Prevent Genocide International 

News Monitor for March 2004
Tracking current news on genocide and items related to past and present ethnic, national, racial and religious violence.

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African Union Reuters 28 Feb 2004 African leaders agreed on Saturday to set up a multinational force empowered to intervene across the troubled continent to end civil wars or genocide. The African Standby Force would be deployed at five regional bases by 2005, expanding to a continental force by 2010

Burundi AFP 17 Mar 2004 Fighting between Burundi's army and rebels has claimed between two and 11 lives, according to tolls Wednesday from different sources, while 30,000 civilians took to their heels.

DR Congo BBC 11 Mar 2004 Rebel weapons seized in DR Congo- The UN has reinforced its contingent in Bukavu / AP 19 Mar 2004 UN troops attack and destroy camps for tribal fighters in northeastern Congo

Ethiopia IRIN 5 Mar 2004 Central Government Apologises for [Dec. 2003] Gambella Massacre

Libya BBC 8 Mar 2004 The chief prosecutor at the UN's new court for Sierra Leone has accused the Libyan leader of being behind the past decade of war in West Africa. / WP 11 Mar 2004 Sub-Saharan Migrants in Libya Face Backlash During the 1990s, in the name of African unity, Gaddafi opened the borders to tens of thousands of sub-Saharan Africans to live and work in Libya. For the past four years, resentment over the policy has led to occasional riots and frequent bitter confrontations between the immigrants and Libyans. About 600,000 sub-Saharan Africans are estimated to live among Libya's population of 5.5 million.

Nigeria AP 28 Feb 2004 Rumors stymie polio effort in Nigeria - Some hide their children because they believe the vaccine will sterilize them. . . some Islamic leaders' claims that the vaccine was part of a U.S. plot to render them sterile, U.N. officials said Friday. / IRIN 15 Mar 2004 Army denies alleged massacre in Niger Delta / BBC 17 Mar 2004 Nigeria's northern state of Kano has again rejected a polio vaccine promoted by the UN, despite assurances from the Nigerian authorities that it is safe.

Rwanda Hirondelle news agency THOUSANDS DEMONSTRATE AGAINST UN TRIBUNAL An estimated 10,000 people turned up on the streets of the south west Rwanda town of Cyangugu on Thursday to demonstrate against the acquittal of two senior leaders from the province on genocide charges by the UN International Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). / IRIN 1 Mar 2004 Rwanda: Five Sentenced to Death Over Killing of Genocide Survivor / AP 3 Mar 2004 A decade after the genocide, Rwanda's horror brought to the big screen . . . "Hotel Rwanda," starring Don Cheadle and Nick Nolte, recounts the true story of hotelier Paul Rusesabagina, who sheltered more than 1,200 Tutsis from Hutu militias at the elite Hotel des Mille Collines. / AFP 9 Mar 2004 A French police inquiry blames Rwandan President Paul Kagame for the 1994 rocket attack that killed his predecessor and triggered genocide, Le Monde newspaper reported Tuesday, but Rwanda swiftly dismissed it. / Reuters 17 Mar 2004 President Paul Kagame of Rwanda has accused France of being "directly" involved in the 1994 genocide.

Sierra Leone IPS 11 Mar 2004 RIGHTS-SIERRA LEONE: 'Putting People on Trial May Ignite Fresh Conflict' Lansana Fofana FREETOWN, Mar 11 (IPS) - Sierra Leone's war crimes court has opened in the capital Freetown to try persons who bear the greatest responsibility for the atrocities committed during the country's 1991-1999 conflict.

Sudan AP 28 Feb 2004 Sudanese rebels say at least 70 civilians killed in government raid / BBC 2 Mar 2004 UN warns of 'atrocities' in Sudan / IRIN 3 Mar 2004 One Million At "Imminent Risk" in Darfur, Says US Government / IRIN 10 Mar 2004 Militias ravage Darfur in gangs of hundreds The entire Jabal Si area, previously home to about 70,000 people living in over 119 villages, had been cleared of civilians / UPI 21 Mar 2004 Sudan criticizes U.N. for 'heap of lies'

Uganda BBC 28 Feb 2004 Uganda army targets LRA rebels The East African (Nairobi) 1 Mar 2004 ANALYSIS Why Mighty Kampala is Unable to Defeat Kony's 'Rag-Tag' Murderers . . . Many of Uganda's post-colonial woes were unleashed upon the country by brutal northerners like Amin and Obote. Museveni is the first southerner to rule Uganda for a long time. It seems that he is all too happy to keep the north weak and in crisis. A weak north can never be a threat to the increasingly prosperous south.

Tanzania ICTR AFP 8 Mar 2004 The hunt for about 15 alleged masterminds of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda is set to lose steam and possibly come to a complete halt this year because of a deadline imposed on the UN tribunal investigating and trying the suspects. Some 15 people suspected of planning or organising the slaughter are still at large. / AP 9 Mar 2004 A WELL-KNOWN Rwandan musician pleaded not guilty today to six counts of genocide . . . Simon Bikindi wrote song lyrics that manipulated the politics and history of Rwanda to promote Hutu solidarity.

Zimbabwe Mail&Guardian ZA 1 Mar 2004 Zimbabwe's ruling party is training children as young as 12 to torture and kill its political opponents, the British Broadcasting Corporation reported on Sunday. / News 24 SA 2 Mar 2004 Opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Tony Leon said on Tuesday that it was not impossible that there may be a politically motivated genocide in Zimbabwe in the coming months. . . He said Zimbabwean parliament Speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa, who he was tipped to succeed Mugabe as president, was head of the Central Intelligence Organisation during the 1982-87 Matabeleland genocide.


Haiti BBC 1 March, 2004 Troops fly in to 'lawless' Haiti Canadian special forces secured the capital's airport French troops have landed in Haiti to join US and Canadian soldiers in an international force to restore order. / South Florida Sun-Sentinel, FL 2 Mar 2004 www.sun-sentinel.com Deported war criminal freed in Haiti / AP 2 Mar 2004 Convicted Assassin Gets Role in Haiti By PAISLEY DODDS Associated Press Writer March 2, 2004, 11:13 PM EST PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Rebel leader Louis-Jodel Chamblain, a convicted killer and accused death squad leader, says he has no plans of fading into the shadows. / Jamaica Observer 2 Mar 2004 Prime Minister P J Patterson says he won't sit with Haitian rebels / Reuters 2 Mar 2004 Rights dilemma as mass killers win Haiti revolt / AP 3 Mar 2004 Rebel leader says he'll arrest prime minister in Haiti / AFP 8 Mar 2004 Six killed, 34 wounded in Haiti violence / WP 17 Mar 2004 CARACAS, Venezuela -- President Hugo Chavez offered refuge to ousted Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide and said he still recognized him as the legitimate leader of the Caribbean country. PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Haiti's interim prime minister appointed a 13-member cabinet that excludes members of ousted president Jean-Bertrand Aristide's party

United States newsday.com 2 Mar 2004 Surviving atrocities, they became friends BY OLIVIA WINSLOW STAFF WRITER March 2, 2004, 9:28 PM EST David Gewirtzman, a retired pharmacist, and Jacqueline Murekatete, a Stony Brook University freshman, have an unlikely bond, forged through surviving the genocide of their people, though in different lands some 50 years apart. He survived the Holocaust. She lived through the Rwandan genocide a decade ago. / New York Daily News 3 Mar 2004 A new photo documentary chronicling instances of genocide throughout the world during the 20th century is now open at Queensborough Community College / Long Beach Press-Telegram, CA 4 Mar 2004 Survivors teach a lesson against hatred . . . a community forum by Holocaust survivor Renee Firestone, Cambodian genocide survivor Jonathon Dok and Dr. Houri Berberian, a historian whose family were Armenian genocide victims. / AP 4 Mar 2004 20:23 Two of Pres. Candidate John F. Kerry's relatives found in Yad Vashem's Holocaust database


Bangladesh BBC 27 Feb 2004 Leading Bangladesh author stabbed . . . Dr Azad recently wrote Pak Sar Jamin Sad Bad (the first line of the Pakistani national anthem) which was critical about the role of Pakistanis and their Bangladeshi collaborators before the independence of Bangladesh in 1971. Several Islamist party activists denounced the book when it was published. / The Daily Star (Bangladesh) 1 Mar 2004 On February 28, 2004, the Daily Star reporting on attempted assassination of Prof. Azad wrote, "Addressing a demonstration at Baitul Mukarram National Mosque on December 12, leaders of an anti-Ahmadiyya outfit demanded arrest and trial of Prof Azad for the novel." / Xinhua 2 Mar 2004 Police raid opposition headquarters, 150 arrested The bomb attacks were amid a series of violence in the capital Dhaka after professor Humayun Azad was fiercely stabbed by unidentified assailants with butcher's knives in Dhaka University on Friday and Dhanmondi Sporting Club President Khairul Anwar Piaru was gunned down by six armed youths on Sunday night.

China NYT 8 Mar 2004 Dr. Jiang Yanyong, the retired military physician who last year helped expose China's initial cover-up of the SARS outbreak is now calling on the Communist Party to confront one of its darkest periods and acknowledge that it was gravely wrong in violently cracking down on the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests in 1989. / Dr. Jiang Yanyong's Feb 24, 2004 letter calling for June 4 reappraisal [Full Text below]

Cambodia BBC 5 Mar 2004 The former Khmer Rouge president of Cambodia, Khieu Samphan, has published his memoirs in which he denies taking part in the mass killings in the 1970s. . But human rights activists say he is attempting to defend himself in advance of an expected genocide trial at a United Nations-backed tribunal. The book, the Recent History of Cambodia and My Successive Positions, went on sale in Cambodia on Friday at 13,200 riel ($3.30) a copy. A French-language version of the book was published in France last month. / Reuters 10 Mar 2004 A United Nations legal team has arrived in Cambodia to hammer out plans for the long-awaited genocide trial of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge henchmen. . .During what is its second week-long logistical visit, the U.N. team will look at possible trial venues and discuss issues such as staff pay. Speculation has centred on a total bill of $40 million for a three-year trial

India www.milligazette.com 1-15 Feb 2004 Thaw in Hindu-Muslim relations . . . recent talks between leaders of the RSS and Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind (JUH).

Indonesia AFP 1 Mar 2004 Eight people killed in Indonesia's restive Aceh / BBC 10 Mar 2004 Jailed Indonesian cleric defiant Ba'asyir criticised the US and Australia at a news conference in jail Jailed cleric Abu Bakar Ba'asyir has vowed to continue fighting for Islamic law for Indonesia once he leaves jail. Australia has also objected to his proposed early release. Most of the 202 people who died in the 2002 Bali bombings - blamed on Jemaah Islamiah - were Australian. At the news conference Ba'asyir said that Australia also intended to "wage war against Islam." "They have the mentality of colonialists. All white people are like that," he said. / HRW 11 Mar 2004 Indonesia: Justice Denied in East Timor Church Massacre - Acquittal of Five Officials Highlights Need for U.N. Mechanism

Iraq Los Angeles Times 29 Feb 2004 www.latimes.com The U.S. Is Brewing Up a Disaster for the Kurds / AFP 1 Mar 2004 Iraqi leaders agree on basic law, amid mounting casualties / NYT 1 Mar 2004 Sunni Clerics Call for End to Attacks on Iraqis / AP 2 Mar 2004 Coordinated Blasts in Iraq Mar End of Shiite Religious Festival / AP 3 Mar 2004 Iraqis put Shiite bombing toll at 271 / AFP 8 Mar 2004 The United States is dispatching a large team of prosecutors and other criminal justice experts to Iraq to prepare for likely genocide trials of Saddam Hussein and his closest associates, a justice official said late Saturday.

Israel / Palestinian Authority / Washington Report on Middle East Affairs Mar 2004 What Does Israel’s “Demographic Balancing Act” Hold in Store for Palestinians? / ICG 4 Mar 2004 Middle East Report N°25 : Arab/Israeli Conflict Identity Crisis: Israel and Its Arab Citizens Prospects for Israel's long-term stability will remain uncertain unless the systemic inequities facing its Arab citizens are addressed. Mistrust between Israel's Jewish majority and its Arab minority, who make up roughly 20 per cent of the population, runs deep. / Jerusalem Post 8 Mar 2004 15 Palestinians killed in IDF Gaza raid By MARGOT DUDKEVITCH Fifteen Palestinians were killed, among them two children, in an IDF raid on the El-Bureij and Nuseirat refugee camps in the central Gaza Strip on Sunday morning. More than 80 Palestinians were wounded in the operation, / AP 14 Mar 2004 Double Palestinian bombing at Israeli port kills 10; Israeli helicopters hit Gaza workshops The bombings raised serious questions about Israel's vulnerability; Israel has been fearing a so-called "mega attack" on a chemical depot or fuel storage facility. Israeli security officials said the bombers apparently used high-grade explosives, indicating a deadly upgrade.

Myanmar AFP 11 Mar 2004 Human rights in Myanmar deteriorate: UN expert

North Korea Xinhua 29 Feb 2004 The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) refutes US accusation of human rights abuses

Pakistan WP 3 Mar 2004 Gunmen in Pakistan Kill Scores of Shiites / BBC 13 Mar 2004 For India and Pakistan, Saturday's one-day cricket match in Karachi marked the first time in 14 years that either side's team has toured the other country.

Sri Lanka BBC 3 Mar 2004 Sri Lankan rebels 'deny split'

Uzbekistan ICG 11 Mar 2004 International engagement with Uzbekistan's regime has resulted in continuation of extensive human rights abuses and encouraged economic decline. The regime has been given too free a ride because it is seen as a partner against terrorism and Islamist extremism but engagement must become more critical and investment increased to civil society in order to stem long-term damage to Western credibility in this predominantly Muslim region.


Austria AP 8 Mar 2004 Jörg Haider, the far-right political leader, brought his party an unanticipated victory in his home province Sunday, increasing the odds for a national comeback.

Bosnia BBC 4 March, 2004 Nato arrests former Karadzic aide General Bogdan Subotic / AFP 9 Mar 2004 NATO releases ex-Bosnian Serb general detained over links to Karadzic

Croatia Reuters 11 Mar 2004 Two retired Croatian generals flew to the Netherlands on Thursday to face ethnic cleansing charges at The Hague war crimes tribunal, in the first concrete sign of the new government's compliance with the court. / AFP 17 March 2004 ZAGREB : In a significant gesture, Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader condemned his country's World War II atrocities and paid tribute to the victims of the notorious Jasenovac concentration camp.

Germany www.errc.org 4 Mar 2004 UN Findings on Discrimination against Sinti and Roma Women in Germany

Hungary www.b92.net 3 Mar 2004 Kosovo reacts to Ceku arrest Kosovo Protection Corps commander Agim Ceku . . . was detained yesterday at the airport in Budapest on a warrant issued by the Serbian authorities, accusing him of genocide against the Serb population in Kosovo. / www.B92.net 3 Mar 2004 Ceku released as Croatian citizen BUDAPEST Agim Ceku, a former guerrilla leader and current commander of the Kosovo Protection Corps, was released by Hungarian police today and handed over to Croatian diplomatic authorities.

Italy AP 4 Mar 2004 Pardon Plan for Nazi Sparks Italy Debate. . . Erich Priebke, a former SS captain, was convicted in 1997 for a wartime massacre in which 335 civilians were killed.

Netherlands NYT 3 Mar 2004 Dutch police arrest 2 suspected African war criminals [from Rwanda and DR Congo]

Netherlands - ICTY NYT 1 Mar 2004 At Halfway Point of Milosevic Trial, Prosecutor Is Confident She said she was certain of a conviction on all charges, but conceded that she had presented only circumstantial evidence, "no simple smoking gun," — no written order or letter signed by Mr. Milosevic — to support the gravest charge, genocide.

Russia Scripps Howard News Service 11 Mar 2004 'A Creeping Coup': Is Russia Heading Back to the USSR? By Clifford D. May, Pres. of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies

Serbia www.b92.net 3 Mar 2004 Top human rights lawyer Natasa Kandic has said she believes Bosnian Serb war crimes fugitives Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic are in Serbia / BBC 4 Mar 2004 The first substantive talks between Serbian and Kosovo representatives since the war of 1999 have begun in the Kosovan capital, Pristina. . . Serbia's new nationalist Prime Minister, Vojislav Kostunica, on Tuesday told parliament he would not let Kosovo gain independence. Instead, he called for a "partition or cantonisation" of the province along ethnic lines./ BBC 9 Mar 2004 War crimes trial test for Serbs Six men are charged with killing some 200 civilians in the Croatian town of Vukovar in 1991. It is the first major war crimes trial in Serbia and is seen as a test case.

Switzerland BBC 3 March, 2004, Swiss pardon woman who saved Jews -Aimee Stitelmann, 79, was imprisoned for 15 days almost 60 years ago for breaking Swiss immigration laws after the country closed its borders in 1942.. A further 27 people are waiting for similar pardons. /

www.swissinfo.org Swiss foundation honours Rwandan hero swissinfo March 19, 2004 11:44 AM Damas Gisimba, the winner of the Paul Grüninger Prize 2004 The Paul Grüninger Foundation has awarded its prize for humanity and courage to a man who saved hundreds of lives during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Damas Mutenzintare Gisimba is the second winner of the prize, set up in memory of a Swiss police chief who rescued Jews during the Second World War. The prize, which is to be presented at a ceremony in St Gallen on Friday, is given to individuals or organisations deemed to have made a significant contribution towards safeguarding the freedom and dignity of others. In a statement, the foundation said that Gisimba had won the award because he had shown exceptional courage during the genocide that took place in Rwanda in 1994. Ten years ago tensions exploded between ethnic Tutsis and Hutus, and in the ensuing violence an estimated 800,000 people - mostly Tutsis - were killed. At the time, Gisimba was the director of an orphanage in the capital, Kigali. A Hutu but married to a Tutsi, he sheltered more than 80 adults and 300 children in his orphanage. The 32-year-old managed to feed and shelter them for several months – the massacres took place between April and June – at considerable risk to himself and his family. “The orphanage… which was the home of 64 children, was at the time of the massacres a refuge for about 400 people who practically had no other chance of surviving,” said the foundation. “Damas Mutenzintare Gisimba therefore opposed this genocide with incredible humanity, determination and courage,” it added. Calling Gisimba, who still runs the orphanage set up by his father in 1980, said he felt that he had to do something to help. “I saw that everyone was in danger,” he said in a newspaper interview. “I told myself I just can’t let this happen. “If I had to die, then at least I would have died after having done something.” Every day, Gisimba would find food and water for his charges. He also protected them from the frequent searches by the Hutu militia, as well as dissuading them from joining in the violence themselves. However, Gisimba denies that he was a hero. “I only did what my conscience and my faith told me to do. And with God’s help I survived,” he said. Ceremony Gisimba is due to receive his SFr50,000 ($29,240) prize at a special ceremony at the foundation’s headquarters in St Gallen. It will be handed over by William Schabas, a Rwanda expert and director of the Irish centre for human rights at the National University of Ireland in Galway. It is only that the second time that the triennial prize has been awarded. The first winner was Afghan doctor Sima Samar in 2001. Samar was commended for her work running a network of hospitals and schools for Afghan women and children. The award was set up in memory of the former St Gallen police chief, Paul Grüninger, who took advantage of his position to help Jewish refugees enter Switzerland. Grüninger was posthumously pardoned in 1995 for faking documents to save thousands of Jews from Nazi persecution. Paul Grüninger Stiftung. www.paul-grueninger.ch


United Kingdom Guardian UK 2 Mar 2004 Britain bows to US boycott of war crime court


African Union

African Leaders Agree to Set Up Peacekeeping Force Sat Feb 28, 2004 11:40 AM ET By Lamine Ghanmi SIRTE, Libya (Reuters) - African leaders agreed on Saturday to set up a multinational force empowered to intervene across the troubled continent to end civil wars or genocide. The African Standby Force would be deployed at five regional bases by 2005, expanding to a continental force by 2010, a declaration adopted at an African Union (AU) summit said. Initially, it would involve some 15,000 AU troops, drawn primarily from the continent's military powerhouses -- South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Egypt, AU sources said. With fragile peace efforts in the continent's many troublespots, there has been international pressure on the Ethiopia-based AU to take an active lead in peacekeeping. African leaders are keen to avoid a repeat of mass killings such as the 1994 Rwanda genocide when extremists from the Hutu majority slaughtered 800,000 minority Tutsis and Hutu moderates. Heads of state and prime ministers of the 53-nation AU who met for two days at the Libyan coastal city of Sirte unanimously approved the Common Defense and Security Policy for Africa. The rapid reaction force will have a peacebuilding and humanitarian role, and may intervene unilaterally in the event of "war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity, as well as a serious threat to legitimate order," the text said. Mozambique President Joaquim Chissano, current AU chairman, called the new common defense policy "a collective answer to threats, whether internal or external, over the continent." "AFRICA NEEDS NO WMD" Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who hosted the summit in his hometown, said "no country can protect itself with a national army, no country can pretend to achieve security alone." "In Africa, not a single country needs...weapons of mass destruction," he added. Libya stunned the world in December when it announced it would dismantle its weapons of mass destruction program, in a bid to normalize relations with the West. The new force will operate at the bidding of an AU Peace and Security Council, modeled on the U.N. Security Council, which will be set up at a March meeting in Addis Ababa. The council will have 15 permanent members, chosen for their known respect for democracy and human rights, AU sources said. "The members should be an example for what the African Union seeks to build in Africa: peace, security and democracy," one delegate said. Command structures, staffing and the criteria for deploying the force still need to be worked out, AU sources said. African leaders were due to approve the force at last year's AU summit in Maputo but delayed final approval amid questions over how the new army would be funded. African countries have asked developed countries to foot most of the bill, but the plan has not been well-received. European Union Commission President Romano Prodi, however, told the assembled leaders on Friday the EU had pledged 250 million euros ($312 million) "for peace-support operations" under the AU's authority. "It will provide a powerful, innovative instrument to support African peacekeeping efforts and will lay the foundations for development in areas of conflict," Prodi said. An EU spokesman in Brussels said the funding was not specifically for the nascent African Standby Force. ($1=.8012 Euro)

BBC 28 Feb 2004 Africa leaders agree joint force Libya's leader (L) wanted all Africa's armies to merge African leaders meeting in Libya have agreed to set up a joint military force which could intervene to end civil wars or prevent genocide. This is part of a sweeping agreement on defence and security in Africa signed after a two-day summit in Sirte. The agreement is "a collective answer to threats, whether internal or external, over the continent," said Mozambique President, Joachim Chissano. The summit rejected a Libyan plan to set up a single African army. Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's plan, tabled at the last minute, had delayed the closing ceremony of the summit. Changing priorities Heads of state and prime ministers of the 53-nation African Union unanimously approved the document called Common Defence and Security Policy for Africa. The African Standby Force will begin deploying about 15,000 troops by 2005. It will have a peace-building and humanitarian role, and may intervene unilaterally in the event of "war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity, as well as a serious threat to legitimate order," the text said. It will be composed of troops from countries such as South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Egypt and operate under the African Union Peace and Security Council - expected to be set up in March based on United Nations Security Council. In extreme cases, African leaders look ready to accept direct intervention in their own states to prevent genocide or serious threats to security, says BBC regional analyst Martin Plaut. All this is very different from the position taken by the African Union's predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity, which vigorously resisted any interference in the activities of sovereign states, our analyst says. At the end of the meeting, the leaders also signed an agreement on a common policy to boost agricultural production and manage Africa's water resources.

