second family, the Karadjordjevics. On June 10, 1868, he was shot to death as he walked in a park outside Belgrade. The crime was never solved. Then on June 10, 1903, as the economy faltered and a political crisis hardened, a mob aided and abetted by nationalist officers invaded the palace. They killed King Alexander, also an Obrenovic, and the unpopular Queen Draga, who had been his mistress, and threw their naked bodies into the park below, where the populace reportedly cheered and waved flags. That was followed by the Balkan wars, the killing of the Austrian archduke, and World War I. With peace came the emergence of a country then known as the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, which in 1929 was renamed Yugoslavia, meaning the land of the southern Slavs. On Oct. 9, 1934, its king, Alexander Karadjordjevic, was shot dead during a state visit to France by Croatian nationalists. During World War II, political assassination gave way to broader ethnic slaughter involving the Nazi-backed Ustasha government of Croatia, the largely Serbian units of Draza Mihaijlovic and the ultimately triumphant Communist Partisans of Marshal Tito. Under his rule, the expression of regional and sectarian differences was discouraged and the pattern of political assassination was interrupted, though Croatian nationalists mounted occasional terror campaigns from exile. With the death of Tito in 1980 and the resurgence of Serbian and other nationalisms in the decade that followed, the six republics of Yugoslavia elected increasingly separatist leaders, including, in Serbia, Slobodan Milosevic. Now on trial at the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague, he is accused of instigating four Balkan wars that revived many of the long-buried divisions of World War II and killed more than 200,000 people. Several of his associates were assassinated in Belgrade in recent years — unsolved killings largely attributed to the mix of shady businessmen and people accused of being war criminals who came to control Serbia as Yugoslavia unraveled. Among the most prominent victims was Zeljko Raznatovic, better known as Arkan, who headed a militia widely blamed for some of the worst killings of non-Serbs in the wars in Croatia and Bosnia. He was shot dead by unknown gunmen in a Belgrade hotel in January 2000. Two months later a former defense minister was shot dead. Mr. Milosevic was forced to cede power in October 2000 after he lost a presidential election to Vojislav Kostunica. Mr. Djindjic became prime minister and promised reform, but the killings continued. Last June, for example, unknown assassins killed Gen. Bosko Buha, a former police aide to Mr. Milosevic who had shifted allegiance to Mr. Djindjic as Mr. Milosevic's rule collapsed. In November another high- ranking police official was shot dead in central Belgrade.