WP 29 Feb 2004; Page A23 African Leaders Agree On a Multinational Force SIRTE, Libya -- African leaders agreed on Saturday to set up a multinational force empowered to intervene across the troubled continent to end civil wars and genocide. The African Standby Force would be deployed at five regional bases by 2005, expanding to a continental force by 2010, according to a declaration adopted at a summit of the African Union. Initially, it would involve about 15,000 troops, drawn primarily from the continent's military powers -- South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Egypt -- AU sources said. With peace efforts fragile in the continent's many trouble spots, there has been international pressure on the Ethiopia-based AU to take an active lead in peacekeeping. Heads of state and prime ministers of the 53-nation group, who met for two days at the Libyan coastal city of Sirte, unanimously approved the policy. Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi, the summit host, said, "No country can protect itself with a national army, no country can pretend to achieve security alone." He added, "In Africa, not a single country needs . . . weapons of mass destruction."

Daily Times of Nigeria 1 Mar 2004 www.dailytimesofnigeria.com African leaders sign common security plan African leaders signed a sweeping defence and security agreement at the weekend that allows the African Union (AU) to send forces to intervene in civil wars, international conflicts and coup attempts across the continent. Also, Libyan leader, Moammar Gaddafi, said his country decided to dismantle its atomic programme to avoid the dangers it might bring. “The nuclear arms race is a crazy and destructive policy for economy and life,” Gaddafi said at the closing session of the African Union summit. “Any nation state that will adopt these policies cannot protect herself, on the contrary, it would expose itself to danger.” It was the first time Gaddafi publicly addressed Libya’s nuclear programme since agreeing to eliminate its facilities in December. The defense and security agreement aims to prevent tragedies like the 1994 Rwandan genocide, in which more than 500,000 people were massacred while the African Union’s predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), did nothing. The 39-year-old OAU was disbanded in 2002 because it was so ineffective. But with funding shortage and the African Union already in $40 million debt, the joint force is not likely to be formed soon, delegates said. A Zimbabwe official said it would not be ready before 2010. “The framework we have just signed includes the necessity to find collective answers to threats, whether internal or external,” Mozambique President Joaquim Chissano said. “But our efforts are not over. ... We have to show a real commitment to the implementation of our decisions.” Chissano told Associated Press the union would establish a “standby force” of African troops for deployment to conflict zones on short notice. He declined to elaborate, but draft copies of the agreement called for creating five regional brigades to be deployed by two bodies modelled on the United Nations. The first is the African Assembly, or parliament. The second is the Peace and Security Council, Africa’s version of the U.N. Security Council. They will be created in a few months. Libya proposed creating a single African army, but many countries viewed that idea as unrealistic. However, Ould Salek, a foreign minister for Western Sahara — a territory in southern Morocco, recognised by the African Union — said the concept would be discussed at the next summit in July. “There is a great need for African troops to intervene in cases of necessity. We must take on fully our duty to stop war in Africa,” he said. Funding will be a major obstacle for the force, and aid will be sought from donor countries, including the United States, Japan and European Union, he said. African nations have had no formal policy on how to react to conflicts on the continent. Charles Muligande, who headed the Rwandan delegation, said nations could have intervened to stop the 1994 genocide but chose not to. “It isn’t about legal frameworks,” Muligande said. “It’s about will. There has to be will.” Saturday’s agreement does not obligate African states to act but provides standards for them to uphold, including protecting democratically elected governments from coups. The standby force could be deployed to enforce disarmament programs and provide humanitarian aid. Shortly after its creation in 2002, the African Union deployed several thousand peacekeepers from South Africa, Ethiopia and Mozambique to Burundi, but that country remains mired in a civil war that has killed more than 200,000 people. African leaders also signed an agreement on a common policy to boost agricultural production and manage water resources.

VOA 10 Mar 2004 Obstacles Face African Peacekeeping Force Cindy Shiner Washington 10 Mar 2004, 12:45 UTC African leaders recently agreed to set up a joint military force to perform peacekeeping functions on the continent. Members of the African Union, meeting in Libya, hope to have part of the force ready by some time next year. The concept has been applauded by the United Nations and donor countries urging African self-sufficiency and responsibility, but analysts say a standby force must overcome many obstacles to be fully functional and successful. The African Standby Force would be formed by brigades from north, west, east, south and central Africa. Troops would intervene on humanitarian and peace-building grounds, as well as in cases of genocide and serious threats to legitimate order. An African body modeled on the U.N. Security Council would have the sole authority to deploy, manage and terminate the force’s missions. The African Union hopes to have a fully operational force ready by 2010. It has already sent peacekeeping troops to Burundi, but the mission has been plagued by financial problems. Barbara Hughes is coordinator for the U.S. government’s Africa Contingency Operations Training Assistance program. It provides training and equipment to armies in 11 African countries. Ms. Hughes says one of the biggest problems facing a Standby Force will be funding. "It’s hard to believe they can function at any stand-by brigade level for some time, largely for financial reasons. It’s going to be an expensive proposition. I imagine that some of these countries are going to have expectations that it’s like an aid program for them, that they’re not going to have to expend their own national resources. There’s a lot of sorting out to do." Tuliameni Kalomoh is the U.N. assistant secretary general for political affairs. He says funding won’t be an insurmountable problem because the troops for the regional brigades will be based in their home countries. He says there will be no cost to maintain a specific base with troops in stand-by mode. Mr.Kalomoh says one advantage of the African force is that it would be able to respond more quickly than United Nations peacekeepers. "You need a rapid reaction because normally the United Nations takes a very long time to mobilize a force – from Bangladesh, Pakistan. The African force is a readily mobilized force that can easily be mobilized and deployed. Then you have a better chance of preventing a conflict from escalating." The Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, has been sending soldiers from its member states to intervene in regional crises since 1990. That was when a Nigerian-led force was first sent to Liberia. The troops have operated on shoestring budgets and received a fraction of the pay of their United Nations counterparts. They would become part of the African Union force. Pan-African independence leader Kwame Nkrumah once proposed a standing African army. The idea was that it would help liberate African territories still under colonialism or white minority rule. But the idea failed to gain support. Some African leaders feared such an army could be used to push them aside. Although the African Union pledges goals for the common African good, the sovereignty won during the independence struggle of the 1960s is still important to African states. Barbara Hughes, of the U.S. Military Training Program for Africa: "You have to assume that individual countries will want to exercise their sovereign right to make that political decision about whether or not their troops are going to go to a peacekeeping operation and even if they’re in a standing brigade you would not think that they would want to devolve sovereignty to an organization to say that they can commit their country’s troops to an operation outside of their country. It very much remains to be seen whether that’s possible. It hasn’t been possible in Europe." Mr. Kalomoh says the sovereignty issue won’t be a problem. He says more important issues need to be worked out. These include organizing command structures, staffing and criteria for deploying. Ms. Hughes agrees. "If you would rotate functions – one African leader told me people were thinking that we would rotate functions so that one country in a region wouldn’t become dominant in a specialty area. Can you imagine having a communications unit, say from Nigeria, which is a large military and probably has a lot of equipment and a year from now the communications function is going to go to Benin which has a puny military and not much equipment." Mr. Kalomoh doesn’t foresee a problem in this area. "I’m sure each one country will be asked to provide support or to provide a force in the areas where they have a comparative advantage. I believe once created and once European partners of the African union and continent are convinced this is a force for good I’m sure the logistical and other problems will be overcome." The effort to create the stand-by force is being applauded by the United Nations and Western donors. The European Union has pledged 250 million dollars to support the program. "We think it’s great. Just that level of attention by the leadership makes a difference. It makes it a priority. Seeing leadership talk seriously about peacekeeping about being responsible for peacekeeping outside their own countries really is a sea change." Part of the reason that change came about stems from the creation of the African Union itself. It replaced the Organization for African Unity in 2002. The OAU was established in 1963 and was accused of protecting the continent’s post-colonial despots. Mr. Kalomoh says OAU and the African Union have had different goals. "One of the prime goals of the OAU was to bring about total independence of the continent – there is no greater cost to freedom and democracy than that. But I think the cold war time did distort commitment to really live up to the principles of democracy but right now I think democracy does not mean only elections, but change in people’s lives." The African Union promotes democratic principles and institutions. It also encourages popular participation in what it pledges will be a more peaceful and economically sovereign Africa.


AFP 17 Mar 2004 Fighting in Burundi kills at least two, displaces 30,000 by Esdras Ndikumana BUJUMBURA, March 17 (AFP) - Fighting between Burundi's army and rebels has claimed between two and 11 lives, according to tolls Wednesday from different sources, while 30,000 civilians took to their heels. The clashes took place on Tuesday at Kivomo, about 15 kilometres (eight miles) southeast of the small central African country's capital, the army and the rebels of the National Liberation Forces said. "The army killed three FNL rebels yesterday during an operation in the Kivomo sector of Kabezi district," army deputy spokesman Major Adolphe Manirakiza told AFP. "The operations began on Sunday." "There were no losses on our side, but we found the bodies of two soldiers," FNL spokesman Pasteur Habimana said. Fleeing villagers said that six civilians had been killed and 18 injured by an army shell on Tuesday morning, while working on a road job, a local administrative source said, asking not to be named. "I've been told about this accident, but this information has not yet been confirmed," the Bujumbura-Rural provincial governor Ignace Ntawembarira said. More than 30,000 people fled their homes, he added. The FNL is the last of seven rebel groups in Burundi still to be fighting the government in a civil war which erupted in 1993, pitting Hutu extremists against the army and government then dominated by minority Tutsis. "There has been massive population displacement since Monday," the governor said. "People are seeking refuge in Ruziba, Mutumba and Mutamba," all in other parts of the Kivomo sector, he explained. "They have nothing, no shelter, no blankets and for food they are counting on the charity of the local people." Rebel spokesman Habimana charged that the army "has been firing shells on the Kivomo from yesterday until this Wednesday morning, without taking any notice of the presence of civilians." The main rebel force, the Forces for the Defence of Democracy (FDD), five others and all the country's political parties have signed peace agreements and the FDD took up government posts last November. The FNL, however, has until now refused to engage in negotiations with the transitional authorities currently led by a Hutu president, Domitien Ndayizeye, whose government is pressing ahead with plans for elections to be held by October. The war has claimed more than 300,000 lives, mainly those of civilians.

Cote d'Ivoire

IRIN 25 Mar 2004 Côte d' Ivoire: Violence flares up as protest goes on ABIDJAN, 25 March (IRIN) - Suburbs across Cote d'Ivoire's main city were plagued by violence on Thursday after security forces shot at crowds in an attempt to disperse a banned opposition protest, residents said. According to the leaders of the main opposition parties, security forces have shot dead up to 31 protestors, who gathered in densely populated neighbourhoods like Abobo and Yopougon for a march against President Laurent Gbagbo. "We count up to 13 in Abobo, five in Yopougon," said Pascal Tano of the main opposition party, the Democratic Party of Cote d'Ivoire (PDCI), who was injured by tear gas fired by government forces into his party headquarters. An Abobo resident, known simply as 'Ouattara', said groups of paramilitary and anti-riot police were firing tear gas there too. "I saw myself four bodies, shot by people dressed in military fatigues," said Ouattara, a militant of the former ruling party PDCI and protest organiser. Most suburbs of the city have been under fire since the early hours of the morning. "They're firing with real bullets on people gathered for the march," said Ouattara. "They're trying to prevent us protest, stopping those who want to go out of their compounds." PDCI spokesperson, Alphonse Djedje Mady, told IRIN that the political leaders of the so-called Group of Seven (G7) had called on all demonstrators to return home. "We ask for protesters to return home and avoid confrontations with security forces," Mady said, adding, "It's a march for peace, we don't want to seize power!" By midday local time, the authorities had confirmed five deaths. State broadcaster RTI said the five included two police officers, two 'bandits' and one civilian. State television confirmed there had been confrontations in Abobo, but reported that most of Abidjan was like a 'dead city' with schools, shops and businesses all closed. The airport, in the Port-Bouet district of Abidjan, has remained open. Tension have been building in the near empty streets of the port city of Abidjan as march organisers pledged to press ahead with their protest, despite the risk of a showdown with the army. The demonstrators had planned to march on the presidential palace in the Plateau business district. But the army said anyone coming near the area would be considered an "enemy" and treated as such. The G7, which gathers together Gbagbo's opponents, is demanding the full implementation of a French-brokered peace deal, signed last year to end civil war in the West African nation. The opposition parties accuse the president of stalling on reforms. Gbagbo's supporters have accused the rebels, now known as the 'New forces', who control the north of the country, and their political allies, of being criminals, intent on attaining power illegally. MI-24 helicopter gunships have been seen circling over Abidjan's suburbs, coordinating their flights with the movement of security forces on the ground. Residents noticed that many protesters had been arrested by security forces. "It's becoming very difficult to move because security forces are patrolling everywhere," one protestor in Yopougon suburb told IRIN by phone. "They seal off most of the places and then they cart us off," he said. Opposition leader, Cisse Bakongo of the Rally of Republicans (RDR), told IRIN that two people had been killed by shots fired from helicopters in the suburb of Port-Bouet, near the international airport. "We've ordered our people to resist," he said. "The march could last two or three days." UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said late on Wednesday he was deeply concerned about the deteriorating situation in Cote d'Ivoire and called on all parties to "exercise utmost restraint." The UN are preparing to deploy 6,240 peacekeepers to Cote d'Ivoire in early April. They will work with around 4,000 French and 1,400 West African troops already in the country, split in two since the civil war broke out in September 2002. Kofi Annan's appeals were reinforced by Ghanaian President John Kufour, who warned on Wednesday: "This demonstration must not bring into question the arrival of UN peacekeeper". Kufuor, who is also chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) flew to Abidjan on Wednesday in a last-minute bid to defuse the rising tensions. "The entire world is watching the situation in Cote d'Ivoire at this moment. We must make every effort to bring peace and to avoid any violence," Kufuor said. .

DR Congo

BBC 11 Mar 2004 Rebel weapons seized in DR Congo- The UN has reinforced its contingent in Bukavu The UN mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Monuc, says it has confiscated weapons from former rebel military commanders. UN spokesman Sebastien Lapierre said the weapons were found in houses of several colonels of the rebel RCD-Goma. He told the BBC the discovery was made in the strategically important town of Bukavu, on the border with Rwanda. The former rebels - who are now part of the government - say the weapons belonged to their bodyguards. Last month similar finds were made in the house of the town's governor. A UN official has said the Congolese military should take appropriate measures to control the flow of weapons in the town. A BBC correspondent in DR Congo says this will not be easy, due to serious divisions in the local army command. Despite the peace process and the setting up of a government of national unity last year, the situation is still tense in the far east of the country. A 3,500-strong brigade of UN peacekeeping troops has been deployed in Bukavu after reports of incidents between former rebels and supporters of the President Joseph Kabila in the town.

AP 19 Mar 2004 UN troops attack and destroy camps for tribal fighters in northeastern Congo KIGALI, Rwanda (AP) _ United Nations troops attacked camps used by tribal fighters in the volatile northeastern Congo on Thursday, killing three combatants and detaining at least 30 others, a U.N. spokesman said. At least 300 U.N. troops on foot, in helicopter gunships and with armored personnel carriers destroyed three camps for 200 fighters of a Hema tribal faction in the troubled Ituri district, said Leocardio Salmeron, spokesman of the U.N. mission in Congo. «We liberated one prisoner from an underground prison and we seized several weapons and ammunition ... The rest of the fighters fled,» Salmeron told The Associated Press by telephone, adding that there were no U.N. casualties. Congo's transitional government declared Ituri a weapons-free zone last month and some tribal factions agreed to keep fighters in designated camps to disarm, demobilize and prepare to rejoin civilian life. The raid on Thursday is part of a military offensive that began Monday to destroy camps that are not part of the program, Salmeron said. Some 15,000 fighters of the Hema and Lendu tribes are targeted by the 2-year program intended to end tribal fighting in the region. But some factions resist the program in which fighters will not be paid for turning in weapons, but will receive job training and household items to set them up in civilian life. The Hema and Lendu traditionally fought for land and other resources, but formed murderous militias when they were armed by the former Congolese government and neighboring Uganda and Rwanda during the civil war in Congo that began in 1998. The fighters degenerated into bands of thugs bent on controlling access to Ituri's mineral wealth as foreign armies withdrew from Congo. Main Congolese rebel groups joined the transitional government. The tribal factions were not part of Congo's peace process.

AP 29 Mar 2004 Congo Quashes Apparent Coup Bid By Eddy Isango Associated Press Monday, March 29, 2004; Page A19 KINSHASA, Congo, March 28 -- Government forces put down an apparent coup attempt in the Congolese capital on Sunday, battling attackers believed to be loyal to former dictator Mobutu Sese Seko. The assault represented the first major threat to a power-sharing government meant to stabilize Congo after a devastating five-year civil war in which an estimated 3 million people died, mainly through war-induced hunger and disease. The government refused to characterize the deadly firefights as an attempted coup. Interior Minister Theophile Mbemba said the attack would not destabilize President Joseph Kabila's government, which has struggled to assert control over its vast, rebellion-splintered territory since the war, which ran from 1998 to 2003. Vital Kamerhe, a government spokesman, said, "We have the situation under control." Kabila was believed to be in the country Sunday, but his whereabouts were not made public. The British ambassador, Jim Atkinson, said, "I have it on good authority that he's safe." Fighters loyal to Mobutu, the late Cold War dictator, were among those who launched what Atkinson characterized as a "coup attempt." Mobutu was overthrown in 1997 by Laurent Kabila, the current president's father. When the elder Kabila's insurgents entered Kinshasa, thousands of Mobutu loyalists scattered; they now live in surrounding countries. Joseph Kabila assumed power in January 2001 after bodyguards assassinated his father. Sunday's attacks began before dawn and lasted through four hours of gunfire that kept most Kinshasa citizens indoors. Hundreds of Congolese took to the streets to cheer government troops as the shooting eased in the early afternoon after government forces apparently overcame the attackers. [After the fighting, authorities seized six rocket-propelled grenades, two mortar tubes, 30 grenades, 75 AK-47 assault rifles and thousands of rounds of ammunition, the army said. Officials paraded about 15 bare-chested men, some wounded, in front of reporters in the capital, the Reuters news agency reported.] Since the civil war, the government has tried to reestablish state control in Congo's restive east and north, where sporadic battles among tribal fighters, rapes and looting continue. The United Nations has 10,800 peacekeepers in Congo helping the transitional government prepare for elections scheduled to be held in less than two years.


IRIN 5 Mar 2004 Central Government Apologises for Gambella Massacre Addis Ababa The Ethiopian government said on Friday that it had apologised to local tribes for its inadequate response to prevent a massacre in the troubled western region of Gambella. A statement released by the federal affairs ministry said the government had not performed "proactively", but promised that the killers would be brought to justice. At least 60 people were murdered when fighting erupted in Gambella town in December, almost all of them members of the Anyuak ethnic group. UK officials say up to 150 were killed. "The government has apologised for not acting proactively and promised to stand on the side of the victims to see that justice is done," said the statement, issued on Friday. Federal authorities have started sifting through evidence of the massacre with the aim of ensuring that the alleged instigators can be tried. Some 37 people have been identified. Forty others, suspected of involvement in clashes at a gold mine in Dima, in Gambella region, on 30 January, in which up to 200 people were killed, had also been seized, the statement added. The Ethiopian government has come under pressure from the international community to ensure that a full inquiry is instituted and to investigate claims that troops and police were involved in the killings. "Now that a sizeable contingent of the federal police have taken over, the victims might feel more confident than before," the ministry's statement said. A strong military presence was reported in the area in response to an appeal by the local authorities in Gambella for federal intervention after the crisis got out of control. However, clashes in the remote region, which is rich in oil and gold, were still continuing, with sporadic attacks and killings having occurred throughout February. The latest troubles were sparked by the murders of eight government refugee workers when their vehicle was attacked in December. The bodies of the men, which were badly mutilated, were paraded around Gambella town, provoking brutal reprisal attacks on Anyuaks, who were blamed for the killings. An investigation team, led by the minister of federal affairs, Gebreab Barnabas Gezahe, said the reprisals infuriated the local Anyuak. "They regretted that the government, including the federal government, should have [but had not] detected the danger and prevented the violence," the statement noted. "They argued that there were adequate signals and symptoms suggesting a mounting tension." Anyuak children have stopped going to school, and large numbers of the group have fled the area, many of them across the border into neighbouring Sudan. Gambella, which has a total population of 228,000, is ethnically diverse in that it is home to members of the Nuer, Anyuak, Majanger, Komo and Opo tribes. Also resident in the region are about 60,000 people from other parts of Ethiopia, known locally as highlanders. The federal authorities are currently training some 300 indigenous police officers to help stabilise the situation and prevent further outbreaks of violence. The authorities are also now looking to traditional elders to help restore calm, and appealing to the youth and working with civil servants to bring the situation under control.

www.biddho.com (Eritrean web portal) 16 Mar 2004 Genocide in Ethiopia - A Case for UNSG Kofi Annan's Special Rapporteur “…the approaching 10-year anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda must give us pause and compel us to reflect on how to avoid similar atrocities in the future. We can no longer afford gaps in existing capacity to provide early warning of genocide or comparable crimes. I have proposed the establishment of a Special Rapporteur or Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide—to make clear the link, which is often ignored until too late, between massive and systematic violations of human rights and threats to international peace and security…” Ottawa, Canada, 9 March 2004 - Secretary-General's address to the Canadian Parliament I read UNSG Kofi Annan's address to the Canadian parliament and was encouraged. It seems that the UN is finally going to take responsibility for genocides that occur under the watch of this world body. Mr. Annan said " we can no longer afford gaps in existing capacity to provide early warning of genocide or comparable crimes ." He said a rapporteur would "compel us to reflect on how to avoid similar atrocities [to Rwanda in 1994] in the future," adding the post would make clear the link "between massive and systematic violations of human rights and threats to international peace and security ." I must say that I was pleasantly surprised, because finally, someone was going to pay attention to the impending genocide in Ethiopia. On March 10 th , 2004, Insight writer John Powers reported as follows: “…uniformed soldiers of the Ethiopian government attacked a remote town in the western part of the country on Dec. 13, 2003, and killed more than 400 members of the Anuak tribe.” But he is not the only one that has been reporting on genocide in Ethiopia. Mesfin Wolde Mariam, chairman of the Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRC) warned the Addis based diplomats on January 13, 2004 that: "What happened in Gambella verges on genocide as a result of the ethnic policy adopted by the EPDRF government…EPRDF's preference for ruling through an ethnic-based federation… dominated by the minority ethnic Tigrayans… the federal structure in effect divides and rules larger ethnic groups such as the Oromos and Amharas and bars non-members of the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front” BBC reported early this year that: “Some 16,000 people have fled ethnic clashes in Ethiopia for Sudan over the past month…” But yet, Melles Zenawi's Minister of Information Bereket Simon dismissed these allegations as being “fabrications”. Genocide, massacres and religious warfare have become the way of life in today's Ethiopia. The Tigrayan regime is trying to hide these facts by using deceptive and diversionary tactics such as the Eritrea Ethiopia border conflict. Had the border been demarcated a year and a half ago as scheduled, the headlines about Ethiopia would have read as follows: "ETHIOPIA: TPLF's Policy of Genocide against the Anuak and Nuer intensifies" “ETHIOPIA: 40 University students massacred in cold blood by the Tigrayan regime in Addis Abeba” “ETHIOPIA: Tigrayan Prime Ministers security and police forces beat and kill journalists” “Apartheid regime in Ethiopia uproots and slaughters peasants in Oromia, Somali, Gambela etc. etc”. “The minority regime in Ethiopia massacres more than 100 people in Awassa” “ETHIOPIA: More than 200 people died in ethnic conflicts between the Walaita and Kambata people” "Ethiopia:, Oromo and Somali ethnic groups clashed in Western Hararge; 19 dead, 21 wounded and over 287 houses burnt" How can UNSG Kofi Annan explain/ignore this genocide that is taking place right under the watchful eyes of thousands of international and local NGO's, diplomats, humanitarian aid workers etc. in Ethiopia? This time, he cannot feign ignorance. These and several other reported incidence of genocide (state-directed or state-authorized killing of populations identified by race, ethnicity, and/or religion, such as the people of Gambela, Somali, Awassa etc. etc.) and politicide (wholesale killing of populations identified by political affiliation, groups such as the OLF and all others opposed to TPLF) is today's Ethiopia and no amount of cover up will absolve Melles Zenawi of these and other crimes against the people of Ethiopia. I read a most shocking statement from the US Ambassador to Ethiopia Aurelia Brazeal on IRIN about the Gambela massacres, in which she stated: “we have released a statement on our position on Gambella, which is to support the government's stated intentions to have an investigation to get to the root causes and also to investigate those people who took part in the violence and take them into the legal process here and [so that they can] be tried for being participants in the violence. And from our point of view, we hope that investigation would include allegations that individual military people and police were also participants in that violence... Ambassador Brazeal obviously chooses to stick her head in the sand, just as all of the other Addis based diplomats seem to have done so far. Asking the TPLF regime to investigate itself is like asking Hitler to head the investigations on the Jewish Holocaust. As if that is not disturbing enough, Insights John Powers reported that: “…Despite these government-sponsored killings… U.S. tax dollars continue to flow into Ethiopia. The country received $32 million of aid in 2002, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) requested $77.335 million for fiscal 2003 to support programs and initiatives in Ethiopia that, in addition to humanitarian aid, "promote good governance and the rule of law…" For those who follow the Ethiopian situation closely this “I have not seen or heard anything” attitude of the international community is not new. For example, in 1984 a prominent international journalist and writer Robert Kaplan in his book “Surrender or Starve” , expressed his frustration with “experts” at the State Department who under the pretext of “Ethiopia is strategic ally”, “Ethiopia is a big country” etc. etc. chose to look the other way and remained silent as successive Ethiopian regimes violated human rights and international law. Robert Kaplan explained that “it was not just the media” that looked the other way at Ethiopia's transgressions or that “human rights organizations that weren't interested, but Western Governments as well” . Déjà Vu! Today the minority regime in Ethiopia is: A regime that is violating all tenets of human rights A regime that has defied international law and believes in the law of the jungle A regime that is reneging its international commitments, obligations and treaties The case in point being, its rejection of the final and binding Eritrea Ethiopia Border Commissions decision of April 13, 2002. In spite of all these crimes against humanity and its defiance of international law, the US led international community is treating this spoilt, lawless, belligerent, intransigent and arrogant minority regime in Ethiopia with kids' gloves. Although the crimes committed by the Melles Zenawi's minority regime in Ethiopia are crystal clear, the international community has remained curiously mute. Addis based diplomats and journalists are selfishly reluctant to rock boats. It is about time for the international community took proper punitive measures against this racist and criminal regime, before we see another Rwanda in Ethiopia, and before we see additional innocent Ethiopians being used as cannon fodder and minesweepers in its expansionist war of aggression against Eritrea. Hopefully, this Special Rapporteur will be permitted to do his work honestly, and will be allowed to call a spade a spade, and will be allowed to act and not remain silent. If not, the people of Ethiopia might not be spared from the genocidal tendencies of Melles Zenawi's paranoid regime. If not, there will surely be Rwanda style genocide in Ethiopia, which will result in the deaths of thousands and threaten the peace and stability of the Horn. According to Genocide Watch: “Impunity gives the green light to those who commit genocide. If they are not arrested, they and their followers will know they can literally get away with mass murder. They will kill again, and the massacres could become full-scale genocide.” The rule of law must prevail over the rule of the jungle! Sophia Tesfamariam


24 March 2004 e-news from Survival International Hunter-gatherers attacked Two people were killed, another was wounded and 200 houses were burnt down when a community of Ogiek hunter-gatherers was attacked on February 26 on the forested slopes of Mount Elgon, in western Kenya. The attackers are from the Pok people, who dominate the area and look down on the Ogiek. The Ogiek, fearing further attacks, have taken refuge in the forest which was their original home as hunter-gatherers. In the 1970s a fraction of what had been their land was legally assigned to them, but since then it has been mostly taken over by the Pok. This attack was apparently intended to drive out the remaining Ogiek. Thirty Ogiek have been arrested, but none of the attackers.


BBC 6 Mar 2004 US targets Liberia leader's funds - Liberia's former leader lives in exile in Nigeria The US has put forward a United Nations resolution seeking to freeze the assets of Liberia's former President, Charles Taylor, his family and his allies. It says they could be used to undermine peace and stability in Liberia. The draft resolution, expected to be debated by the Security Council within the next week, calls on all UN members to locate and freeze the funds. Mr Taylor resigned and fled to Nigeria last year after the Liberian capital Monrovia was surrounded by rebels. He has been accused of acquiring a personal fortune through illegal trading in diamonds and arms. His former residences in Liberia have been searched by investigators from a UN-backed war crimes tribunal. The court has indicted the former president for alleged offences during the civil war in Sierra Leone. According to French news agency AFP, the proposed UN resolution says: "All members shall freeze without delay all such funds, other assets and economic resources." It stipulates that these should eventually be transferred "to a future democratically elected government of Liberia, once that government has established transparent accounting and auditing mechanisms to ensure the responsible use of government revenue to benefit directly the people of Liberia". Army funding In another development, the US has pledged $35m to help rebuild Liberia's army after more than a decade of civil war. The announcement was made by the US Deputy Under Secretary of State, Pamela Bridgewater, following a meeting with Liberia's transitional leader, Gyude Bryant. She said the possibility of US officers training the Liberian army was under consideration. Ms Bridgewater said Washington was prepared to support the cancellation of Liberia's debts, but insisted that transparent economic policies would have to be introduced first. She added that the US was committed to help rebuild Liberia - a country which was founded by freed American slaves, and has had close ties with Washington.

BBC 10 Mar 2004 Sierra Leone tribunal set to open By Mark Doyle BBC correspondent in Freetown The war was marked by the deliberate maiming of civilians The UN-backed war crimes tribunal in Sierra Leone opens its new courthouse on Wednesday at a ceremony attended by the president and UN officials. The decade-long war in Sierra Leone was characterised by deliberate attacks on civilians, including murder, rape, torture and mutilation. The court aims to prosecute top militia leaders from both sides in the war. But it does not have the main backer of the rebels, the former president of neighbouring Liberia, Charles Taylor. The new court follows the establishment of war crimes tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Prosecution and defence lawyers have been preparing their cases for the Sierra Leone war crimes court for some time now, but the opening of the courthouse itself marks an important step, as this country tries to move on from a war which left it quite devastated. The hacking off of people's hands and feet to terrorise the population was common. The court has nine senior militia leaders in detention from the government and rebel sides. We want Africans to turn this African over to this African international war crimes tribunal, so he can be fairly tried before the bar Prosecutor David Crane But Charles Taylor - who the prosecution allege was responsible for crimes against humanity in Sierra Leone - has been given safe haven in Nigeria. The Nigerian government said the move was designed to end the related war in Liberia. The chief prosecutor of the Sierra Leone court, the American David Crane, called on Nigeria to hand Mr Taylor over. "We want Africans to turn this African over to this African international war crimes tribunal, so he can be fairly tried before the bar, so Africans see that no one is above the law, to include heads of state," he said. One of the more controversial indictments by the court is the detention of the leader of the pro-government militia, Sam Hinga Norman, whose trial should begin, with others, in a few weeks' time. Mr Norman protests that he was fighting for democracy and indeed at the time his militiamen cooperated with the United Nations and British forces, which were on the same side against the rebels. But the prosecution alleges that Mr Norman is responsible for war crimes and that, in these circumstances, the side he was fighting on is irrelevant.


AFP 28 Feb 2004 Gadaffi won't take no for an answer Sirte, Libya 28 February 2004 18:15 Libyan leader Moammar Gadaffi's insistence that all African armies should merge into a single military force delayed the closing ceremony of a major African Union summit by several hours on Saturday, delegates said. "It's never going to work, never. Nobody supports it," said one west African delegate, hours after heads of state from dozens of countries had been due to wrap up the meeting in the Libyan coastal town of Sirte. When asked why the closing ceremony had not begun on time, several other delegates explained that Gadaffi had once again put the plan on the table. "Gadaffi thinks that by summoning us here he can impose his views on us. This shows a lack of understanding and respect," said a delegate from another west African state. Foreign ministers meeting in Libya earlier in the week to prepare the summit's agenda agreed that the single army idea was "ahead of its time" because Africa had yet to reach the necessary level of integration. Instead, the vast majority of AU member states favour the establishment of a standby military force that would have peacekeeping duties and, in certain dramatic circumstances, such as genocide or other crimes against humanity, would intervene militarily and not necessarily with the approval of the state concerned. "Within the next year or so we hope to have the capacity to prevent the kind of tragedy that arose in Rwanda" in 1994, Kenyan Foreign Minister Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka explained to journalists. Up to a million people were killed over 100 days in Rwanda that year as the government of the day tried to exterminate the central African country's Tutsi minority. The international community did nothing to intervene and nor did the Organisation of African Union, the AU's relatively impotent predecessor. This is not the first time that Gadaffi, who portrays himself to his own citizens as a champion of Africa's emancipation and development, has seen his ideas dismissed by his African peers. His plans for a "United States of Africa," a single sovereign entity, never found any support outside of Tripoli. Once the heads of state overcome the last-minute military debate in Sirte on Saturday, they are expected to adopt several declarations committing themselves to a multilateral response to the interlinked and critical issues of water, agriculture and common defence.

Mail&Guardian ZA www.mg.co.za Ministers pour cold water on Gadaffi's big idea Sirte, Libya 27 February 2004 07:42 Foreign ministers and delegates from more than 50 African states showed more skepticism than enthusiasm on Thursday for Libyan leader Moammar Gadaffi's idea of creating a single African army to defend the continent. Convening on the eve of a pan-African summit, Libyan officials touted the proposal as "a progressive idea," but delegates from other nations cautioned that it needed a lot of research. They questioned how the continent could unite militarily if it cannot unite politically. The idea of forming a single African army was broached in July 2002 during the first summit of the African Union, which replaced the 39-year-old Organisation of African Unity. The OAU was widely criticised for doing little to prevent African despots from plundering their countries and oppressing their people. The young African Union aspires to be more effective, but it labours under financial constraints, including a $40-million debt inherited from the OAU. Gadaffi first proposed the single continental army at the 2002 summit in Durban, South Africa. He renewed his proposal three days ago at a meeting of African defence ministers. The Libyan foreign minister, Abdel Rahman Shalqam, took up the cause on Thursday on the sidelines of preparatory meetings for the two-day summit that opens on Friday. "This is a progressive idea," Shalqam said. "If we had said in the past that we are going to connect the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea (by digging) the Suez Canal, nobody would have believed us. But big ideas start like that." He added: "Africa needs $15-million every year for its military forces. To do what? To fight each other." Africa is one of the most troubled regions in the world. Devastating local wars, including those in Sudan, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire and Liberia, fuelled the idea of having some kind of regional security force that could stay aloof from internal wars and help bring peace. A senior African diplomat, speaking on condition neither he nor his country were identified, said the formation of a united army is a long-term project and requires more cooperation than currently exists on the continent. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher said that a united African army was "a worthy cause." But he cautioned it would "take a lot of research and time and we shouldn't rush things". After the African Union summit opens on Friday under the chairmanship of Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano, members are expected to finalise a "peace and security protocol" that would allow for an exchange of information and strategies to combat criminal activity and political instability on the continent. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan arrived in Sirte late on Thursday to attend the summit. - Sapa-AP

BBC 8 Mar 2004 Libya blamed for W Africa wars By Mark Doyle BBC correspondent in Sierra Leone The chief prosecutor at the UN's new court for Sierra Leone has accused the Libyan leader of being behind the past decade of war in West Africa. The accusation against Muammar Gaddafi was made by David Crane in an interview with the BBC. It comes at a time when Libya is trying to improve relations with the West. The Sierra Leone war crimes court officially opens its doors this week, in the wake of international courts for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. 'Potentially explosive' It has been known for some time that several West African rebel leaders were trained in Libya, but the fresh accusations from war crimes prosecutor David Crane come at a politically sensitive time. The Libyan leader has improved his relations with the United States and Britain, and sanctions have been lifted. The plan was to put in surrogates who were beholden to Muammar Gaddafi David Crane, chief prosecutor UN war crimes tribunal However, the US and Britain also support the new Sierra Leone war crimes court where - when cases start in the coming weeks and months - potentially explosive allegations will be made against the Libyan leader. David Crane said there was a detailed plan by Mr Gaddafi to destabilise several West African countries which had caused widespread suffering in the region. "We know that, specifically up until last year, that there was a 10-year plan to take down Liberia, Sierra Leone, Cote d'Ivoire, then move to Guinea and then elsewhere as the situation developed," he said. "The 10-year plan was to put in surrogates who were beholden to Muammar Gaddafi," Mr Crane said. The new Sierra Leonean war crimes court has indicted those deemed to have, in the legal phrase, the greatest responsibility for crimes against humanity in Sierra Leone. When asked whether Muammar Gaddafi might be indicted, the Chief Prosecutor said he could not confirm this, but that all options were still open. [ Special Court for Sierra Leone www.sc-sl.org ]

WP 11 Mar 2004 Sub-Saharan Migrants in Libya Face Backlash - Gaddafi Ratchets Back Pan-African Policies By Daniel Williams Page A24 TRIPOLI, Libya -- Maxim Kwadwo set up his sales cart with cold cream and hair oil in a narrow alley in the decayed old city of Tripoli to avoid the competition on the bigger streets nearby. A group of young Libyans came by and complained that he was making it hard for pedestrians to pass. They called him obscene names, slapped him and told him to go back to Ghana. Kwadwo, who has lived in Libya for less than a year, said the abuse was not unusual. "We are worse than dogs to the Libyans. If we were slaves, they would treat us better," he said on a recent day as he gathered up his jars, scattered in the muddy alley. It was a brief sample of the tensions over one of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi's international experiments. During the 1990s, in the name of African unity, Gaddafi opened the borders to tens of thousands of sub-Saharan Africans to live and work in Libya. For the past four years, resentment over the policy has led to occasional riots and frequent bitter confrontations between the immigrants and Libyans. In effect, the problems mark the end of an officially ordained dream. Last month participants at an African Union meeting in Libya's coastal city of Sirte, Gaddafi's home town, rejected his proposal for a continent-wide army. A few days later, the General People's Congress, a consultative assembly that meets annually, ratified laws to restrict immigration and to expatriate Africans and other immigrants who live in Libya but have no steady jobs. "You have work, you stay. You don't, you go home," said Giuma Abulkher, a government spokesman. "There will be strict controls." The closed door is part of a shift in Libyan priorities. After decades of presenting himself first as a leader of the Arab world and then the African continent, Gaddafi has turned to the West. He is giving up chemical and nuclear weapons programs and declared that Libya would no longer support rebel movements across the globe. The United States is moving to restore diplomatic and trade relations cut off during decades of hostilities. Libya plans to privatize its state-dominated economy. Shutting out other Africans will probably prove popular. In a closed, politically fearful society, opposition to Gaddafi's immigration policy is one of the few outward signs of discontent with his government. While Libyans are usually reluctant to openly discuss such issues as democracy, succession and economic policy, the immigration question provides a vent for complaints that quickly spill over into expressions of general unhappiness. "It's about time. How can we have all these poor people here when we are poor ourselves?" said Osama Tayeb, a tout at a chaotic taxi stand in the old city. "First we help revolutionaries everywhere, then we give Libya to the Africans. Enough of this. Libya for the Libyans." Mohammed Mabrouk, a waiter, blamed immigrants for a wide variety of societal problems -- crime, prostitution, dirty streets. "Look, they get away with everything. We could not touch our African brothers. They bring drugs, they smuggle people. We don't need this," he said. Just over three years ago, resentment boiled over into violence. Libyans attacked African immigrants in several cities and killed as many as 130. Thousands of foreigners fled to their home countries carrying horrific tales of stabbings, shootings, beatings and robberies. Libyan officials, who said the violence was between African gangs, deported 6,000 Nigerians and 3,000 Ghanaians. About 600,000 sub-Saharan Africans are estimated to live among Libya's population of 5.5 million. They were lured by a relatively stable currency and jobs that many Libyans, in their highly socialist economy, decline to do. They sweep streets, work in restaurants and peddle a dizzying collection of merchandise -- cosmetics, pirated recorded music, clothes and secondhand auto parts. Raggedy men selling single articles of clothing and knit caps stand in line inside an arched stone gateway to the old city. Their headdresses and wool or cotton robes indicate origins across a wide swath of Africa: Nigeria, Ghana, Chad, Mali, Somalia, Sudan and Congo. Some of the migrants come to make the perilous journey to Europe across the Mediterranean Sea. Last summer, 200 Africans traveling to Italy by fishing boat drowned when their rickety craft capsized. During peak summer season last year, as many as 2,600 Africans arrived each month by boat on the Italian island of Lampedusa, an isolated stop between Libya and Sicily. The influx prompted Italian officials to press Libya to stem the flow. The two countries agreed to exchange information to combat the migration, but Gaddafi balked at letting the Italians enter Libyan waters to intercept boats at sea. Libya periodically announces roundups of migrants headed for Italy. Last week, Libya extradited an Eritrean woman known as Madame Gennet to Italy for allegedly smuggling 500 people into Italy last summer. Police also recently said they deported 200 Somalis who were preparing for a Mediterranean passage north. African migrants speculate that the withdrawal of Libya's welcome will cause a spike in the number of people making the trip by boat next summer. "We are trapped. Life here is not going to get better, and no one wants to go back across the Sahara to his home," said Harbi Abdulahi, a Somali customer at the Barber Boss hair salon inside a little nook in the old city. "I think Africans may try to take any risk to get to Italy." Badou Zaituni, a shoe repairman from Sudan, said he has lived in Libya for eight years and has grown fearful of his future. "A Libyan comes and asks me for money. I don't dare say no. The police will do nothing for us. We are surrounded by hate," he said. Kwadwo, 19, said he would hang on and try to save money to get to Italy. He had come to Libya on the heels of his older brother, who works in a car repair shop. He traveled by bus across the vast Libyan desert, sometimes spending hours waiting under the hot sun as the driver made a series of repairs. "I almost fainted," he said. "I don't want to face that again, and there is little good work in Ghana." Kwadwo said he thought it would cost him $1,000 to find a place on a boat heading north. "Why not?" he said. "If I make it, I can send money home and help my family. If I don't, well, my life is not worth much as it is. I thought I could do something in Libya. If I can't do it here, I will have to try somewhere else. What do you know about Spain?"