NYT 14 Mar 2003 Serbia Loses More Than a Leader By LAURA SILBER Two weeks ago in Belgrade, I walked into Zoran Djindjic's living room and sat down on the couch. There he was, Serbia's first democratically elected prime minister, talking away, telephone in one hand and remote control in the other. It is hard, now, to believe he is gone, gunned down outside his office on Wednesday. A pair of crutches lay next to a pile of books on a coffee table; I think "Bush at War" by Bob Woodward was on top. We looked at photographs of my daughters, and he marveled at how the little one resembled my husband. The three of us had been friends back in the days when few outside of Serbia knew Zoran, the man who would one day become leader of his country and send his political arch-enemy, Slobodan Milosevic, to the war crimes tribunal in The Hague. Over a long night of talk and wine, we discussed America's code orange security alert, Iraq, Serbia and the world as phantasmagoria: this was Zoran Djindjic, a hundred things at the same time. It was the way he ran Serbia — masterminding, pressing forward with plans to wrench a fractured country into the modern age. We talked about a failed assassination attempt on him a few days before — a truck had swerved into his car. He seemed unshaken. I told him I was worried about how easily I had entered his house. He made a call to bolster security. I think he assumed he was smarter than his enemies. He and his wife, Ruzica, did not seem afraid. I felt humbled by their courage. Fit and slim, Zoran was on crutches after rupturing his Achilles tendon the week before in an exhibition soccer match: the government versus the police. He laughed at how the police officers were surprised to see him, and did not know whether to win or to throw the game to the prime minister. Upbeat and full of plans, this was not a man who expected to die soon. His murder is a tragedy for Serbia, and a lesson for the United States. When he and his fellow reformers overthrew the Milosevic regime in 2000, they inherited a security system that had been built up Soviet-style by Marshal Tito. Under Mr. Milosevic's stewardship and through years of war and economic decline, that force became an amalgam of paramilitary and organized crime. Zoran and his reformers were able to remove Mr. Milosevic, and later to send him to be tried, because the secret service units had become disillusioned with the Serbian strongman. But even with him gone they remained unreformed and untouchable. Something similar is likely to play out wherever America tries to uproot a nasty dangerous despot — as it helped to oust Mr. Milosevic and is trying to oust Saddam Hussein. Even having American troops occupy a country is unlikely to make a difference in the short run. A regime, in particular one that has developed in isolation like Iraq, Serbia and North Korea, does not die with one man. And the security apparatus becomes like a Hydra fighting for survival. The reformist government lacked the strength to dismantle that system. Indeed, after taking power in 2001 Zoran opted at first to live in an uneasy coexistence with the security forces. However, he knew that organized crime and corrupt security officers presented a major obstacle to reform. In the last few months Zoran was gearing up for a final showdown with the renegade special forces and their taskmasters in the Serbian police who make up the Zemun mafia clan — brutes with monikers like Idiot, Fool and Bugsy. These men spilled blood in Bosnia, Kosovo, Croatia, the streets of Belgrade and abroad; now they dominate the traffic in drugs and prostitutes and immigrants throughout the Balkans. The prime minister knew they were threatening his life. But he told me he would simply let the thugs kill each other and then send the survivors to The Hague. His murder is another reminder to the Serbian people that those who committed crimes against Croats, Bosnian Muslims and Kosovars came to roost at home. And these men could not stand the fact that Zoran was trying to wrest control of Serbia. Two weeks ago I asked Zoran when Serbia would send the remaining indicted war criminals — especially Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb general — to the the dock in Hague. It was too difficult at the time, he answered, there was no one who dared to arrest Mr. Mladic. But he told me he planned to send three army officers accused of crimes committed at Vukovar in Croatia right away. After that, he said, he had been told that the West would stop exerting so much pressure on him to comply with the tribunal. Zoran Djindjic loved the world. He told me how he had met Fidel Castro at the inauguration of the new Brazilian president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Mr. Castro said he had expected Zoran to be taller — after all, Yugoslavia is a world force in basketball. "It's the technique, not just the height," Zoran responded. Mr. Castro said, "I thought you only liked Americans." "No, I like Cubans, too," Zoran replied, pulling a thick cigar out of his jacket. Castro looked down, laughed, and said the cigar was fake. Later that night the he sent a humidor full of the finest Cuban cigars to Zoran at his hotel. Perhaps it is only the sort of man who can joke with Fidel Castro and also win the approval of the White House who could hope to forge a new Serbia. There is no doubt that the men who killed Zoran represented a nexus of hard-core nationalists and criminals who hated him because they knew he wanted to rein them in. They hoped that with those bullets, Serbia would fall into disarray and stop cooperating with The Hague, and that the next elected leader would pale next to Zoran Djindjic in courage and intelligence. I fear they were right. Laura Silber, senior policy adviser at the Open Society Institute, is co-author of "Yugoslavia: Death of a Nation."