The Namibian, Namibia 5 Mar 2004 www.namibian.com.na Everyone should back Herero reparations A HUNDRED years ago the German High Command, acting on instructions from the Kaiser of the time, issued a terrible proclamation to their troops in colonial Deutsch Suedwestafrica. Annihilate the native Herero nuisance, or an order to that effect. This was not the first 'Final Solution' war cry issued by German warriors in history. The barbarian invasions of Attila the Hun [Attila was not German but a central-Asian invader of Europe. Ed.] into ancient Rome (sic.) also followed proclamations that gave the order for a scorched-earth policy. The Herero challenge to the colonisers was no doubt a pain in their backside and could not to be tolerated for long by the militarily superior Schutztruppe. That they had infringed upon the rights of the people who inhabited the country before them was of no consequence to the imperial army. 'Might was right' in those terrible days of white supremacy and black people who dared to stand in the way of the explorers, colonisers, hunters and discoverers were simply shot without compunction. And so it came about that the Herero people who saw their land being taken away by white men, took up their spears to challenge the Kaiser's might. Continuous Herero harassment of the Schutztruppe and the many colonial officials who were daily entering the country in big numbers, finally led to the order by Von Trotha to exterminate the whole Herero nation. The imperial army needed no second bidding. In those days, human rights were not even considered an issue when it came to dealing with black people. White men killing black people were thought to be doing Europe a good service. Nobody even complained afterwards about the killings, except some missionaries. And, although Germany eventually lost the country to other foreign powers after the WW I, exterminating those they regarded as their enemies remained a part of their national strategy during war. This bizarre policy was to be repeated 36 years later during the WW II when the Germans gave another imperial order to exterminate the Jews. The world stood helplessly by as Jews were collected in cattle trucks across Europe and transported to the extermination camps of Adolf Hitler in what became known as the Final Solution. There are strong similarities here. Herero people were also herded into extermination camps and either shot or hanged in large numbers. Those who took to their heels were followed on horseback by the bloodthirsty troops and put to the sword. Jews were herded into extermination camps and either shot or simply gassed and then burnt in huge ovens. Today, many people in Germany do not want to even hear a 'whisper' about this ugly story. No, it humiliates their country and destroys their dignity in the eyes of the world. After all, Germany is a highly developed, civilised and prosperous country. Why should such a first-world nation be linked to such barbaric acts? Well, well, well...it happened, period. There's nothing any well-respected German priest, human rights lawyer, businessman or politician can do about it today. Much as many citizens of Germany would wish to see the whole sordid affair being swept under a carpet, this ugly stain will haunt them until the Lord comes back. The time for reparation is therefore due now. What is reparation actually? It is the 'Please Forgive Me' or 'Good Neighbourliness' approach. When someone has been hurt in southern Africa we have inherited the word Sorry from the Afrikaans word 'Ekskuus/Askies'. We hear this word all the time and it is even whispered in churches. 'Askies' makes all the difference. One can never buy off hurt, but one can say ''askies followed by a small token to the one who is hurt, to make up for the hurt. In Africa, if a man's cattle destroy a neighbour's crops, he has to make for this by either giving a sum of money or sharing his harvest with the party that lost everything. That is his 'askies'. Those who travel the Trans-Kalahari highway know what happens when they accidentally hit a cow and it is killed in Botswana. 'Askies' to the owner means Pulas on the spot to make up for the loss of his cow or goat. But the issue of the Herero people in this case is not about crops or livestock, but human beings. Lets think about a whole race wiped from the face of the earth - the Herero people nearly became extinct last century. Anybody who says reparation must not be paid to the Herero people betrays them and betrays the cause of liberation in Africa. Namibians must not look at this serious matter from the point of view of (Chief Kauima) Riruako getting millions and becoming rich, as this is very often the shallow way that some of us Africans look at such matters. No, a people was brutalised and traumatised by men on horseback, mercilessly hunting them down like wild animals. There is no other country in Africa where such an order was ever given by colonisers and executed. And so there are those who are totally against reparation to the Herero people for reasons only known to them of course. Others argue that Germany is already pumping millions into the Namibian economy in the form of aid and so on. The crux of the matter is: When the Herero people were exterminated. Namibia did not exist. There was no general call to arms such as the one made in the Sixties for the total liberation of South West Africa. No, no one came to help the Herero people except the Nama people, who were fighting their own battles anyway. Furthermore, the Herero people of that period occupied land that was theirs and they would fight any other tribe - be it Owambo, Kavango or Caprivi, if they had come to settle on it. To refer to Namibia in this matter is totally out of (historical) context. Furthermore, as far as is known, the Herero people started with the campaign of demanding reparation before Namibia's independence. In like manner, the state of Israel was non-existent when the Jews were exterminated by Germany. In fact, Israel was only created three years after the WW II - long after six million Jews were killed in Germany. It is obvious that if the Hereros were not exterminated by the German army, their population would be much bigger than it is today. Germany cannot bring back those souls whose bones lie scattered all over the Kalahari plains. But a sum of money can be paid to the Herero people as a gesture of friendship - to ask for forgiveness. The amount should be commensurate with the number of people killed. The eighty-six years that have elapsed and the pain caused by the extermination process must be taken into account. This should go a long way towards healing the wounds of a very angry people. All Namibians should support this demand without question. It should be left to the Herero people themselves to decide what they want to do with such reparation money and not the state of Namibia. Should Germany pay the reparation, and we hope they will, that country can only win friendship and trust among the people of Africa in general and Namibians in particular. After many years of arguments, lies, subterfuge and sanctions, Libya has owned up for the bombing of an America plane over Lockerbee and has paid US$ 2 billion for fewer than three hundred people. In Namibia we are talking about between sixty to a hundred thousand souls. Let no one escape the wrath of generations whose forebears were simply killed like chickens in flu-riddled South East Asia. The process of globalisation will strengthen the brotherhood of humanity to the extent that racial prejudices, intolerance, apartheid and all the unholy schemes and -isms that are hatched in the minds of dictators and communists can disappear from the face of the earth. We are waiting. Andrew Matjila Windhoek

The Namibian, Namibia 12 Mar 2004 www.namibian.com.na As for the San and Damara genocide Mr. Matjila: - Responding to your letter entitled "Everyone should back Herero reparations" in The Namibian of the 5th of March. YOU have the audacity to compare the Germans with Attila the Hun and did not hesitate to describe the Germans as barbaric etc. Why did you, however, not say the same about the Herero nation? Before the Herero people settled in this country, it was populated by the San and the Bergdama. In order to obtain the land from these two nations, the Herero had to practically wipe them out by brutal and barbaric means. Yet you state that the Herero fought for the land that was RIGHTFULLY theirs. What a joke. If a thief steals a stolen object from another thief, then who is the thief? The Herero nation was the first coloniser of Namibia but they do not want to talk about their dark history or the crimes they perpetrated against other nations. No - now they want reparations from Germany as a small token. What token have they given to the San and Bergdama and what do they want to buy with the billions they are claiming? Do they want to create another scenario of where a minority owns the majority of the fertile farms? Pohamba will tell you something else in this context, as the Herero do not seem to be favoured by the present Government anyhow. Or how does one explain the absence of their weak leader, Samuel Maharero, on any of our country's currency. I say weak, because it was he who sold off hundreds of the Herero farms for his own profit, and it was he who voluntarily joined a war against his own people (Refer to the war against [the Mbanderu chiefs - Ed.] Kahimemua and Nikodemus in 1896) His own headmen and even Leutwein tried to stop him from disposing of land that belonged to the Herero people, but his high-flying lifestyle demanded it and he could therefore not be stopped. You say that every Namibian must support the Herero claim for reparations. All right, let's do it. Once the Herero have their money, we will support the San and the Bergdama with their claims against the Herero etc, etc. The Herero must start to act like Namibians and stop thinking along tribalist lines. So stop this call for reparations for the Herero. Rather support a call for help to the Namibian Nation. Germany is no longer the prosperous land that you think it is and has more domestic problems to sort out then you could ever dream of. Ernst Ahrens P.O. Box 80301 Windhoek Note: This letter has been shortened - Ed


BBC 20 Jan 2004 WHO moves to calm polio fears By Orin Gordon Religious leaders are yet to be convinced over vaccine safety The World Health Organisation (WHO) is trying to reassure African countries where polio cases have reappeared, that the vaccines to eradicate the disease are safe to take. The organisation's special representative for Polio Eradication, Dr David Heyman said they are working at the state level to help traditional and religious leaders understand the importance of vaccination. "We're trying to help them understand that these vaccines are safe, and that other countries throughout Africa have used them and have had success in getting rid of a disease that causes permanent disability in children," Dr David Heyman told the BBC Africa Live! programme. Muslim clerics in northern Nigeria view the polio vaccines with suspicion. They stopped the immunisation programme in three states last year saying the vaccines were contaminated with contraceptives. Efforts to reassure them have been frustrated by conflicting laboratory test results on the disputed vaccines. While the federal government's tests have given the vaccines the all-clear, northern leaders say that their own test results showed traces of the female hormone, oestrogen, in the vaccines. Polio cases Have Your Say Since the Nigerian Muslim clerics' campaign against the vaccine, polio has reappeared there and spread to neighbouring countries. Officially polio is present in six countries: Nigeria, Niger and Egypt in Africa, and Pakistan, India and Afghanistan. Egypt and India may soon be declared free of polio. But the WHO says that the disease has reappeared in the past few months in Ghana, Burkina Faso, Chad, Togo, Benin and Cameroon. Ghana's health minister has already told the WHO that it has had to budget $1m to fight polio in a country that had been declared free of the disease. They believe the new cases have been spread from Nigeria. Tests Dr Heyman admits it is hard work convincing the local government officials in the African countries affected. "We are very concerned that these leaders are convinced that these vaccines are safe," he said. "The manufacturers of these vaccines have all written to the governors of these states indicating that the vaccines are safe and giving them the evidence of this." Nigeria's health minister, Professor Eyitayo Lambo told the BBC that the national immunisation campaign would restart next month and would cover all of Nigeria's northern states.

AP 28 Feb 2004 Rumors stymie polio effort in Nigeria - Some hide their children because they believe the vaccine will sterilize them. Associated Press LAGOS, Nigeria - An emergency drive to immunize millions of Africans against polio ended with mixed results in Nigeria's heavily Muslim north, where many families heeded some Islamic leaders' claims that the vaccine was part of a U.S. plot to render them sterile, U.N. officials said Friday. Families in some northern states hid their children from the door-to-door immunization teams despite the spreading polio outbreak, said Mohammed Belhocine, World Health Organization representative to Nigeria. Belhocine called U.N. officials "a bit frustrated" at what he called pockets of resistance in the Muslim north. Organizers had hoped to reach 63 million children during the Monday-to-Thursday campaign in 10 African nations. In Nigeria, U.N. officials say polio has been spreading since Muslim religious leaders began telling their followers last year that the vaccines cause infertility or AIDS. Several predominantly Muslim states boycotted the campaign after Kano, one of the states, said its scientists found trace levels of estadiol, a type of the female hormone estrogen found in oral contraceptives, in a batch of the vaccines. Some Islamic leaders seized on the discovery, declaring it a plot by the United States and its allies to spread AIDS and render African girls infertile. U.N. and Nigerian federal government officials repeatedly sought to assure Muslims that the vaccines were safe, emphasizing that any hormones found at the levels alleged would be harmless, amounting to less than what is found in breast milk or even drinking water in some developed nations. Belhocine said he and others observed "quite a high number of rejections" in Katsina, a northern state where some families concealed their children from volunteers. Other mothers sought out the vaccines but asked volunteers not to record the immunizations on paper or with paint on their children's fingernails for fear of angering husbands opposed to the vaccines, he said. Some parents in states where officials refused to allow the vaccinations were forced to cross state borders to get their children immunized, said Bruce Aylward, head of WHO's polio campaign in Geneva. WHO estimates it is achieving 80 percent immunization in predominantly Christian southern Nigeria and 75 percent in multireligious central regions. It has given no estimates for the Muslim north.

BBC 2 Mar 2004 Nigeria leader's fight against polio drops By Yusuf Sarki Muhammad BBC, Nigeria Governor Ibrahim Shekarau has said repeatedly that it is wiser to sacrifice a few number of children to polio today than to endanger a whole generation in the future. To some people this statement sounds controversial and unreasonable. [Ibrahim Shekarau] Governor Shekarau has become popular among Muslims But the governor has maintained his position and indeed Kano, the most populous state in northern Nigeria, is not taking part in the polio vaccination exercise. Governor Shekarau started work as a mathematics teacher, after graduating from the Ahmadu Bello University in the ancient city of Zaria. He rose through the ranks, to become a principal, then a director and ultimately a permanent secretary, the highest office in the Nigerian civil service. Powerful backers He is a newcomer to Nigerian partisan politics. Governor Shekarau served as permanent secretary under his predecessor. He was said to have fallen into the bad books of his boss and was demoted and then sent back to work as a classroom teacher. This eventually forced him to retire from the civil service. But he bounced back when powerful interest groups who wanted to oust the former governor supported Mr Shekarau's candidature. He won elections last year and today he is governor. Sharia code On assuming office, he promised to make human development the main focus of his administration and also pledged to implement Sharia, strict Islamic law. Governor Shekarau is a down to earth person. He always mixes with local people and does not wear expensive clothes. To Islamists, Governor Shekarau today surpasses Zamfara state governor Ahmad Sani, the first man to reintroduce Islamic law in northern Nigeria. His total rejection of polio vaccines has now gained him even more publicity, surpassing by far what his supporters could have imagined. At every opportunity - and these come daily - Governor Shekarau maintains that Kano state will only allow the polio vaccination exercise to be held if his trusted scientists are proved wrong. They say that the polio vaccine is in fact a western plot to make African women, in particular Muslims, infertile. These claims are emphatically denied by the World Health Organisation. [Polio victims in Kano] Health officials say polio incidents are high in Kano But Mr Shekarau says that any agency or government contesting the results of the findings of his scientists must bring their own scientists to work alongside his trusted team. In the end, the team should come up with a joint result. If his scientists are proved wrong, then and only then will he give in. So far this has not happened.

BBC 9 Mar2004 Nigeria seeks Asia polio vaccines The polio immunisation campaign was abandoned The northern Nigerian state of Kano is seeking polio vaccines from Asian countries to be used in a mass immunisation programme. The governor's spokesman Sule Yau Sule told the BBC that they had already ordered the vaccines and they expect the first batch to arrive soon. Mr Sule however says their boycott of the anti-polio campaign will not be lifted until the vaccines are tested. Half of the world's new polio cases originate in northern Nigeria. 'Polio radiates' Kano suspended immunisations following reports by Muslim clerics that the vaccine was contaminated with an anti-fertility agent as part of a US plot to render Muslim women infertile. Mr Sule said they opted to seek the vaccine from Muslim states in the Asian continent where they had developed their own. "We shall also test the vaccines which we expect soon and if they are safe we will announce when the immunisation programme will begin," he said. The northern states of Niger, Bauchi and Zamfara also pulled out from an anti- polio campaign that is targeting 60 million children. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has denied the claims by Muslim clerics opposed to the immunisation drive. Polio has already radiated out from northern Nigeria to infect people in at least six west and central African states>

IRIN 15 Mar 2004 Army denies alleged massacre in Niger Delta LAGOS, 15 Mar 2004 (IRIN) - Nigerian troops have denied a claim by an activist group that they opened fire last week on unarmed villagers near the southern oil town of Warri, killing at least 51 people, hours after a soldier was killed in a clash with an armed gang. The Federated Niger Delta Ijaw Communities (FNDIC) group said in a statement on Saturday that 10 women, 19 children and 20 men were initially counted dead in the alleged 9 March dawn attack on Fenegbene by members of a special military task force stationed in the volatile region. Two more bodies, of a mother and a child, were recovered on Friday,FNDIC leader Bello Oboko told IRIN. Oboko said the ethnic Ijaw community of Fenegbene was attacked in an apparent reprisal for the killing of a soldier, a few hours before, by unknown gunmen at the mainly Ijaw Awor quarters of Warri - separated by a river from Fenegbene. “The Ijaw are at a loss finding the correlation between the Awor crime and the Fenegbene massacre,” said Oboko, “and feel it is perhaps meant to serve a deterrent to the Ijaw of Warri against agitating for their rights.” However, Maj. Said Ahmed, spokesman for the special military task force, “ Operation Restore Hope” said on Saturday the authorities had no records of any additional casualties to those released earlier. “Operation Restore Hope” was set up in October last year to police the rise in violence between the Ijaw and Itsekiri communities, fuelled by competition for compensations and other payments made by oil companies to local authorities. The two communities have been fighting since early 1997 over the relocation of a local government headquarters from an Ijaw to an Itsekiri area. Ijaws claim electoral boundaries drawn for last year’s general elections disenfranchised most of their communities in favour of the Itsekiris. An estimated 3,000 troops are currently stationed in the Warri area, where more than 200 people have been killed during the last year. The commander of “Operation Restore Hope”, Brig-Gen. Elias Zamani, said on Tuesday that only five people had been killed, one soldier and four civilians, in the shootout at Awor. He said 79 people had been arrested and that the authorities were investigating the incident. Ahmed said of the 79 initially arrested, 58 have already been freed. He accused the Ijaw activist group of deliberately "whipping up sentiments" with the claims of massacre so as to play down the killing the soldier, and he insisted that troops did not attack Fenegbene. However, he did not rule out the possibility that there may have been victims of a "crossfire." "If a gun battle ensues between two parties, the crossfire can go anywhere, but they only attribute the crossfire to the soldiers," said Ahmed. In two separate incidents, one in the Niger Delta town of Odi in 1999 and another in central Nigeria in 2001, troops killed hundreds of people in reprisal attacks after local militias killed policemen and soldiers. Local and international human rights groups have blamed President Olusegun Obasanjo’s government for failing to punish soldiers responsible for those killings Heirangoithong massacre remembered Source: The Sangai Express Imphal, March 14: In memory of the 14 innocent civilians who were mercilessly gunned down by CRPF personnel at Heirangoithong Volley ground on March 14 1984, "Heirangoithong Meehat Ningshing Ashil Lup" today organized a memorial function at the Heirangoithong volleyball ground today. Relatives and friends of the victims who attended the function paid tribute to the departed souls by offering floral wreaths and prayers at the memorial stone built at the ground. Higher and Technical Education Minister Dr T Meinya also visited the site and paid his respect to the departed souls.

BBC 17 Mar 2004 Nigeria polio jab row rages on Kano officials are still not happy with the vaccine Nigeria's northern state of Kano has again rejected a polio vaccine promoted by the UN, despite assurances from the Nigerian authorities that it is safe. Kano opted out of an immunisation campaign last year, when some Islamic leaders said it was part of a western plot to render Muslim women infertile. On Wednesday an official study into the allegations said the jab was harmless. Health experts have warned that the delay in vaccination in Kano has already resulted in new polio cases. At issue is a mass immunisation programme supported by the World Health Organization, based on the oral polio vaccine. With due respect I believe our professionals know better Sule Yau Sule Kano government spokesman The programme targets about 60 million children and centres on northern Nigeria - where half of the world's new polio cases originate. But the states of Kano, Bauchi, Niger, and Zamfara have opted out of the programme. Alternative On Wednesday President Olusegun Obasanjo said that a report by experts and Muslim leaders sent by the government to conduct independent tests in South Africa, India and Indonesia "categorically attests to the safety of the oral polio vaccine." However the conclusions were quickly rejected by Kano government spokesman Sule Yau Sule. "With due respect I believe our professionals know better," he told the Associated Press news agency. He said State Governor Ibrahim Shekarau was going ahead with plans to procure vaccines from Muslim countries in Asia. Kano suspended immunisations following reports by Muslim clerics that the vaccine was contaminated with an anti-fertility agent. The WHO has denied the claims. Polio has already radiated out from northern Nigeria to infect people in at least six west and central African states.

Rwanda (see France)

NYT 26 feb 2004 10 Years Later in Rwanda, the Dead Are Ever Present By MARC LACEY MURAMBI, Rwanda — If, for whatever reason, one has the desire to relive the horror of the Rwandan massacre of 10 years ago, Emmanuel Murangira is the man to see. Mr. Murangira, 48, is a survivor of a schoolyard blood bath that killed tens of thousands of people seeking refuge on the hilltop campus of a technical school here that has become one of the country's many memorials to the dead. He walks soberly and silently as he guides visitors down the hallways. He unlocks classroom after classroom and pushes open the doors. "This is genocide," he says. Inside, the rooms are full of the partially preserved remains of hundreds of those who were killed by Hutu extremists. The stench is overpowering. The scene is worse still. Closer inspection of the remains, which have been treated with a traditional substance to slow decomposition, reveals exactly in what manner many of them died. A woman has her arms over her face, as if protecting herself from attack. One of her forearms has been hacked off. Another, a youngster, has a thin crack across his skull, the imprint of a machete. All across Rwanda, there are similar scenes of butchery, preserved by survivors just as they were. But with the 10th anniversary of the mass killing approaching in April, the Rwandan authorities are working to bury the bones while still preserving the memories of the estimated 800,000 Tutsi, who make up a minority in the country, and moderate Hutus who died. "We want the memorials to be centers for the exchange of ideas, not collections of bones," said Ildephonse Karengera, the country's director of memorials. But just what to do with all the remains is the question. Some want the bones displayed for as long as they last as evidence of what happened, just in case doubters emerge. But Rwandans traditionally bury their dead and some people say it is disrespectful to leave so many bones and bodies exposed. A compromise is emerging, one that calls for burying more bodies without sanitizing the horror of what occurred. "For those who say it is undignified to show bones, we're burying them, in a sense, behind dark glass," said Dr. James Smith, who runs Beth Shalom Holocaust Memorial Center in Britain and is working with the Rwandan government to revamp some of its memorials. "For those who say it is necessary to see the death, we're accommodating them, too." The memorials are just one part of Rwanda's attempt to recover from the events of 1994. The Tutsi-led government that now runs Rwanda has eliminated ethnicity from identity cards and made it a crime to say or do anything that can be construed as "divisionist." As for prosecuting those who killed, an international tribunal is slowly working its way through the big fish while Rwandan courts handle the lieutenants. With too many offenders to possibly try, President Paul Kagame recently released tens of thousands of people from jail and ordered them to face community trials, known as gacacas. Those proceedings, which will begin countrywide in the coming months, are already having one unforeseen effect. Defendants are pointing out with more specificity where the killing occurred, and more remains are being found. Some bodies were dumped into latrines. Others have spent the last decade in swamps. Mass graves are being dug up, as well. Rwanda hopes the 10th anniversary will attract worldwide attention to the country, its past but also its attempts to recover. On the morning of April 7, the date the killing began in earnest, the government is planning a somber march through the city, followed by 10 minutes of silence. The main memorial in Kigali will officially open its doors. The federal government intends to focus its attention on a handful of main memorials. Local jurisdictions will maintain other sites. But locals will be encouraged to begin using some properties again, despite the unimaginable things that happened there. "Everybody wants a memorial," Mr. Karengera said. "But the whole country can't be covered with memorials. We're a small country. We can't live with that kind of chaos." Thanks to donations from Rwanda's former colonial power, Belgium, and the foundation run by former President Bill Clinton, work is under way on an education center at the school in Murabi that will tell the story of the killings without offering up so much first-hand evidence. Mr. Murangira narrowly escaped death himself. He was shot in the head during the attack on the school. But somehow, hidden under corpses and bleeding from his head, he managed to live. There were only three other survivors that day and Mr. Murangira, with a deep indentation in his forehead from where the bullet was removed, wants to make sure that the attack is never forgotten. The smell, the sight, he can deal with that. "Those who smell are my relatives," he said. "How can I mind?" All the same, Mr. Murangira is thrilled that a permanent memorial will soon take the place of his ad hoc effort to keep the victims' memories alive. "It's hard for me to be here," he said. "But I cannot leave before they put things in order." A similar overhaul is planned for the church in Ntarama, west of Kigali, where the space between the pews is filled with human remains and bloody clothes. In the back, survivors of the massacre here have lined up skulls, reserving a special row for the children. "I want people to see the bones," said Pacific Rutaganda, 48, who survived the church slaughter but lost his sisters, parents and in-laws inside. "I don't want them buried away. There is no way if you see this that you can say genocide never happened. Genocide happened." He then began pointing at the skulls, indicating the weapon used to kill each person. "This is an ax," he said, noting a huge gash in the temple of one victim. "This is a bullet. Here's an arrow and here's a club." Dancilla Nyirabanzungu said her family was somewhere in the church. She lost her husband, 2 children and 15 other relatives in April 1994. Pregnant at the time, she survived because bodies collapsed on top of her and the killers assumed she was dead, too. Soon afterward, though, she gave birth to a boy, whom she named Hakizimana, or Only God Can Save. He is nearly 10 now, and he knows little about what happened in the year of his birth. He knows that his father died with all the others in the church. And he knows his mother is drawn to the place, sitting on the front step just about every day. But for him, the church yard is a playground, one that attracts many visitors. "People keep coming," he said.

Hirondelle news agency, Arusha 29 Feb 2004 www.hirondelle.or THOUSANDS DEMONSTRATE AGAINST UN TRIBUNAL Kigali, February 29th, 2004 (FH) – An estimated 10,000 people turned up on the streets of the south west Rwanda town of Cyangugu on Thursday to demonstrate against the acquittal of two senior leaders from the province on genocide charges by the UN International Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). The ICTR on Wednesday absolved former prefect of Cyangugu Emmanuel Bagambiki and former minister of transport and telecommunications, André Ntagerura who hails from the province, of any responsibility in the killings that took place in the province during the 1994 genocide. Former military commander of Karambo military barracks in Cyangugu, Samuel Imanishimwe was found guilty of ordering and abetting the killings of many ethnic Tutsis that had taken refuge at a football pitch on the outskirts of the town. He was sentenced to 27 years in jail. Demonstrators carrying placards denouncing “revisionist ICTR”, “useless UN” and “Bagambiki the killer” among others matched along the main streets chanting anti-ICTR and anti-UN slogans. The demonstrators called on the ICTR to reconsider the judgement. Leaders of civil society organisations and genocide survivors made speeches denouncing the ICTR, Bagambiki, Ntagerura and Imanishimwe. Demonstrations against the ICTR judgements on Friday also took place in Kigali-Rural province. Bagambiki was prefect of that province prior to being transferred to Cyangugu. He has been accused of responsibility in the 1992 killings of ethnic Tutsis in the Bugesera region of Kigali-Rural province. The judgements enraged the Rwandan government and genocide survivors. A communiqué from the ministry of justice on Thursday “categorically denounced” the decision to acquit Bagambiki and Ntagerura. It also called for a tougher sentence for Imanishimwe. The prosecutor of the ICTR has appealed against the judgements. This is only the second time that the ICTR has delivered an acquittal. The first and only other suspect to be acquitted was former mayor of Mabanza commune Ignace Bagilishema in 2001. The Rwandan government on that occasion accepted the decision of the ICTR.

Xinhuanet 29 Feb 2004 Rwanda ends 39-year state radio monopoly www.chinaview.cn The Ministry of Information and the National Press Council (NPC) in Rwanda Sunday launched a radiostation in capital Kigali that hit the airwaves to end a 39-year state radio monopoly. The radio's frequency is 90.2 FM and it is called "radio 10," said Nyagahene Eugene, the managing director. "The national press council cleared the radio, whose mast and studio are both based here in Kigali. It cost us more than 1.5 million US dollars," he said. He added that the radio would beam up to Gitarama in the east of capital Kigali, but there are plans to build masts all over thecountry because "our plans are to have a wide coverage." The radio will be a mouthpiece of people and it comes to complement the existing state owned radio, he said. Officiating at the ceremony, Information Minister Laurent Nkusisaid "the media is a fourth- making organ of the state. It must therefore work hand in hand with other stake holders to attain development." The minister promised other radio stations to hit the airwaves soon and encouraged more investors to invest in the media too. More that five private radios are said to have registered. The Rwandan government has for the last decade strived to shake off the bad image inherited from the misuse of the press freedom by some media houses in the 1994 genocide. The Radio Television Libre de Mille Collines (RTLM) and Kangura newspaper served as key for inciting the public during the 100-day mayhem.

BBC 1 Mar 2004 Rebuilding after Rwanda genocide It's ten years since the genocide in Rwanda when one million people were massacred. Since then, Irish aid agency Trocaire has been helping Rwandans rebuild their lives. Julian Fowler has just returned from Rwanda. In his first report for BBC News Online he hears from those who survived the massacres. Genocide survivor Therese and her Trocaire-sponsored counsellor Therese Mukandori survived the genocide. It would be easy to say she was one of the lucky ones. But many of those who lived have been left to cope alone. When Therese returned to her family home, she found a mass grave containing the bodies of her family - a sight that left her traumatised. "During the genocide I lost my parents, relatives, husband - I didn't have any more hope," she said. "After the war I thought how I could live life again in the future. I thought life was useless. I didn't love anybody. I didn't want anybody to approach me. "I hated each and everybody. I felt like I didn't have any more future. I didn't know where my life was going." Two Irish psychologists who visited Rwanda with Trocaire in the aftermath of the killings established a team of local trauma counsellors. They are based in schools and hospitals throughout the country. Ariete Mukanyonga provides counselling for survivors like Therese in Ruhengeri in the north of Rwanda. A 19-year-old student at the time of the genocide, she is also a survivor and has found that helping others has helped her to cope with her own memories. She told me how her uncle was murdered and his body cut up. "Sometimes when people tell me their story, I also get affected. Sometimes I have to go for further counselling as well, which means it's not easy," she said. Through her work, Ariete also meets prisoners who have admitted killing people during the genocide. Problems like poverty are inevitable, but what I know is I have hope my children will grow in a better Rwanda Therese To tell the truth, she says they must overcome the fear and shame of what they did. "The prisoners feel it is the right of the survivors to feel the pain," she said. Ariete feels that as well as helping her and those she talks to, counselling will build peace and reconciliation in Rwanda, allowing people to come to terms with how they and others feel. "I like counselling very much because of the way it has helped me. At this moment, I think it is the only way to solve the problems of Rwandan society," she said. Accounts of the well-planned and ruthlessly executed genocide are extremely harrowing. But the trauma councillors are helping people like Therese not only to come to terms with the past, but to face the difficulties of life in one of the poorest countries in the world, and even to look to the future with hope. Therese said: "I have hope for my future. Problems like poverty are inevitable, but what I know is I have hope my children will grow in a better Rwanda."

IRIN 1 Mar 2004 Rwanda: Five Sentenced to Death Over Killing of Genocide Survivor Nairobi A Rwandan court sentenced five people to death on Friday over the killing of a genocide survivor who was due to testify in the Gacaca justice system, Rwanda News Agency (RNA) reported. The five were found guilty of killing Charles Rutinduka on 26 November 2003 in Kaduha, in the southern province of Gikongoro. RNA reported that the five included Celestin Akimana, who initiated and pledged to pay US $380 for Rutinduka's murder. Akimana had been a coordinator in Jenda sector in Gikongoro, where the killing took place, and had a genocide dossier over which he feared Rutinduka would testify against him during Gacaca proceedings. The Gacaca system is based on a traditional communal justice where offenders are judged by elders at the village level. RNA reported that during the trial, the court acquitted two other suspects after the prosecution failed to provide sufficient evidence. Several genocide survivors were killed in Gikongoro in 2003, prompting protest from associations of genocide survivors and human rights NGOs and activists. [See "Genocide survivor group denounces killings, harassment" at http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=38445}

BBC 3 Mar 2004 Genocide killers cram jails There are an estimated 85,000 prisoners in Rwanda's overcrowded jails. Many have now confessed to their role in the 1994 genocide and could soon be released. In his second report for BBC News Online, Julian Fowler visited a prison where he spoke to some of those who have admitted their crimes. The dense crowds, the colourful clothes, the sound of talking and the smell of cooking - it could be a scene anywhere in Africa. But this isn't a market, it's a prison. Memories of the genocide remain fresh in Rwanda There are more than 4,000 prisoners in Gikongoro jail. The vast majority are accused of carrying out crimes during the genocide in 1994. Many have been in prison for the last 10 years. Among them is Emmanuel Nyirimbuga. He was dressed in prison uniform of pink shirt and pink shorts. He was of average height and average build. In 1994, he was 33-years-old and a cultivator. He told me he was responsible for killing nine Tutsis. A few miles from the prison is a school. But there's no sound of children. The classrooms at Murambi now contain the dead. Fifty thousand Tutsis and moderate Hutus were murdered after they sought refuge on this site. Eight hundred bodies have been left on public display, preserved in lime, so that no-one can deny what happened. Emmanuel was one of those who carried out this crime. "We encircled the people and then the soldiers entered with grenades and killed people there with guns," he said. A group of prisoners working in the fields "Personally I killed three other people - those who were trying to escape away from the killings inside." I asked him why he had taken part in the genocide. "The season of killing was not coming from the local people, it was coming from the then leaders who gave orders for the local people, the villagers, to take action, to kill," he said. "If you refused, you were also going to be killed. "We the ordinary people, we didn't have any problem among ourselves because we used to share everything, like we used to help one another in times of problems. "We used to get married, inter-marriage between the Tutsis and the Hutus. There was no problem among ourselves." During the genocide, neighbour killed neighbour and friend murdered friend - now those who have confessed could soon be released from prison. Many will return to live next to those who survived. Emmanuel is optimistic that he can live at peace in his community. Gacaca courts are a community-based alternative to crowded jails "I think there should be no problem between us and the people because it's not our own fault, it's the fault of the leaders that made us commit those crimes," he said. "For example, we often meet with the relatives of the people whom we killed and I don't see any problem between us and them." To help solve the problems of the overcrowded jails, Rwanda has turned to community justice. At gacaca courts held in each village, suspects are brought forward to be confronted directly by their accusers. This is one path towards truth and reconciliation. But the way ahead, as Emmanuel admits, won't be easy. "What happened doesn't only affect one person, it affects each and everybody in this country and even now, the consequences still exist for many people."

AP 3 Mar 2004 A decade after the genocide, Rwanda's horror brought to the big screen By ALEXANDRA ZAVIS The Associated Press 3/3/04 3:54 PM JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) -- Children scream. Smoke billows. A fighter holds a gun to a man's head and orders him to kill his cowering family. A decade after Rwanda's genocide, the horror of the 100-day slaughter the world did little to stop is being brought to the big screen through the tale of one man's courage in the face of unspeakable terror. "Hotel Rwanda," starring Don Cheadle and Nick Nolte, recounts the true story of hotelier Paul Rusesabagina, who sheltered more than 1,200 Tutsis from Hutu militias at the elite Hotel des Mille Collines. Among them were businessmen, politicians and other members of the Tutsi elite who were the prime targets of the Hutu fighters who shot, burned, drowned and hacked their victims to death with machetes. Estimates of the dead range from 500,000 to 1 million. Director Terry George calls the massacres that began on April 7, 1994, "one of the greatest collective shames of the rest of the world." Known for his films on the conflict in Northern Ireland, George had been looking for a project about Africa, a place of sweeping drama, raw emotion and visually arresting images he says is too often reduced in films to scenes of children chasing after exotic animals. He first came across Rusesabagina's story in a script by New York University film school graduate Kier Pearson. "It seemed to me it was the perfect story for what I do -- the personal, human story with a deeply political picture behind it," George says over a hasty lunch in the set's tent canteen. "As soon as I read the script, I decided I had to do it." He flew to Belgium to meet Rusesabagina and reworked the script. Convincing a studio to make the film and raising funds for the project was a challenge -- particularly coming after George's directorial debut, "Some Mother's Son," an award-winning movie on the 1980s hunger strikes in Northern Ireland. "You get the look of, 'Uh-oh, this lunatic's back,"' he said ruefully. At its heart, however, George says the film is a universal tale of good versus evil and the relationship between a man and his wife. "It is an amazing love story, and a story about the ability of the ordinary man to dig down into himself and find enormous courage and ability," he says. Cheadle, who starred in the Academy Award-winning "Traffic" and hit "Ocean's Eleven," jumped at the opportunity to play Rusesabagina. "So much of what I see as far as scripts go is dreck," he says. "There are usually two to three scripts a year I can get excited about -- and two of them will probably go to Will Smith." Sophie Okonedo, a British actress whose credits include "Dirty Pretty Things," plays his wife, Tatiana. Filming began in January and the MGM/UA production is set for release in the fall. It is one of three projects about the genocide in production this year, one of which is currently being filmed in Rwanda. While George collected some footage from there, his movie is mostly being shot in South Africa, where a growing film industry supplies experienced actors and crew members. Some 10,000 extras -- including refugees from Rwanda, Burundi and Congo now living in South Africa -- were hired to bring the epic to life. In an unusual step, George asked local directors to work with different groups to ensure there was as much going on in the background as the foreground. For some, the scenes they were asked to recreate were a painful reminder of the past. One woman broke down in tears on set. When Cheadle tried to comfort her, she showed him the machete scars on her back and legs. "I can't imagine being an extra in this movie if you have lived through it," Cheadle says between takes in the hotel lobby. "This is the world's failing -- from the Rwandans who participated in this massacre, to those who stood idly by hoping what was happening would not touch them, to the world body that had many opportunities along the way to end this and who did nothing." When the real Rusesabagina arrives on set, Cheadle greats him in the traditional Rwandan way -- clasping hands and gently tapping their heads together on each side. Rusesabagina has worked closely with cast and filmmakers to ensure authenticity. It has been a moving experience for him. "In 1994, we were condemned to death, and I was first on the list because I was the one protecting refugees," said Rusesabagina, a quiet, regal man in a mustard-colored suit. "When I see the film ... it wakens the old demons." By the end of June 1994, Rusesabagina was sheltering 1,268 terrified people at the hotel, on a hill overlooking the burning city. Improvised tents filled the grounds, and he rationed water from the swimming pool. Hutu soldiers regularly came by the hotel in the Rwandan capital of Kigali. But Rusesabagina used his influence as a prominent Hutu businessman -- whose wife and mother were nevertheless Tutsi -- to protect those sheltering there. "I never thought I was being brave," says Rusesabagina, who now lives in Belgium with his wife and four children. "I was just working as quickly as possible to avoid disaster."