NYT March 16, 2003 Did Serbia's Leader Do the West's Bidding Too Well? By STEVEN ERLANGER The assassination on Wednesday of Zoran Djindjic, the Serbian prime minister so highly praised by Western leaders, is a reminder that half-hearted nation-building can easily be derailed, especially when outside nations make heavy political demands on fragile post-tyrannical states like Serbia and, presumably, Iraq. In some ways, many Serbs say, the West squeezed Mr. Djindjic to death in a too-tight embrace of specific demands for reform and extradition of war criminals, and tied the delivery of desperately needed foreign aid to those conditions. Mr. Djindjic, no saint, made deals with various Serbian devils, both war criminals and ordinary criminals, in organizing the overthrow of Slobodan Milosevic in October 2000. The Serbian popular revolt against Mr. Milosevic that year would probably not have succeeded without Mr. Djindjic and his shadowy relationship with an officer of Mr. Milosevic's paramilitary police, Milorad Lukovic, known as Legija. And it was Legija, the next spring, who carried out Mr. Djindjic's orders to arrest Mr. Milosevic. Now Mr. Djindjic is dead, with Legija leading a list of various criminals sought by the panicked authorities for organizing the murder. Serbia's new democrats, many of them complicit in the old regime, are arresting scores of people under a state of emergency that has already put restrictions on the news media. But what could have turned Legija so murderously against Mr. Djindjic? For many Serbs, the answer is The Hague, where there is a growing list of Serbs wanted by the international prosecutor to stand trial, along with Mr. Milosevic himself, before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Mr. Milosevic was arrested because Mr. Djindjic needed millions of dollars in American aid that was made dependent on an arrest before April 2001. The following June, just before an international donors' meeting, Mr. Djinjdic sent Mr. Milosevic off to The Hague in defiance of his country's constitutional court and without informing the Yugoslav president of the time. Another such deadline is approaching, and again American and other Western aid depends on a new list of those who must be arrested and transferred. This list includes the infamous Bosnian Serb military leader Gen. Ratko Mladic and the former Bosnian Serb president, Radovan Karadzic. But the prosecutor in The Hague, Carla Del Ponte, has a longer list, and among those on it is understood to be Legija himself, who has been accused of war crimes in Bosnia and Croatia, as well as Franko Simatovic, a legendary paramilitary figure who led the special operations unit known as Frenki's boys. The unit is accused of many atrocities in Bosnia and, later, Kosovo. A shaken Serbian government, now led by an acting prime minister, Nebojsa Covic, is blaming organized crime, which has long worked hand in hand with the police, as it did with the old regime — and, according to the Serbian press, with Mr. Djindjic too. Legija is said to have strong connections with an organized crime group based in Zemun, and Mr. Djindjic had spoken openly about cracking down on the group. Mr. Djindjic himself had many complicated business interests, with reputed connections to the Surcin mafia, and many Serbs saw him as an elegant kingpin turned politician. Mr. Covic, defending the crackdown, called the Djindjic murder "a clear attempt by those who have been trying to stop the development of Serbia and its democratization, to change the course of history, to isolate and turn Serbia into the kingdom of organized crime again." But there are larger questions about the price the prosecutors at The Hague — and behind them, the leaders of the United States and Europe — are asking from a shaky democratic leadership of a poor and corrupted state. Western notions of guilt and innocence, already perceived as "victor's justice" by many in the Balkans, have put enormous strain on the fledgling democratic governments of Croatia and Montenegro, too. And the mess that Serbia remains — surely to worsen now — is also a form of indictment, many Serbs say, of the West and of Washington, which wins its wars but refuses to engage in sustained nation-building. The stress of the West's demands, some in Serbia feel, is part of the nexus of reactions that led to Mr. Djindjic's murder. With his death, however, the West is much less likely than before to get the alleged war criminals it wants to The Hague. The achievement of a negotiated independence for Kosovo, which depends on agreement from Belgrade, will be more difficult. And the career of a tough but promising politician, a Westernizer who wanted to bring Serbia into Europe and not sink back into defensive nationalism, has been cut down. Bratislav Grubacic, a Serbian political analyst, said: "Carla del Ponte comes every few months waving lists of suspects, and there has been a lot of pressure on Djindjic and the government from Washington and Brussels to send these people, like Legija and Frenki, to the Hague. I think that's what this murder is all about: these guys helped Djindjic and the democrats come to power, but thought he was betraying them." The Serbs thought Mr. Milosevic would satisfy The Hague, but there were more and more investigations and lists, Mr. Grubacic said. "And these guys said to themselves, `O.K., we sent Milosevic, but we're not sending ourselves.' " Mr. Covic himself cited "constant pressure" to send suspects to The Hague as a possible factor in the murder. "We, of course, know that should be done," he said in a television interview. "But if one puts too much emphasis on these kinds of things, then you get counterproductive effects." AMONG Serbs there is, like it or not, popular distaste for the continued extraditions in response to Western pressure. Fifty-four percent think the government should stop extraditing alleged war criminals, only 12 percent think they should be extradited and the rest claim they do not know, according to the Strategic Marketing and Media Research Institute. Ms. Del Ponte, too, embraced Mr. Djindjic, and after he was killed she suggested that she fly to Belgrade for his funeral. But the Yugoslav foreign minister, Goran Svilanovic, one of the most Westernized and liberal of all Serbian politicians, could barely contain his amazement at the idea. He tried to dissuade her, he said. "I have given my position," he told Belgrade's Radio B92. "Anything more would exceed the bounds of good taste."