IRIN 10 Mar 2004 Focus on the struggle for survival in child-headed households [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] BUGESERA , 10 Mar 2004 (IRIN) - Janine Umuhoza was seven years old in April 1994 when her parents were killed during the genocide in which hundreds of thousands of Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus died. On that fateful day, she bade the usual farewell to her parents before setting off to school. Later, Hutu militiamen marched onto their home compound and killed her mother, father and other members of the family. However, her two younger brothers and two sisters survived. But militiamen burned down their Kigali home and forced them to their father's village property in the Bugesera region of Kigali-Rural Province. As the eldest, and a lot sooner than she could have imagined, she became mother to her siblings in a country fraught with danger at the time. Now 17 years old, she still faces the challenges of providing food and basic necessities for the family. "Each day presents us with difficulties," she said forcing back her tears, "It is too big a burden for me." In today's Rwanda there are at least 100,000 children like Umuhoza heading some 30,000 households, according to UN Children's Fund (UNICEF). Ten years after the genocide, there are households where the age of the oldest child is 15 years and there may be up to five children per household. Parents had either been lost to the genocide, to HIV/AIDS or been imprisoned for genocide related crimes. The challenges are enormous for these households where the head has to provide food, medication and provide siblings with education. For Bugesera's children the conditions are worsened by nearly two years of drought in this part of the country. In addition to the food scarcity, clean water is unavailable. The nearest source of any water, which is normally drawn from nearby swamps, is now almost a 90-minute walk from their homes. Each child participates in fetching water, cooking and cleaning. Jane Muhongayire of the Bamporeze Association, an organisation that helps to mobilise resources for the children, said at least one child in each household had to sacrifice their own education for the other siblings because it was difficult to combine parenthood and school attendance. Such are the difficulties for the heads of these household that some have resorted to begging and prostitution to provide for their families. Exploitation The absence of an adult in the family has exposed the children to exploitation by relatives or neighbours. They often provide cheap labour, running errands, fetching water, carrying goods or working in neighbours' gardens. "These children are easily marginalised when it comes to allocation of resources in society because they lack the adult voice to speak for them," Jose Bergua, a UNICEF child protection officer, said. He said children were also victims of property theft by their neigbours or extended families. Most children lack property ownership papers and are unaware of legal provisions, at their disposal, to get redress. Children in Bugesera told IRIN they had fewer guarantees over land rights and other ownership than adult-headed households. Assistance Umuhoza has received a goat and chicken from the Bamporeze Association. While the goat is yet to be sold, Umuhoza sells eggs and chicks to buy household items. She also plans to sell the goat as soon as it reaches maturity so that she can buys two kids. Facilitated by UNICEF, the Bamporeze Association operates in one of the country's 12 provinces. It provides a handful of children school materials, and to others psychosocial care and income generating activities. It also provides a small number of children training in trades such as carpentry, metal welding and soap making. "We try to make them feel part of the world and not isolated. But even then, some of their needs cannot be entirely met," Jane Muhongayire, a member of the Bamporeze Association, said. A recently adopted national policy for orphans and other vulnerable children recommends that a system of community-based care and protection for child-headed households must be set up to ensure their security from abuse and their access to heritage. Such protection is even more important now, given that the number of child-headed households is likely to increase because of the high rate of HIV infections in the country’s adult population.

Reuters 17 Mar 2004 France accused over Tutsi genocide President Paul Kagame of Rwanda has accused France of being "directly" involved in the 1994 genocide. He claimed France provided weapons and training to those who carried out the 100-day slaughter, in which some 800,000 Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus were killed by Hutu extremists. "They [the French] knew about it. They supported it. They provided weapons, they gave orders and instructions to those who carried out the genocide," Mr Kagame told Radio France International yesterday. "They also took part in the operations directly: at checkpoints on roads to identify people according to their ethnic background, by punishing the Tutsis and showing favouritism to the Hutus." French embassy officials in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, were not immediately available for comment. The Paris newspaper Le Monde recently published reports blaming Mr Kagame for ordering the shooting down of a plane carrying the then president, Juvénal Habyarimana. The reports were based on a six-year inquiry by a French judge. Mr Kagame, on a visit to Belgium last week, said France was trying to distract from Rwanda's planned memorial services on the anniversary of the genocide. He headed the Tutsi-led force which ousted the French-backed Hutu regime responsible for the killings.

East African (Nairobi) 29 Mar 2004 Genocide Confession Deadline Extended T By Arthur Asiimwe Nairobi AS RWANDA prepares to commemorate the anniversary of the 1994 genocide, more than a quarter of the 90,000 prisoners held in detention camps have confessed to playing key roles in the massacres of 1994. Due to the success of the confession campaign, the government has extended the confession deadline to enable more prisoners to come out openly and say what role they played, officials of the Ministry of Justice said. According to Hannington Tayebwa, Head of Judicial Services in the Ministry of Justice, up to 32,385 prisoners have so far confessed since the last wave of releases in January last year. Rwandan authorities had given detainees a deadline of March 15 for confessions but the date has been pushed forward by another year according to a Cabinet decision announced last week. "The confessions have been massive because of the lenient sentences accorded to those who confess," said Mr Tayebwa. "This will be a positive step in the effort of finding out the truth about the genocide and particularly reconciling those who participated and those who lost relatives." Those who have confessed and have been in prison longer than the sentences they face will be provisionally freed in the coming months, along with elderly and those with severe ailments. In addition to reducing overcrowding in prisons, the confessions will also help in easing the workload of prosecutors both in Rwanda's national courts and at the United Nations Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), sitting in Arusha, Tanzania. However, critics say that the prisoners are at times obliged to confess in order to receive lesser punishments. In February last year, close to 25,000 prisoners who had pleaded guilty of genocide were provisionally released from detention centres following a presidential decree. Since September 1996, a total of 60,238 prisoners have voluntarily confessed to playing a role in the 1994 killings, whose impact was far reaching, destabilising neighbouring countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Burundi. The Rwanda government puts the number of detainees related to genocide at 90,000. It was announced in early March that more than 4,500 common law prisoners would be freed, probably this week. The release plan comes as Rwanda prepares to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 1994 genocide on April 7. Up to 10 heads of state and government are expected to attend the ceremony. A committee set up to co-ordinate the event said it was looking for remains of people who were not buried so that they were given decent burials. After their release, the prisoners are to be sent to "solidarity camps" for one or two months. The camps are aimed at "re-educating" former fighters and genocide suspects and informing them of the changes in Rwanda since 1994.

Sierra Leone

IPS 11 Mar 2004 RIGHTS-SIERRA LEONE: 'Putting People on Trial May Ignite Fresh Conflict' Lansana Fofana FREETOWN, Mar 11 (IPS) - Sierra Leone's war crimes court has opened in the capital Freetown to try persons who bear the greatest responsibility for the atrocities committed during the country's 1991-1999 conflict. Sierra Leone's civil war was characterised by horror and brutality. Thousands of civilians were maimed or killed and about a quarter of the country's 4.5 million people displaced. A peace deal signed between the belligerents in July 1999 brought the conflict to an end, and the process of national rehabilitation and reconciliation underway. The court, whose mandate expires in 2005, came about as a result of an agreement signed in the summer of 2000, between the government of the West African state and the United Nations. ”This court is a symbol of the rule of law and essential element in the pursuit of peace, justice and national reconciliation in this country,” said President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah of Sierra Leone, at Wednesday's official opening of the war crimes court. He said his administration was fully committed to the success of the court. ”My government will continue to co-operate with its organs at all stages of the proceedings,” Kabbah added. Geoffery Robertson, the court's president, said: ”The court is the most recent legacy of the Nuremberg ideal that crimes against humanity require prosecution and punishment.” Nuremberg is a city in Germany where German war criminals were put on trial at the end of WWII. ”Those who command genocide or mass mutilation of civilians or sexual enslavement of children cannot be forgiven or left to the delayed judgement of history or of God,” said Robertson, a British-born judge. The opening ceremony was attended by pomp and pageantry. Dignitaries, including the UN's legal adviser Hans Currell, who represented Secretary General Kofi Annan, the registrars of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the Hague Tribunal, foreign diplomats and civil society groups, were all in attendance. There was heavy presence of security forces from the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) and the Sierra Leonean Police. All the major roads leading to the New England Ville in the west of town where the court is located were barricaded. At the ceremony, speaker after speaker poured accolades on the work of the court and pledged their support for its success. So far nine militia leaders and commanders are in the custody of the court awaiting trial for various crimes including violations of international humanitarian laws. Among them is the former leader of the pro-government militia, known as ”Kamajors”, Sam Hinga Norman who helped defeat the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels. Issa Sesay, the RUF's interim leader prior to the decommissioning of combatants that marked the end of the war, is also awaiting trial. Norman, a former cabinet minister, is proving to be a hot potato for both the Special Court and the ruling government. While the opening ceremony was taking place, some of his supporters were demonstrating 150 metres away from the court premises demanding his immediate release. Norman's daughter Juliet told IPS at the scene of the protests ”my dad fought for the restoration of democracy and so it confounds me that he is today a sacrificial lamb. His indictment, to me, is grossly unfair.” At least five of the protestors were arrested by the police and taken in for questioning. Also controversial was the position of the court's President Robertson. The defence team is asking for his removal on grounds that he had published a book casting aspersions on the RUF. Some of the RUF leaders are in detention. Another inductee, former Liberian President Charles Taylor, who is seeking sanctuary in Nigeria, also featured in the book. Taylor, like the former Sierra Leonean junta leader Johnny Paul Koroma, wanted by the court, remains at large. RUF leader Foday Sankoh and his Field Commander Sam ”Mosquito” Bockarie are dead. For this, many say the court has missed its principal suspects. ”What's the use of the Special Court when the alleged key perpetrators are either dead or are fleeing from justice,” wonders Adama Bangura, a civil servant in Freetown. ”They may well scrap the court and use its funds to rehabilitate the multitude of war victims.” Some people fear the court might become a new flashpoint for renewed hostilities. ”Our war has ended and every factional fighter disarmed. Putting people on trial at this stage may ignite fresh conflict,” says Abraham Conteh, a 46-year old father of three. ”My house was burnt and three of my relatives killed. I fear that this court may not end well.” Jonathan Davies, who lost an arm through the vicious amputations by the rebels, says ”we must put the past behind us. This is no time for score-settling or trials. We must forgive and reconcile.” But Hassan Turay, a lawyer in Freetown, told IPS: ”The court is vital because it will help curb impunity in the country.” .


Somali Peace Rally (Galkaio City) PRESS RELEASE March 9, 2004 Bring the Somali Warlords to Justice The Somali people had their hopes rekindled upon hearing the establishment of the International War Tribunal. They followed with interest the establishment of Special War Crimes Courts for former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. They are also aware of the efforts being made to create special courts for Sierra Leone and Cambodia. Yet, the Somalis are asking themselves why the perpetrators of genocide and war crimes in Somalia are not held accountable for the heinous crimes they have committed against humanity? Why Somalia does not get the attention it deserves? Trigger-happy warmongers have brutally massacred hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians mainly women, children and elderly people for no other reason but for their tribal affiliations. They forced more than a million into exile, wiped out entire communities, plundered the resources of the country, committed rape, torture, kidnapping and indiscriminate bombardment of densely populated urban areas. On top of that, no setting down of the silent slaughter is in view either. Furthermore, it is tragic that some countries recognize the perpetrators of these barbaric crimes as legitimate leaders, and thereby supply them with money, arms and ammunitions. It is more tragic and frightening that the same warlords are recycled to form the future government of Somalia. The Somali Peace Rally earnestly appeals to the conscience of the civilized world in general and in particular to the Security Council of the United Nations to establish a special war crimes court for Somalia to try the Somali warlords who committed crimes against humanity. We urge the United Nations to condemn in the strongest words possible any country or organization that recognizes, or gives any form of support to the warlords and to ensure the implementation of the arms embargo to Somalia. We request the Secretary General of the United Nations H.E. Kofi Anan to send legal experts to Somalia to investigate and report on the heinous crimes committed by the warlords against the Somali people. We also appeal to the international community to curb the movements of the warlords by preventing them from having access to Visas and to freeze all their ill-gotten assets. Finally, we appeal to the international community not to leave Somalia to the pernicious grasp of the ruthless gangs and warlords and to bring the Somali warlords to justice.

South Africa

Independent Online 8 Mar 2004 www.iol.co.za Mbeki awed by first phase of Freedom Park The first phase of the R560-million Freedom Park memorial site in Pretoria was handed over to the government on Monday. The phase, completed at a cost of R45-million, involved the design and construction of a garden of remembrance for the country's departed freedom fighters. President Thabo Mbeki joined traditional leaders on Monday in consecrating the garden with the traditional casting away of evil spirits. Freedom Park, expected to be completed by 2007, is being erected on 52 hectares of Salvokop. 'It's a public consecration of certain events' Mbeki told about 500 invited guests the garden would not be a place of grief and mourning but of celebration. Quoting Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem, Adonais, Mbeki said: "He has outsoared the shadow of our night; envy and calumny and hate and pain and that unrest which men call delight, can touch him not and torture him not again." Mbeki said the garden, with its focus being the contemplative space, would be a place for all to meditate on what had been achieved in South Africa. The completed park would also boast an interactive museum, a memorial, a traditional mashate (where politicians can entertain guests) and an office block. Boulders, sand and trees from all nine provinces as well as neighbouring Botswana, Mozambique, Angola, Lesotho and Swaziland, have been donated to add symbolism to the park. Freedom Park was the outcome of recommendations by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to preserve the memory of victims of eight historic South African conflicts genocide, slavery, the pre-colonial wars, the wars of resistance, the struggle for liberation, the Anglo Boer War and the fist and second world wars. 'It's a cleansing and healing process' The park was set to become an important tourist attraction with plans in the pipeline for a railway station near the entrance. Freedom Park Trust head Wally Serote said the express underground Gautrain, once completed, would run underneath the memorial, so it made sense to create a station nearby. The handing-over ceremony coincided with International Women's Day. Deputy Arts and Culture Minister Buyelwa Sonjica said the park would serve as a canvas to highlight the role women played in the anti-apartheid struggle. "It's a public consecration of certain events. It's a cleansing and healing process," she said. Gender Commission chairwoman Joyce Seroke said women's rights were at the core of South Africa's struggle for democracy and Monday's presentation was an opportune occasion to celebrate its heroes. "There is no doubt that the 30 percent of women who make up the South African parliament have led to a great improvement," she said. With an encompassing view of the Union Buildings, Church Square, Voortrekker Monument and other historic sights, the project has been designed to "help heal the wounds and pains brought on by the past". - Sapa


IRIN 27 Feb 2004 New mediation efforts for Darfur NAIROBI, 27 February (IRIN) - The government of Sudan may be willing to accept new mediation efforts to resolve the Darfur conflict in the west of the country, according to Sa'id Khatib, the official government spokesman. "There are initiatives that the government is examining and talking [about] with the initiators," Khatib told IRIN. He said both the EU and the US had come forward, and that a new mediation was a possibility. No comment was available from the EU, but a senior official of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) confirmed on Thursday that a US initiative had been attempting to bring the rebels and the government together. Roger Winter, USAID assistant director, said he had spoken to five key rebel leaders from Darfur to ascertain if they would attend a conference aiming at a cease-fire. "They all say yes. We have asked the government over the last two weeks if they would participate in such an event - as of now we have no affirmative answer that they would participate," he said. Khatib told IRIN that the Chadian government would be incorporated into a new initiative because of its close ties with Sudan and earlier mediation efforts. "We don't want to stand up the Chadians, because they were the first to offer. Their presence is very important," he said. Chad mediated talks between the government and the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) which led to a nominal ceasefire from September to December, but then broke down indefinitely amid mutual recriminations. Both the SLA and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) have repeatedly said the presence of international mediators is a precondition to further talks. Regional analysts told IRIN that a number of parallel mediation initiatives for the Darfur conflict were ongoing, but that there was no agreement on details such as the venue, and that no progress was in sight. Meanwhile, the rebels are reportedly becoming increasingly frustrated, and spreading their area of influence into regions beyond Darfur. Humanitarian sources have reported ambushes in Western Kordofan in recent days, while Reuters news agency reported an SLA attack on Tuesday in El Obeid (Al-Ubayyid), the capital of Northern Kordofan. An SLA spokesman, Hasan Ibrahim, told IRIN he had no information about the El Obeid attack, but said the SLA did have forces in Kordofan, which "can be used at any time". "If the government is not ready to sit for negotiations, we will be active everywhere in Sudan," he said. A spokesman for the JEM, Abu Bakr Hamid al-Nur, told IRIN that its forces were also active in Western Kordofan, and were moving towards the capital, Khartoum. "We will fight government troops anywhere." He said JEM was actively recruiting in Kordofan and that many individuals were coming forward. "We will merge with any organisation in the marginalised areas." Observers are concerned that Darfur's two rebel groups may forge alliances with dissident groups in Kordofan and other areas, having already forged an alliance with the Beja Congress armed movement in eastern Sudan. In mid February the SLA also joined the National Democratic Alliance, an umbrella of opposition and armed groups with headquarters in Asmara. Earlier this month, the Sudanese government claimed that the war in Darfur was over, offered an amnesty to rebels in the region and guaranteed humanitarian access to agencies. A peace conference in Khartoum is being organised for March, which the rebels say they will not attend. Meanwhile, there are repeated reports of continuing attacks on civilians by government-aligned forces in Darfur. Winter said on Thursday that "despite the comments of President Bashir and the [Khartoum] government generally, the war is still raging there [in Darfur]. And it is still the case that government-connected militias are attacking the African populations of the Darfur area." "What feeds into the ethnic cleansing scenario is that the government does not seem to be interested in protecting the Darfur people against the raids... It seems that no real steps are being taken by the government to stop the uprooting and attacking of these civilian populations," he added. The EU said on Thursday it was "alarmed at reports that Janjawid militias continue to systematically target villages and centres for IDPs [internally displaced persons] in their attacks". Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said this week that every assessment it was conducting revealed newly displaced people. Humanitarian access in Darfur has improved since last month, with between 25 percent and 30 percent of the region's 700,000 IDPs now accessible, up from 15 percent in January. A further 110,000 have fled to eastern Chad, where the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has begun moving them to camps further inland to escape cross-border raids and give them access to water, shelter and food.

AP 28 Feb 2004 Sudanese rebels say at least 70 civilians killed in government raid By Matthew Rosenberg ASSOCIATED PRESS 6:19 a.m. February 28, 2004 NAIROBI, Kenya – Sudanese government forces launched a series of raids on western villages, killing at least 70 civilians and forcing tens of thousands to flee, a rebel spokesman said Saturday. The attacks began shortly before noon Friday, when about 300 militia fighters assaulted Tarne, a village 930 miles west of the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, Hassan Mandela, a spokesman for the Sudanese Liberation Movement, told The Associated Press. Homes were burned, resisters were shot and thousands forced to flee, he said. Over the next few hours, the militia sacked five other nearby villages, Mandela said in a telephone interview from western Sudan. At least 70 people were killed in the attacks and more than 50,000 forced to flee to safer areas, he said. It was not possible to independently verify the information. Sudanese Humanitarian Affairs Minister Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid said he was "not aware" of any raids. Mandela said there were no rebels in the villages, which are in a part of the western Darfur region controlled by the government. But the residents of the villages were largely black African Muslims, the ethnic group from which the rebels draw the bulk of their fighters, he said. The government-backed militiamen were mostly Sudanese Arabs. Both the United Nations and Amnesty International, a London-based human rights groups, have accused government forces of targeting civilians in Darfur. Amnesty has said the rebels were also involved in attacks on civilians. Fighting between two rebel groups – the Sudanese Liberation Movement and the Justice and Equality Movement – the army, and government-backed militia, has forced more than 600,000 people to flee their homes in Darfur and killed hundreds, aid agencies estimate. On Feb. 9, Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir said the military was "in full control" of the Darfur, a dirt-poor region bordering Chad, and offered amnesty to surrendering rebels. But the rebels rejected el-Bashir's offer and said they were still fighting. The insurgency began last February and has intensified as peace talks between the government and southern rebels fighting a 21-year-long civil war have inched toward their conclusion. Those talks, staged in Kenya, resumed nearly two weeks ago.

BBC 2 Mar 2004 UN warns of 'atrocities' in Sudan By Grant Ferret BBC correspondent in Farchana refugee camp, Chad The war in Sudan has created a huge refugee problem The head of the UN refugee agency, Ruud Lubbers, says atrocities are being committed in the western Sudanese region of Darfur. Mr Lubbers was speaking during a visit to a refugee camp in Chad which has become home to some of the 130,000 Sudanese who fled their homes over the past year. In sweltering heat, the 2,000 people at Farchana refugee camp greeted Mr Lubbers with a rousing chorus of "Down, down, Al-Bashir!" - a reference to the Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir. They believe the government of Sudan supports the militia which has killed their relatives, looted their belongings and destroyed their homes. They are unanimous in their approval of the camp, which is well away from the Sudanese border, an area which is subject to daily raids by the militia. Violence continues In spite of the denials by the government of Sudan that the violence is still going on in Darfur, Mr Lubbers was in no doubt. "In a way, it's strange because it's peace here - you don't hear the noises of fighting - but there in Darfur just to the other side of the border, where we hear about more and more incidents," he said. "The violence is not over - it's continuing. This is not peace - this is atrocities." The head of the UNHCR said any peace agreement between the Sudanese Government and rebels in the south of the country should not be made at the expense of the people of Darfur in the west. But there is no sign that the region will be included in any peace deal, and for now, the number of refugees crossing into Chad continues to grow by the day. Unless the UN can move more of them further away from the border, the vast majority will continue to live in fear of further attacks by the Sudanese militia.

IRIN 3 Mar 2004 One Million At "Imminent Risk" in Darfur, Says US Government UN Integrated Regional Information Networks NEWS March 3, 2004 Posted to the web March 3, 2004 Nairobi One million people are "at imminent risk of life and livelihood" in Sudan's western region of Darfur, due a lack of civil order and the "refusal of local and national authorities to permit unrestricted access for humanitarian workers", according to the US government. A statement released on Tuesday said the US viewed the deepening humanitarian crisis in Darfur with grave concern. Particularly threatening were the actions of the "government-supported militias, known as the Janjawid, who continue to attack and burn undefended villages, murdering and raping the inhabitants and forcing survivors into desperate flight to garrison towns" or neighbouring Chad, it said. An estimated 110,000 refugees have crossed the Chadian border since last June, while about 700,000 have been displaced by Arab militia attacks and government bombing campaigns within the Darfur region. The government has said the attacks are part of its strategy to "crush" two rebel groups operating in Darfur, but observers say the attacks are deliberately targeting civilians from the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawah communities, thereby clearing vast areas of land for Arab nomads. A growing number of voices are referring to the strategy as ethnic cleansing. The US government had offered to facilitate talks specifically aimed at resolving the issue of providing humanitarian aid, it said in a statement. It stood by the offer but the government of Sudan had yet to respond, it added. Humanitarian access to Darfur has improved slightly in recent weeks, with up to 30 percent of the region's 700,000 displaced now accessible, up from 15 percent in January. Last month, the Sudanese government claimed that the war in Darfur was over, saying it had defeated the region's two rebel groups, the Sudan Liberation Movement and the Justice and Equality Movement. Both groups rejected the claim and launched an immediate offensive. Meanwhile, there are daily reports of militias attacking civilians with impunity and also stealing much-needed aid provided by the UN and other agencies. The elders of one village in northern Darfur were so scared of militia attacks that they asked UN staff not to deliver aid to them as it would increase their chances of being targeted for looting and harassment. Locals have also reported to UN staff that they feel like "prisoners" in their own villages, because of the systematic abuse they are subjected to by Arab nomads, who take over their land to accommodate their camels and cattle. There have also been reports of hostage taking, with villagers having to ransom civilians to obtain their release from unlawful custody, and having to pay bribes to gain access to their own farmland. In Kabkabiyah, northern Darfur, 60 percent of farmers have reportedly lost their crops, and as a result not managed to keep sufficient seed supplies for the next planting seasons, the UN reported this week. Livestock have also been killed and irrigation systems and orchards destroyed, with production set to decrease by 60 percent. The US has appealed to the Sudanese government and opposition leaders to ensure the safety and unhindered movement of relief workers and commodities into the area; immediately enter into negotiations to bring about a humanitarian ceasefire; and to act "decisively and transparently" to disarm and bring under responsible authority all irregular forces, particularly the Janjawid, it said. In a separate development, the UN refugee agency chief Ruud Lubbers is currently visiting the refugees in Chad. So far, problems finding suitable sites with access to water have meant that only 7,700 of the refugees have been relocated from the insecure and extremely arid border region - where they are frequently attacked by militias - to three inland camps at Farchana, Touloum and Kounoungo.

Center for the Prevention of Genocide 5 Mar 2004 www.genocideprevention.org Unconfirmed Reports: Thousands of Janjaweed/Sudanese Military Preparing to Attack Villages near Nyala DARFUR, SUDAN – Multiple sources have reported that thousands of Janjaweed militia and Sudanese military forces have gathered to attack the two villages of Ama Sara and Guffat Jemed, approximately 14 kilometers outside of Nyala. In the shadow of the Sudanese peace talks between the North and South, violence in Western Sudan has escalated dramatically. Indigenous African villages have been increasingly targeted in brutal campaigns of looting, burning, rape, abduction, and massacre by Arab militias. Despite Sudanese government claims denying involvement, reports on the provision of weapons and food to the Janjaweed combined with military operations using tanks and aircraft clearly indicate government complicity. In recent weeks alone, violence has decimated several Darfurian villages including those of Shatie, Tawila, and Darnie. On February 20, Shatie and seven surrounding villages were attacked and burned resulting in approximately 242 dead and 300 injured. On the 24th of February, an estimated 107 were massacred in the village of Tawila, 85 kilometers south of Al Fasher. This week the village of Darnie was burned and destroyed and 47 were killed on March 1st.

On The Media (New York Public Radio) 5 Mar 2004 www.wnyc.org/onthemedia The G-Word Shuffle A humanitarian disaster is brewing in a remote western region of Sudan. Armed conflict has driven one million refugees from their homes, and survivors are telling stories of burned villages and ethnically motivated killings. Media coverage of the crisis has been scanty in the U.S., but some observers don't think it's too soon to talk about genocide. Bob talks to Samantha Power, author of A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide. Transcript: BROOKE GLADSTONE: This is On the Media. I'm Brooke Gladstone. BOB GARFIELD: And I'm Bob Garfield. In the northern African nation of Sudan is gathering yet another contemporary humanitarian disaster. Just as a reported peace agreement brokered by the Bush administration seemed to promise an end to a 20 year north-south civil war, armed conflict erupted in the remote western region of Darfur. As many as a million citizens have fled their homes, and more than a hundred thousand refugees have spilled across the border into neighboring Chad. Survivors tell stories of looting and burning of villages, racially-motivated killings, and rapes. U.S. coverage of Darfur has been limited, but in recent weeks, some scattered alarms are sounding. A February 25th op-ed in the Washington Post called the conflict in Darfur "the un-noticed genocide." But in a National Public Radio interview last Saturday, Refugees International's Ken Bacon sidestepped labeling the conflict. KEN BACON: I, I hate to dodge this, but I think it's probably too early to tell whether there's actual genocide taking place. Access is very limited. There's been very little press coverage. The government won't let people in, plus it's very insecure. There have been allegations, but we won't know until we can get human rights investigators in there. BOB GARFIELD: Joining me now is Samantha Power, a former Balkan war correspondent and Pulitzer prizewinning author of A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide. Samantha, welcome to the show. SAMANTHA POWER: Thank you. BOB GARFIELD: Explain for us, please, who the principal victims seem to be and who seems to be responsible. SAMANTHA POWER: I think most of us who have thought about Sudan over the course of the last two decades have thought about the conflict, indeed even the potential genocide there, as being one in which the Muslim government, the National Islamic Front government has taken aim at Christians in the South, and that is where a major peace process has actually taken hold between those two entities. But what you have in Darfur, which has, has confused people, because it doesn't fit the mold of what we understand the ethnic conflict in Sudan to be about, is actually Muslim on Muslim violence. It is ethnically-motivated violence, it seems. It's Arab Muslims who have been armed and trained by the Sudanese government in Khartoum, taking aim at African Muslims who occupy land that I think the Khartoum government would very much like to see in Arab hands. Right now you have about 700,000 African Muslims within Sudan who have been displaced and who are living in horrific conditions, by all accounts. You have another hundred thousand that have made it over the border into Chad. They describe taunts by the militia members in which the threat of extermination is issued. They describe promises on the part, again, of these Arab Muslims that all of the Africans will be, you know, taken out of, of Sudan by the time the campaign is over. So there are very worrying signs about a larger, fairly systematic campaign aimed at the destruction of this African Muslim group. BOB GARFIELD: Which would suggest that what is afoot now is ethnic cleansing. Nobody seems to have said it aloud, but if it looks like a duck and it quacks like a duck -- and yet, still hemming and hawing. Why is it happening this way? SAMANTHA POWER: Well I don't know how much hemming hawing there is really around the phrase ethnic cleansing. I think where we start to get the dance, the what I call the "G-word shuffle" is around the language of genocide. The nervousness comes from a few places. First of all, it's actually just genuinely hard to get in and to confirm with one's own eyes, so one gets nervous about invoking language, inflammatory language. But that is its own red flag. One of the things that people who are intent on committing genocide do first and foremost is they keep outsiders out. The second reason there's a nervousness about using it, especially on the part of aid agencies and I think on the part of journalists and editorial writers is this fear of crying wolf. There is, you know, a stigma associated with the word genocide that one could imagine retaining only if you use it very selectively. The third reason that people are hesitant is that there's of course major confusion about what genocide is, and you know, whether it requires outright extermination of an ethnic, national or religious group. So I think a lot of people just shy from using the word, because they want to leave it to the lawyers after the fact to determine it. BOB GARFIELD: I want to ask you about the press's role in, in understanding how these conflicts are viewed outside of where they're taking place. SAMANTHA POWER: One of the problems with, I think, the way we in the press tend to cover conflict is we have traditionally allowed our priorities to be set by policymakers who, of course, are not going to go out of their way to draw attention to conflicts that they may not want to do anything about. In this instance, this Khartoum government's killing and ethnic cleansing of these African Sudanese Muslims is very, very inconvenient. It comes at a time when Washington, it seems, is on the verge of having secured a, a peace agreement between Khartoum and the Christian south that would have been a real feather in the cap of this administration. This is not a place that the Bush administration wants to draw attention to right now, and thus the initiative for bringing this up really has to come in Washington from the people in the press corps to put the administration in a position where it has to respond, where it has to send fact-finders out. And so I think that's one function that the press performs -- is an agenda-setting function in Washington. But the second function, of course, is to get there and to bring not merely secondhand reports but firsthand encounters with people who have experienced these atrocities. The worst thing we in the press can do at a time like this is to accept government assurances, you know, that the violence has ceased and that access can't be granted for our own safety and security, you know, because of lingering rebel forces. That's usually, again, a, a clear signal that there are tidying operations being conducted out of our line of vision. But I think as we look back on our record in the 1990s, we as a profession can be relatively pleased with our staying power when it came to the conflict and the crisis in the former Yugoslavia and quite embarrassed, actually, about how we covered the Rwanda genocide. BOB GARFIELD: In your book you observe that, I'm gonna quote you here, "During the conflict in Bosnia, U.S. officials had tried to convince journalists that the conflict was the product of ancient tribal hatreds," and in Rwanda you say that reporters in the field, quote, "adopted this frame on their own." And now Amnesty International's report on Sudan suggests that the Sudanese government is characterizing the violence as tribal, telling the outside world I guess oh, don't, don't bother yourself with this - this is the - these are just Sudanese doing what Sudanese do. Will the media once again be suckers for that argument? SAMANTHA POWER: Well, one hopes not. It became such a standard alibi -- you know, the title of my book is A Problem from Hell, and that was Warren Christopher's characterization of the violence in Bosnia. It was a problem from hell. You know, we'll never make these people like one another. They've been killing one another for centuries. Well, there may well have been incidents of ethnic killing and conflict over the centuries, but it has been a kind of time-tested and quite successful alibi used both by perpetrators and by bystanders. BOB GARFIELD: All right. Well, Samantha, thanks very much. SAMANTHA POWER: Thank you. BOB GARFIELD: Samantha Power is a professor at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and author of A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide.

HRW 9 Mar 2004 Sudan: Rights Defenders in Darfur Detained (New York, March 9, 2004) — The Sudanese government has arbitrarily detained two human rights activists, apparently for their work in the war-torn region of Darfur in western Sudan, Human Rights Watch said today. Both are feared to be at risk of inhumane treatment, miscarriage of justice and possible execution. Dr. Mudawi Ibrahim Adam, the head of a voluntary organization that provides humanitarian assistance and human rights training, was arrested on December 28 and has been charged with a variety of capital offenses against the state. Saleh Mahmud Osman, a human rights lawyer, was arrested on February 1, 2004 and has been held without charge. “For the past year, the Sudanese government and its militias have waged war on the people of Darfur,” said Jemera Rone, Sudan researcher for Human Rights Watch. “Now the government is persecuting those who are trying to protect these voiceless victims.” Since early last year, the Sudanese army and government-backed Arab nomadic militias known as janjaweed have embarked on a destructive campaign to rid Darfur of the rebel groups, the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), and their civilian supporters. These two Darfur-based rebel groups were formed in the last fourteen months following increasing government-sponsored attacks on the African Fur, Zaghawa, and Masaalit communities in north and west Darfur. The government-led campaign has led to an estimated 3,000 civilian deaths, the widespread devastation of the farming areas of the region, and the destruction of the local economy. Government-backed militias have attacked, looted and burned villages while the government has bombed civilian targets and forbidden or severely restricted humanitarian access to the population at risk in Darfur. Mudawi, director of the Sudan Social Development Organization (SUDO), had just returned from a humanitarian mission to Darfur, where he distributed aid to internally displaced persons. He was arrested by security forces in Khartoum and is detained in Kober prison, Khartoum, where he has been allowed to see his wife and lawyer in the presence of police. Shortly after his arrest, he went on a two-day hunger strike, demanding to be charged or released. On February 8 he was charged with waging war against the state, provoking hatred among religious sects, spying, releasing secret information, revealing military information and establishing a criminal organization. Some of these charges carry the death penalty. Saleh Mahmud, a human rights lawyer, works in Nyala, South Darfur, providing free legal assistance to persons accused or convicted of crimes without fair trial, and in many instances without counsel at the summary trial proceedings. He is a member of the lawyers’ network of the Sudan Organization Against Torture (SOAT), and many of his clients face severe punishments, such as the death penalty or cross amputation—amputation of the right foot and the left hand, or vice versa. He was arrested in Wad Medani, Gezira state in eastern Sudan, by security forces on February 1, and transferred to Khartoum two days later. He is currently being held in Kober prison and he has not been charged with a crime. Sudan has a record of arresting and harassing human rights defenders, and of torturing persons suspected of sympathizing with armed rebels, including in the Darfur region. Incommunicado detention in particular raises the danger of torture, and Human Rights Watch urges that all detainees be given access to private visits from family and legal counsel. Human Rights Watch urges the Sudanese government to release Saleh Mahmud from detention or promptly charge him with a crime. The government should also promptly provide Dr. Mudawi with a fair hearing—in which he is represented by his counsel—to determine whether there is any merit to the charges against him, and to abstain from seeking the death penalty should the case against him proceed. The death penalty is a form of punishment unique in its cruelty and finality. The intrinsic fallibility of criminal justice systems assures that even when fair trial rights are respected, innocent persons may be executed.

IRIN 10 Mar 2004 Militias ravage Darfur in gangs of hundreds NAIROBI, 10 March (IRIN) - A total breakdown of law and order is reported in Darfur, western Sudan, as militias roam the region in gangs of hundreds, attacking one village after another. The entire Jabal Si area, previously home to about 70,000 people living in over 119 villages, had been cleared of civilians, the UN said following an assessment. Many of the displaced, over 90 percent of whom are women and children, have fled to Kabkabiyah town in Northern Darfur. All along the road between Tawilah and Kabkabiyah, aid workers had observed "nothing but burned and abandoned villages" and a large number of abandoned donkeys roaming around water points, it said. Some civilians, living in a state of constant terror, had resorted to paying the Janjawid militias not to attack them. In Birkat Saira, a village about 75 km from Kabkabiyah, residents have paid the militias about US $7,000 since August, according to the deputy community leader there, who keeps the accounts. Two residents said they had individually paid $326 and $96 to the Janjawid. Others are paying the Janjawid to allow them to farm their own land, or to return to their home villages. UN staff observed over 100 armed Janjawid on camels and horses outside Kabkabiyah town. In Nyala, Southern Darfur, several hundred government-aligned militiamen were reportedly recruited by the army last week, an eyewitness told IRIN. Two uniformed men, who described themselves as members of the Popular Defence Forces (PDF) - paramilitary units used by the Sudanese government - told the eyewitness that they were new recruits waiting to be given arms. They, along with scores of others, camped in the town close to a military base for three or four days last week and then left. The distinction between the army, PDF and Janjawid militias, all accused of committing atrocities against civilians, is at times blurred as the different groups often wear army uniforms, according to observers. The Sudanese government has admitted arming militias in the past, as a means of fighting the region's two main rebel groups, the Sudan Liberation Movement and the Justice and Equality Movement. In a separate development, food hand-outs being given by aid workers to the region's 700,000 displaced are also being looted. The World Food Programme (WFP) had decided to make more frequent distributions of smaller amounts of food as a means of protecting displaced people from attacks, Laura Melo, the WFP spokeswoman, told IRIN on Monday. "Hopefully, with less food in the house, people will be less attractive to looting," she said. UN workers have been asked not to give aid to some villages, as it would turn them into targets for attacks.

Center for the Prevention of Genocide 10 Mar 2004 www.genocideprevention.org Unconfirmed Reports: Hundreds of Civilians Killed Wadi Saleh Province, South West Darfur DARFUR, SUDAN – Reports of widespread violence are emerging from the Wadi Saleh Province, where Janjaweed militia and government troops have attacked fleeing civilians. Last Friday, government troops reportedly attacked the Sindo area. Survivors have desperately fled the region but continue to be targeted in brutal extermination campaigns. Groups attempting to escape to the towns of Bindisi and Diliege have been rounded up and executed. As of now, reported deaths in these two towns are respectively 120 and 50 people killed. In the last few months, the UN estimates that over 700,000 civilians have abandoned their homes in Darfur and over 110,000 civilians have fled to the bordering country of Chad.

WP 11 Mar 2004 Letters to the Editor Another Side to the Sudan Story Thursday, March 11, 2004; Page A26 Eric Reeves's Feb. 25 op-ed article, "Unnoticed Genocide," said that Arab militias -- allegedly supported by Sudan -- are waging a campaign of genocide against Darfur's "Africans." But the United Nations' information network, Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), has noted that Sudan is trying to rein in the militias. Mr. Reeves also made little mention of the drought that for two decades has pitted Arabic-speaking herders against non-Arabic-speaking farmers over pasture and water resources. He further did not mention the civil wars in Chad and the Central African Republic, which have given tribesmen easy access to automatic weapons. Mr. Reeves portrayed the unrest in Darfur as a campaign of "genocide" against black communities such as the Fur, Zagawa and Masseleit. But the Zagawa tribe, which dominates the three armed groups, has the highest number of educated people among the tribes in Sudan, and it has been prominent in national politics. Further, President Idriss Deby of Chad -- himself a member of the Zagawa tribe -- has condemned those fighting in Darfur. Mr. Reeves also ignored the banditry that underpins unrest in Darfur. In December the International Crisis Group cited the leader of the armed groups in Darfur as saying that the rebels will obstruct the peace process unless they get material benefits. Just after the government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) signed the agreement on the cessation of hostilities in February 2003, armed elements attacked Darfur's major city, El Fasher. Their objective was to attract the attention of the international community, to pressure the government into talking to them and to escalate armed conflict. On Feb. 11, for example, one of the armed groups -- the so-called Equality and Justice Movement -- declared its intention to close every road in Darfur. These groups already have murdered dozens of relief workers. This sort of threat will have devastating effect on the ability of Sudan and aid agencies to provide emergency assistance. That neither Mr. Reeves nor Amnesty International nor anybody else has condemned these atrocities undermines their credibility. Finally, Mr. Reeves did not mention that Sudan has declared general amnesty for all those who carry arms and called for a conference that would include the rebels and consideration of any plan they have that would redress the grievances of the people in Darfur. Painstaking efforts, brokered by the United States, have been made to sign a peace agreement with the SPLM/A in southern Sudan. KHIDIR HAROUN AHMED Ambassador Embassy of Sudan Washington

VOA 12 Mar 2004 War in Western Sudan Threatens to Destroy Hopes for Peace in African Nation Ken Schwartz Washington 12 Mar 2004, 01:40 UTC Sudan is on the verge of a peace deal ending its devastating 20-year long North-South civil war. But a separate war in the western Darfur region is threatening to not only destroy hopes for peace, but create another African crisis. Testifying before a U.S. House Subcommittee on Africa Thursday, senior U.S. Agency for International Development official Roger Winter said the problems in Darfur are pushing the Sudanese peace process to the edge of a steep cliff. "Arguably, this is the worst humanitarian emergency in Africa and perhaps in the world at this moment," he said. The fighting in Darfur, close to Sudan's border with Chad, pits local rebels against government forces and Sudanese-backed Arab militias called the jenjaweed. Mr. Winter says Sudan's Islamic government has been attacking from the air while the jenjaweed loot villages and rape and murder African tribal civilians. He is accusing the Sudanese government of ethnic cleansing. "You have an African population that is being driven from their homes in a very systematic, widespread and calculated knowledgeable way. If you fly over the locations, you can see the villages burning underneath you," he said. Mr. Winter denies the Sudanese government's claim that the war in Darfur has ended and that refugees can safely return from Chad. He also says the government has cut off nearly all humanitarian access to the region and takes no action to stop the militias, despte branding them criminals and outlaws. "When we asked people 'who exactly were these people that did the attacking,' they say 'the janjaweed, the government.' It's the same," he said. Mr. Winter is calling for an increased effort from the Bush Administration and a robust international presence to protect the people from what he calls a massacre.