NYT 17 Mar 2003 A Principal Ally of Slain Serbian Leader Is Nominated as Successor By DANIEL SIMPSON ELGRADE, Serbia, March 16 — One day after the funeral of Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic, who was assassinated last week, his party today nominated one of his principal allies as the country's new leader. The appointment of Zoran Zivkovic, a 42-year-old former interior minister, must be approved by Serbia's Parliament, where Mr. Djindjic's Democratic Party controls a fractious coalition that holds a narrow majority. No date for a parliamentary vote has yet been set. Like Mr. Djindjic, Mr. Zivkovic was a critic of Slobodan Milosevic at the height of the Balkan wars in the early 1990's. As mayor in the southern city of Nis, his straight-talking style and imposing physique earned him a reputation for being tough. But there is considerable pessimism, both within Serbia and abroad, as to whether Mr. Zivkovic will be able to break deadlocks in the reform process and in meeting Western demands to extradite all Serbs accused of committing wartime atrocities to the war crimes tribunal in The Hague. Following an international scandal last year concerning sales of military equipment to Iraq by some Milosevic-era holdovers in the military establishment, Mr. Zivkovic was picked as one of the chairmen of a commission formed to investigate the deals. It has yet to report. At Mr. Djindjic's burial on Saturday, Mr. Zivkovic vowed to sustain his political mentor's recent effort to crack down on the gangs that retain influence in the security forces and are allied with war criminals. The biggest criminal network in Serbia has been accused of ordering Mr. Djindjic's killing, apparently because he had threatened to have its leaders arrested. The police have since detained almost 200 suspects. But the gang's leader, Dusan Spasojevic, remains at large. Mr. Zivkovic has promised to hunt down those individuals and to break their stranglehold on Serbia. This commitment should encourage the international officials who have put Serbia under intense pressure to deliver more suspects to The Hague, regardless of the risk involved in making arrests. But given what happened to Mr. Djindjic, who was the most outspoken supporter in Serbia of cooperation with the tribunal, there are doubts as to whether his successor can deliver.

ICG 18 Mar 2003 SERBIA Serbia After Djindjic Premier Zoran Djindjic was Serbia's most skilful and realistic politician. The great question is whether his murder on 12 March provides a catalyst that energises the governing coalition. Belgrade must restart the long-stalled reform process and clean out the interlocking nexus, believed to be behind the killing, of organised crime, war criminals, and police and army officers hiding behind "nationalist-patriotic" slogans and organisations. ICG warns against rewarding Djindjic's assassins with any softening of the international community's terms of conditionality on economic assistance to Serbia or its admission to international institutions. At this crucial time Serbia needs continued and increased international help. For the full report, please see CrisisWeb - http://www.crisisweb.org


AZG Armenian Daily #040, 01/03/2003 Region US PRESIDENT THREATENS TO RECOGNIZE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE The Turkish Jumhurriyet daily says that during a meeting at White House between Turkish foreign and economy ministers and US president George Bush the latter said. “You have nothing to do in Washington, go back home and push through your parliament a decision on your country’s support to us in our plans to strike on Iraq.” The daily claims that Bush’s administration cited three levers to press on Turkey. 1. If you refuse to meet our demands we shall closely cooperate with Kurds in northern Iraq, who want an independent state and which would re-ignite separatist moods in Turkey’s south east with predominant Kurdish population. 2. If you refuse to cooperate with us the International Monetary Fund and World Bank would turn their back on you 3. As you know many US presidents acknowledged the Armenian genocide, but not Congress, for the time being. The Armenian lobby in the USA expects an occasion to push a resolution through it.

Ukraine - Also read News Monitors for Ukraine from 2001 and 2002

United Kingdom

The Times UK Opinion March 03, 2003 Law, and conscience, demand we go to war William Rees-Mogg You cannot separate the issue of genocide from that of weapons of mass destruction. For one thing, weapons of mass destruction are by their nature genocidal; they are designed to exterminate masses of people. In any case, it is obviously unsafe to leave weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a genocidal regime. It is wrong to leave genocidal regimes in power. The modern world has a very bad record on genocide; Europe has a particularly disgraceful one. There were the horrors of 19th and 20th-century history, from the Belgian Congo down to the Hitler-Stalin era. Even in the past 30 years there have been major genocidal crimes, including Cambodia and Rwanda. The governments of the West did little to stop them. The United States and Britain failed, but so did the major European and the major Communist powers. Britain has a particularly shameful responsibility for supporting the Nigerian genocide against the Ibos. In Iraq, genocide has continued, particularly against two ethnic groups, the Kurds and the Marsh Arabs, for more than 20 years. It is still continuing. If Saddam Hussein survives, he can be expected to redouble the killing, as happened after 1991. The anti-war activists need to reflect on the murderous consequences of their policies. Three speeches in last Wednesday’s fascinating parliamentary debates need to be studied. One was Lord Goodhart’s, which discussed the issue in respect of international law. The other two were Ann Clwyd’s in the House of Commons, which can be found in columns 319-321 of the Hansard for February 26, and Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne’s in the House of Lords, Hansard columns 284-288. Ann Clwyd spoke from her experience of the genocide against the Kurds, Lady Nicholson from her similar experience of the genocide against the Marsh Arabs. Anyone who wants to have a serious understanding of the issues has a duty to read these speeches. Ann Clwyd’s speech had a great impact on the House of Commons and on the press; House of Lords speeches attract less attention, but Lady Nicholson’s was no less important. Their case was unanswerable and unanswered. First of all one needs to consider what international law says about intervention to stop genocide. Lady Nicholson asserted that “the duty on state parties to the genocide convention is to stop the genocide and to punish those engaged in this ethnic mass murder. If the Security Council cannot be persuaded to act, an operation should be mounted by any signatory to the convention to secure the perpetrators and bring them to trial ... Has genocide been committed against the Marsh Arabs? Yes; then action is imperative.” Lady Nicholson sits as a Liberal Democrat and she was therefore speaking against the pacifist line of her party. Lord Goodhart, who is a highly respected international lawyer, stayed with his party’s anti-war line. That adds weight to his legal opinion in support of the right to intervene. He summed up the state of the law in this way: “Let us look first at humanitarian intervention. This is a new principle which has risen outside the charter. It was most clearly recognised in Kosovo. It is widely, but not universally, accepted by international lawyers. In cases such as genocide by rulers against their own people, as in Rwanda and Cambodia, it is hard to deny that such a principle exists.” This does represent a change. The traditional post-1945 view was that sovereign governments were free to abuse their own people, to torture or kill them, and that no other country could intervene. Kosovo, the trial of Milosevic, the conventions on torture and on genocide, and the House of Lords judgment on General Pinochet, have created a much wider right in international law to intervene for humanitarian reasons. Lord Goodhart went on to argue that Saddam Hussein, though “a murderous tyrant” who has killed “thousands of his opponents”, has not gone quite far enough to qualify under this doctrine. “The closest Saddam Hussein has come to this is in his treatment of the Marsh Arabs, whose culture he had destroyed and many of whose people he has killed. But it would be unrealistic to treat even that as a justification for war.” Lord Goodhart spoke before Lady Nicholson; had he been speaking after her, he could hardly have made the case that Saddam Hussein’s genocide was only a little one. The important point is that, as a lawyer, Lord Goodhart confirms that a right to intervene on humanitarian grounds is now internationally recognised. It would be hard to argue that Saddam Hussein is a less serious case than Milosevic. Ann Clwyd’s speech destroyed the argument that Saddam Hussein belongs only to the junior league of genocidal tyrants. She pointed out that, before 1991, the victims already included “Arabs as well as Kurds. They include Assyrians, Turkomans and the Shias in the south”. She referred to the evidence of Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, as well as the “documents from the torture centre” captured by the Kurds. On her latest visit she had opened, on Kurdish territory, the first genocide museum in Iraq. She gave the evidence of a young Iraqi who had spoken to her within the past few days. He had been held in the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad. “He said that almost every day people were executed at that prison — not one person, but hundreds. When there was an attack on Uday Hussein’s life some time ago, 2,000 prisoners were executed on the same day.” Ann Clwyd also recently visited a UN camp in the Kurdish area where there were hundreds of current victims of ethnic cleansing, which “goes on all the time”. Even so, Lord Goodhart may be right in thinking that the Marsh Arabs have been massacred on an even greater scale. Lady Nicholson observed that: “The massacre of the North Kurds is well known in the West and internationally accepted as genocide. But I claim that in contrast the Iraq regime’s long planned and near finalised extinction of the indigenous inhabitants of the Lower Mesopotamian marshlands of Iraq has gone virtually unnoticed.” She asserts that: “Four million people have fled Iraq.” Surely, four million is a large enough number to qualify for humanitarian intervention? These two speeches were made by independent women who have been visiting Iraq since the 1970s; they probably have more genuine knowledge than any other members of either House. Both are political rebels. Ann Clwyd is seen as a leftwinger in the Labour Party. Baroness Nicholson left the Conservatives — her father had been a distinguished Tory MP — to join the Lib Dems. Both were going against the tide of their own groups, Ann Clwyd against the Labour Left, Lady Nicholson against the Lib Dems. They represent the true voices of conscience. The Prime Minister, despite the justice of his policy, has contributed to the confusion of his party and the country. He should have put more weight on the issue of genocide from the beginning, indeed from his first coming to office. He should always have paid more attention to the House of Commons. If he had done so, these arguments might not be emerging so late in the debate. It is mere common sense that no one would wish to see nuclear, chemical or biological weapons in the hands of a genocidal dictator. It is good news that the House of Commons is asserting its independence, but a pity that so large a number of Labour members are on the wrong side, because they did not know what Ann Clwyd and Lady Nicholson could have told them. The result has been a distortion of public opinion in Britain. Well-meaning people see the issue as one of war or no war. In fact, it is an issue of war or Saddam Hussein, with the continuation of genocide, ethnic cleansing and torture, and the threat of secret but lethal weapons. In international law, the most important point came from Lord Goodhart, even though he spoke on the wrong side. International law was doubtful at the time of Kosovo, and some of the facts were doubtful too. But sovereignty now no longer gives a national government the right, without intervention, to commit genocide against its own people. That is the logical response to the careers of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and the other genocidal leaders of the past century. Change of regime in Iraq is not an optional add-on to the enforcement of UN resolutions on disarmament. It is a duty owed by the international community to the Iraqi people.

AP 8 Mar 2003 British Court Sentences Cleric LONDON -- A Muslim cleric who urged his followers to kill Hindus, Jews and Americans was sentenced to nine years in prison for inciting others to commit murder and stirring up racial hatred. Judge Peter Beaumont told Abdullah el-Faisal, a Jamaican-born convert to Islam, that he was issuing consecutive rather than concurrent sentences to emphasize Britain's "abhorrence of the views you expressed." Beaumont said el-Faisal would have to serve at least half his sentence before becoming eligible for parole and added that he would recommend that Home Secretary David Blunkett deport him to Jamaica some time during the sentence if he decided it was appropriate. A group of the preacher's supporters gathered on a courtroom balcony shouted out in protest when Beaumont handed down the sentence. "Allah is the only judge!" yelled one.


AP 8 Mar 2003 Secure software for human rights workers could save lives By IAN STEWART Associated Press Writer During the conflict in Kosovo, a human rights researcher was passing through a checkpoint when government soldiers discovered the phone numbers of numerous rebel commanders in his notebook. The incident may have endangered Kosovo Liberation Army sources. That's why the researcher, Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch, wishes that at the time he'd had a new software tool developed expressly for people like him who collect ultrasensitive information. Called Martus - Greek for witness - the software promises to make it much easier for wired witnesses to get information out of dangerous situations before it - or they - disappear. "The best weapon against innocence being murdered is more information, more quickly, more accurately to the right people who can make a difference," said Jim Fruchterman, the soft-spoken president and chief executive of the nonprofit that created Martus, Palo Alto-based Benetech Initiative. With Martus, human rights workers in the field can interview vulnerable populations then swiftly and anonymously send out reports, thereby reducing the ever-present fear of discovery and reprisal. It works by encrypting sensitive data - both on researchers' computers and as that data is transmitted to secure server computers in safer faraway locations. Benetech's mission is to employ cutting-edge technology for social causes, and Martus is open-source software, meaning organizations that use it, such as Human Rights Watch, get access to the underlying code so they can adapt it to their needs. Because it's a free download, anyone could build a Martus-based application - outlaws as well as do-gooders. But each set of users' data would be secured from outsiders by password protection. Martus has just been introduced in Manila to the Philippine National Commission on Human Rights and the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates among others, with support from the U.S. State Department and the Asia Foundation - a private nonprofit that fosters democratic initiatives. After a decade or so of civil unrest and terrorism, people in the Philippines have suffered from some of the worst human rights violations in Asia, by both Filipino soldiers and Abu Sayaff guerrillas, according to Human Rights Watch Asia. Some human rights advocates believe Martus - which will be rolled out next in Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Russia and Guatemala - may be just what's needed to counter anti-democratic regimes. Jessica Soto of Amnesty International has been trained on Martus and believes it will be useful in the Philippines. Though, of course, no software could solve one of the most vexing problems for rights workers: "There are many areas in conflict situations without phone lines, the Internet or even electricity," said Soto. The initial version of Martus includes software that must be downloaded onto a field worker's portable computer, said Jagdish Parikh, an online researcher at Human Rights Watch who is working with the new program. And that restricts filing. Martus would be more useful if users could use it over the Internet via a secure Web browser, Parikh said. That way it could be accessed from Internet cafes. To safeguard workers in the field, Martus has an on-screen keyboard that can be accessed only by mouse, eliminating the risk that computer key strokes can be monitored. Martus' biggest strength is its flexibility, Parikh said. Information gathered on servers far from danger zones is protected with varying degrees of security depending on its sensitivity. "Nothing can be hack-proof," Fruchterman noted, "but we're looking at hack-resistant." The idea was conceived in the early 1990s, after an expose of the El Mozote massacre in El Salvador appeared in The New Yorker magazine. In 1981, the Salvadoran military had literally wiped out the village, killing almost 800 people. But it took years for witnesses to summon the courage to speak out, and for details of the massacre to trickle out and reach the attention of the international community. Martus can help build statistical databases to aid prosecutors gathering evidence of genocide or other crimes against humanity, as occurred in Rwanda in 1994 and the Balkans through the 1990s and beyond. It's also good for protecting paperwork from more mundane hazards - like the decades worth of paper files a human rights group in Sri Lanka lost to voracious termites. To build Martus, Fruchterman found an ally in Patrick Ball, an expert in quantitative analysis whose database work helped prosecute Serbian leader Slobodan Milosovec for crimes against humanity. Beta-testing Martus during a fact-finding mission in Chechnya recently, Bouckaert was cautiously pleased. He would prefer a system customized to the fields in his organization's existing database, but he said smaller organizations that haven't already organized reams of data would appreciate the Martus design. And overall, he said, Martus succeeds at its key function: allowing workers in the field to send information in a secure fashion without putting themselves or others at risk. "This is a very significant step to revolutionizing the work we do." www.martus.org

news source abbreviations

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

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

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