Reuters 13 Mar 2004 Sudan Army Bombs Darfur Town, Kills Six-Witnesses Sat Mar 13, 2004 11:24 AM ET By Nima Elbagir KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan's army bombed a town in the western Darfur region, killing six civilians and injuring 25, eyewitnesses said on Saturday, weeks after the government said major military operations were over in the area. Two rebel groups launched a revolt in remote Darfur last February, accusing the government of neglecting the arid region and arming Arab militias to burn and loot African villages. The oil producer's president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, said last month the government was in full control of Darfur and major military operations were over, which the rebels deny. A resident of Sherya town, about 45 miles east of the Southern Darfur state capital Nyala, said that Antonov planes began bombarding the town on Friday evening and Arab militias known as "Janjaweed" attacked at the same time. "The aerial bombardment began on Friday evening. We left as soon as we heard the Janjaweed coming. They were screaming and shooting into the air so we ran," the man, who declined to be named, told Reuters by telephone. He said six women and children were killed by the bombings, including a one-year-old child, and 25 people were injured. The Sudanese armed forces spokesman declined to comment and the governor of Southern Darfur was unavailable for comment. A spokesman for the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) told Reuters by telephone from near Sherya the bombing was continuing sporadically and 15 children were still missing. The United Nations warns of a humanitarian crisis in Darfur and says the conflict has affected one million people with more than 100,000 refugees fleeing to Chad. DISPLACED TOLD TO LEAVE Government officials in Khartoum told Sudanese giving food and shelter to more than 2,300 Darfurians, who sold the last of their possessions to seek refuge in the capital, to clear the area where they were encamped within two days. Muhamed Musa, a resident in the southern Khartoum suburb of Merowe, told Reuters on Saturday that officials from the government's commission for refugees had come to the camp to help the displaced people return to Darfur. "But when we told them none of them wanted to go back because they did not feel safe there, they told us we had to clear the camp and take the people into our houses," he said. Aid workers at the makeshift camp say there are 1,195 internally displaced people (IDPs) in the makeshift camp of a mosque and a school, and the rest of the IDPs had already been taken into what little space there was in people's homes. The office of the minister for humanitarian assistance, Ibrahim Mahmud Hamid, said he was not available for comment.

Amnesty International 16 Mar 2004 AI INDEX: AFR 54/028/2004 16 March 2004 AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE AI Index: AFR 54/028/2004 (Public) News Service No: 061 16 March 2004 Sudan: Darfur - attacks against civilians ongoing "The government of Sudan has made no progress to ensure the protection of civilians caught up in the conflict in Darfur," Amnesty International said today. Scores of civilians have reportedly been killed and dozens of villages burnt by the government-backed Janjiwid militias over the last few weeks. "This is not a situation where the central government has lost control. Men, women and children are being killed and villages are burnt and looted because the central government is allowing militias aligned to it to pursue what amounts to a strategy of forced displacement through the destruction of homes and livelihood of the farming populations of the region," Amnesty International said. During an attack by the Janjawid on at least 10 villages in the Tawila district between Kabkabiya and Al-Fasher in Northern Darfur, between 27-9 February, more than 80 people were killed. A United Nations Humanitarian Task Force who visited the villages after the raids described a situation of fear and devastation. There were reports that school girls had been raped. In Western Darfur, on 6 March, the Janjawid with three land-cruisers and some 60 men on horseback attacked al-Kureinik, a large village east of al-Jeneina, swollen with refugees. They allegedly killed 15 villagers, all civilians, including a child. Two days later on 8 March three children were among twelve people reportedly killed in 'Aish Barra, a village west of al-Jeneina, near the Chad border. In Gokar, not far from al-Jeneina, at least 5,000 fleeing villagers are said to be gathered with no food, shelter or medicine, while al-Jeneina itself is currently occupied by an estimated 100,000 displaced people. The small town of Mornay is swollen with refugees, with insufficient food and medicines and no doctor; diarrhoea and fever is rife and five to 10 people are reported to be dying each day. "The government is still severely restricting humanitarian aid in Darfur and appears unwilling to address the human rights crisis in the region. As a result international attempts, including attempts by the United Nations, to resolve the human rights and humanitarian situation in Darfur are being delayed." The international community and the UN, who have succeeded in bringing humanitarian aid to some 30% of the displaced populations of Darfur in the past few weeks, have been unable to protect the lives and safety of the rural population. Neither have they been able to reach tens of thousands of people sheltering in rural towns or in the bush with hardly any food and shelter and no medical supplies. Meanwhile the conflict seems to be spilling over into Chad as the Janjawid make cross border raids. They have reportedly killed more than 100 refugees and Chadians and looted cattle during such raids in the past few months. On 7 March 35 armed men believed to be the Janjawid reportedly attacked border sites and killed one man in Ouendalou, wounded another in Absogo, and stole 100 head of cattle. Information received by Amnesty International indicates that the Sudan government is encouraging the actions of the Janjawid. Sudanese refugees in Chad have described the Janjawid attacking villages accompanied by soldiers. Often they have described attacks by the Janjawid wearing army uniforms. Some Sudan army soldiers have described following the Janjawid in attacks on villages which, they said, were clearly civilian targets. For the past year no member of the Janjawid has been arrested or brought to justice for a single unlawful killing. "Sudan is in violation of its obligations under Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions that requires protected persons, including civilians, to be treated humanely, and explicitly prohibits violence to life and person, in particular murder" said Amnesty International. Article 3 applies to armed conflict "not of an international character" and applies to "each Party to the conflict". The destruction and looting of civilian property and means of livelihoods are also forbidden by the laws and customs applicable in armed conflicts not of an international character. Public Document For more information please call Amnesty International's press office in London, UK, on +44 20 7413 5566 Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW. web: http://www.amnesty.org For latest human rights news view http://news.amnesty.org

United States Department of State (Washington, DC) 17 Mar 2004 US Diplomacy Essential to Keeping Sudan Peace Process On Track By Jim Fisher-Thompson Washington, DC Scholars gauge effects of Darfur violence for U.S. Congress With Sudan in the closing stages of a peace process that has gone on for years, more diplomacy, not less, is needed now to convince both the Khartoum government and rebels to turn away from violence and begin rebuilding a nation devastated by 20 years of civil war, says Stephen Morrison, Africa program director for the Center for International and Strategic Studies (CSIS). Whether or not "a peace agreement is around the corner," much is at stake in Sudan, Morrison told a March 11 hearing of the House Africa Subcommittee that is looking into violence in the Darfur region and its threat to the peace process. Smith College Professor Eric Reeves also joined him on the panel. Declaring, "We need to keep our eye on the prize -- the successful conclusion of a Sudanese peace accord," Morrison told the lawmakers: "We need to remind ourselves that the Sudanese parties are indeed very close to a final framework agreement ...[and] U.S. leadership has been, from the very beginning of the Sudan peace process, essential to achieving the results seen thus far, and remains essential to closing a deal." (Both sides have already signed three major agreements and are currently in Naivasha, Kenya, negotiating a power-sharing accord, which the U.S. Government is helping to facilitate at a cost of $4 million.) Morrison said: "A failed peace effort that re-ignites Sudan's devastating war between the North and South will ... encourage a radicalization in north and south and damage U.S. interests. Only peace can create an environment in which it becomes possible to tackle Sudan's other formidable governance problems -- and they are many and severe. "Will a negotiated settlement between the SPLM/SPLA and the Government of Sudan resolve all Sudan's ills? No, but it is an absolutely critical first step and we cannot afford to become distracted, nor squander the important progress made so far in realizing this first step," the Africa expert asserted. The former advisor to the State Department recently managed the Africa Policy Advisory Panel, a review of U.S. policy commissioned by Congress, which was completed in January and presented to Secretary of State Colin Powell the following month. House Africa Subcommittee Chairman Ed Royce (Republican of California) and Acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Charles Snyder agreed at the same hearing that the recent flare-up of violence in Darfur imperiled progress on negotiations. Holding the Khartoum government responsible for the attacks, Royce said, "Darfur is an ominous cloud over the peace process." However, he added, "perpetual negotiations are not in the cards." Snyder said, "In Darfur people are dying in large numbers, so we do not have the leisure for a long negotiation process." (Approximately 2 million people have been killed in the conflict in Sudan, with a further four million driven from their homes because of fighting between the mainly Muslim central government and non-Muslim southerners.) Eric Reeves, a professor at Smith College who has written extensively on Sudan, told the Africa Subcommittee he believed "this is Sudan's moment of historical truth." Negotiations are threatened, Reeves said, primarily because of the Khartoum regime's intransigence. "It is presently conducting a vast military campaign directed primarily against civilians among the African tribal groups of the [Darfur] region ... and feels that it is making progress. "Believing that the international community will not respond with appropriate force or urgency to the catastrophe in Darfur so long as an agreement in Naivasha can be made to seem 'imminent,' Khartoum now hopes to resolve the crisis in Darfur militarily prior to any final agreement," Reeves told the lawmakers. The answer, he said, was certainly not a policy of "moral equivalence" that puts the Khartoum government and rebels on an equal footing, "for it is the south that has endured catastrophic human destruction and suffering over the past 20 years of war." Referring to the government's actions in Darfur, Reeves said, "The current phrase of choice among diplomats and U.N. officials is 'ethnic cleansing,' but given the nature and scale of human destruction, and the clear racism animating attacks systematically directed against civilians from the African tribal groups, the appropriate term is genocide." Instead, the scholar called for a more activist diplomacy that would make it in Khartoum's interest to stop fighting and proceed with the peace process. "To this end," he said, "current U.S. sanctions against the Government of Sudan should be lifted gradually, and should be tied to clearly articulated benchmarks -- in the implementing of a peace agreement, in expediting military redeployments, in disarming allied militia, and in upholding provisions for revenue- and power-sharing." But even with peace, Reeves warned, "Khartoum's ongoing, cynically cruel willingness to lie about so much human suffering and destruction should remind us how difficult it will be to make anything meaningful of the regime's signature on an agreement in Naivasha. If a comprehensive agreement is indeed 'around the corner,' we must fully accept that this marks only a beginning in the real job of building a just and sustainable peace." (The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

AFP 17 Mar 2004 MP held for 'aiding' rebels by Wednesday 17 March 2004 2:41 PM GMT Rebellion in Darfur erupted in February last year A Sudanese MP has been arrested in the troubled western Darfur region on suspicion of assisting the rebels and undermining the peace process. The Sudan Media Centre, which is close to the government, reported from Nyala, capital of South Darfur State, that an unnamed member of parliament held regular meetings in his house with elements connected to "the outlaws" and unidentified foreigners. It said the authorities also monitored activities by the deputy "mostly focused on undermining and opposing efforts exerted by the government for achieving peace in Darfur". It said sophisticated electronic equipment, including bugging devices, was seized during the raid on the MP's house and that it would be examined by experts from Khartoum. It added that authorities had started legal proceedings to lift the deputy's immunity, but did not give his identity or say when he was detained. Violence renounced Meanwhile, two leading Darfur rebels were reported to have pledged to lay down their arms and renounce violence in response to a general amnesty declared by President Umar al-Bashir. The official Al Anbaa daily named one of the two rebels as Adam Sulaiman Mustafa who was quoted as saying the presidential amnesty was "a positive step for building confidence between the government and the armed groups." "Some Darfur politicians threw demands related to power and partisan interests into the Darfur problem" Adam Sulaiman Mustafa, leading rebel He said the rebels took up arms to demand better health and education services but "some Darfur politicians threw demands related to power and partisan interests into the Darfur problem." In another development, the North Darfur State governor announced that 30% of the 400,000 people displaced in his state have returned to their home villages in Taweilah, Korma and Kutum. Usman Yusuf Kibir was on Wednesday that teams from his state and West Darfur State were in Chad to arrange for the repatriation of about 15,000 refugees. Kibir said the authorities were in control throughout his state, including the border areas of Tina and that the refugee camps were free of epidemics. The rebellion led by the Sudan Liberation Movement and other groups erupted in February last year over charges that the central government had neglected the development of the impoverished region neighbouring Chad.

Guardian UK 18 Mar 2004 Sudanese refugees flee killer militias Rory Carroll, Africa correspondent Thursday March 18, 2004 The Guardian Sudanese militias on camels and horses are raiding refugee camps across the border in Chad in a spree of rape, murder and cattle-rustling which has forced thousands to flee. A show of force by the Chadian and Sudanese armies has failed to stop the marauders' almost daily attacks across the 850-mile frontier, according to the UN refugee agency, which has relocated 10,000 people deeper into Chad. The militias were originally backed by the Sudanese authorities to counter rebels in the Darfur area of western Sudan, but in the past six weeks Khartoum had lost control of the gunmen, a western diplomat told the UN humanitarian information service, Irin. Riding in groups sometimes hundreds strong, the "hodge-podge of opportunists and criminals" saw the 100,000 refugees who crossed the border to try to escape Sudan's civil war as a bonanza, the diplomat said. Last week, 35 raiders stole 100 cattle from two border sites and killed one refugee. The UN also said details were emerging of an attack on Tawilah which left 67 people dead and 16 schoolgirls abducted. Some 41 schoolgirls and teachers were reported raped. After an agreement last week between presidents Idriss Deby of Chad and Umar al-Bashir of Sudan, troops from Chad have crossed into Sudan to hunt the marauders and recover stolen cattle. Attacking the militias does not appear to have disrupted Khartoum's campaign of bombing villages in Darfur to punish civilians suspected of siding with the rebels. In southern Sudan, however, peace talks are expected to facilitate the return of 150,000 refugees within 18 months.

UPI 21 Mar 2004 Sudan criticizes U.N. for 'heap of lies' KHARTOUM, Sudan, March 21 (UPI) -- Sudan has accused a senior U.N. official of spreading "a heap of lies" in his allegations of human rights abuses in the western province of Darfur. Mukesh Kapila on Friday told the BBC the situation in Darfur was the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. The U.N. coordinator for Sudan said government-backed Arab militias systematically burned villages and raped women in the area, including raping more than 100 women in a single attack . "It is more than just a conflict. It is an organized attempt to do away with a group of people," Kapila said, comparing the situation to the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Sudan's Humanitarian Affairs Ministry said Kapila's comments "deviated from the virtues which a resident representative should have, that is neutrality, and transcended to open political work." Sudanese radio said the government and the U.N. had agreed to end Kapila's mission in Sudan, the BBC reported.

NYT 24 Mar 2004 OP-ED COLUMNIST Ethnic Cleansing, Again By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF A LONG THE SUDAN-CHAD BORDER — The most vicious ethnic cleansing you've never heard of is unfolding here in the southeastern fringes of the Sahara Desert. It's a campaign of murder, rape and pillage by Sudan's Arab rulers that has forced 700,000 black African Sudanese to flee their villages. The desert is strewn with the carcasses of cattle and goats, as well as fresh refugee graves that are covered with brush so wild animals will not dig them up. Refugees crowd around overused wells, which now run dry, and they mourn loved ones whose bodies they cannot recover. Western and African countries need to intervene urgently. Sudan's leaders should not be able to get away with mass murder just because they are shrewd enough to choose victims who inhabit a poor region without airports, electricity or paved roads. The culprit is the Sudanese government, one of the world's nastiest. Its Arab leaders have been fighting a civil war for more than 20 years against its rebellious black African south. Lately it has armed lighter-skinned Arab raiders, the Janjaweed, who are killing or driving out blacks in the Darfur region near Chad. "They came at 4 a.m. on horseback, on camels, in vehicles, with two helicopters overhead," recalled Idris Abu Moussa, a 26-year-old Sudanese farmer. "They killed 50 people in my village. My father, grandmother, uncle and two brothers were all killed." "They don't want any blacks left," he added. Most refugees have stories like that. "They took the cattle and horses, killed the men, raped the women, and then they burned the village," said Abubakr Ahmed Abdallah, a 60-year-old refugee who escaped to Toukoultoukouli in Chad. "They want to exterminate us blacks," said Halime Ali Souf. Her husband was killed, and she fled into Chad with her infant. Once refugees like Ms. Halime have fled into Chad, their troubles are not over. The only source of water for many border villages is the riverbed, or wadi, marking the boundary between the two countries, and the Janjaweed regularly shoot men who go there to get water or gather wood. Zakaria Ibrahim was shot dead a few days ago. "He went to get sticks to build a hut," said his haggard widow, Hawai Abdulyaya, who is left with five children. The Janjaweed regularly invade Chad to seize cattle and attack Sudanese refugees. In addition, the Sudanese Army has dropped bombs on Chadian villages like Tiné and Besa. These skirmishes are taking place in a sparsely populated land of sand, shrubs and occasional oases. The only roads are dirt tracks barely navigable by four-wheel-drive vehicles — except when the rainy season makes the area completely impassible. (Join me for a multimedia tour of Africa at www.nytimes.com/kristof.) The U.N.'s Sudan coordinator, Mukesh Kapila, described the situation in a BBC interview on Friday as similar in character, if not scale, to the Rwanda genocide of 1994. "This is ethnic cleansing," he said. "This is the world's greatest humanitarian crisis, and I don't know why the world isn't doing more about it." Countless thousands of black Sudanese have been murdered, and 600,000 victims of this ethnic cleansing have fled to other parts of Sudan and are suffering from malnutrition and disease. The 110,000 who have fled into Chad are better off because of the magnificent response of the Chadian peasants. Chadians are desperately poor themselves, but they share what little food and water is available with the Sudanese refugees. "If we have food or water, we'll share it with them," said a Chadian peasant, Adam Isak Abubakr. "We can't leave them like this." Let's hope that we Americans will show the same gumption and compassion. We should call Sudan before the U.N. Security Council and the world community and insist that it stop these pogroms. To his credit, President Bush has already led the drive for peace in Sudan, doing far more to achieve a peace than all his predecessors put together. Now he should show the same resolve in confronting this latest menace. In the 21st century, no government should be allowed to carry out ethnic cleansing, driving 700,000 people from their homes. If we turn away simply because the victims are African tribespeople who have the misfortune to speak no English, have no phones and live in one of the most remote parts of the globe, then shame on us.March 27, 2004 OP-ED COLUMNIST Will We Say 'Never Again' Yet Again? By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF LONG THE CHAD-SUDAN BORDER — For decades, whenever the topic of genocide has come up, the refrain has been, "Never again." Yet right now, the government of Sudan is engaging in genocide against three large African tribes in its Darfur region here. Some 1,000 people are being killed a week, tribeswomen are being systematically raped, 700,000 people have been driven from their homes, and Sudan's Army is even bombing the survivors. And the world yawns. So what do we tell refugees like Muhammad Yakob Hussein, who lives in the open desert here because his home was burned and his family members killed in Sudan? He now risks being shot whenever he goes to a well to fetch water. Do we advise such refugees that "never again" meant nothing more than that a Führer named Hitler will never again construct death camps in Germany? Interviews with refugees like Mr. Hussein — as well as with aid workers and U.N. officials — leave no doubt that attacks in Darfur are not simply random atrocities. Rather, as a senior U.N. official, Mukesh Kapila, put it, "It is an organized attempt to do away with a group of people." "All I have left is this jalabiya," or cloak, said Mr. Hussein, who claimed to be 70 but looked younger (ages here tend to be vague aspirations, and they usually emerge in multiples of 10). Mr. Hussein said he'd fled three days earlier after an attack in which his three brothers were killed and all his livestock stolen: "Everything is lost. They burned everything." Another man, Khamis Muhammad Issa, a strapping 21-year-old, was left with something more than his clothes — a bullet in the back. He showed me the bulge of the bullet under the skin. The bullet wiggled under my touch. "They came in the night and burned my village," he said. "I was running away and they fired. I fell, and they thought I was dead." In my last column, I called these actions "ethnic cleansing." But let's be blunt: Sudan's behavior also easily meets the definition of genocide in Article 2 of the 1948 convention against genocide. That convention not only authorizes but also obligates the nations ratifying it — including the U.S. — to stand up to genocide. The killings are being orchestrated by the Arab-dominated Sudanese government, partly through the Janjaweed militia, made up of Arab raiders armed by the government. The victims are non-Arabs: blacks in the Zaghawa, Massaliet and Fur tribes. "The Arabs want to get rid of anyone with black skin," Youssef Yakob Abdullah said. In the area of Darfur that he fled, "there are no blacks left," he said. In Darfur, the fighting is not over religion, for the victims as well as the killers are Muslims. It is more ethnic and racial, reflecting some of the ancient tension between herdsmen (the Arabs in Darfur) and farmers (the black Africans, although they herd as well). The Arabs and non-Arabs compete for water and forage, made scarce by environmental degradation and the spread of the desert. In her superb book on the history of genocide, "A Problem from Hell," Samantha Power focuses on the astonishing fact that U.S. leaders always denounce massacres in the abstract or after they are over — but, until Kosovo, never intervened in the 20th century to stop genocide and "rarely even made a point of condemning it as it occurred." The U.S. excuses now are the same ones we used when Armenians were killed in 1915 and Bosnians and Rwandans died in the 1990's: the bloodshed is in a remote area; we have other priorities; standing up for the victims may compromise other foreign policy interests. I'm not arguing that we should invade Sudan. But one of the lessons of history is that very modest efforts can save large numbers of lives. Nothing is so effective in curbing ethnic cleansing as calling attention to it. President Bush could mention Darfur or meet a refugee. The deputy secretary of state could visit the border areas here in Chad. We could raise the issue before the U.N. And the onus is not just on the U.S.: it's shameful that African and Muslim countries don't offer at least a whisper of protest at the slaughter of fellow Africans and Muslims. Are the world's pledges of "never again" really going to ring hollow one more time?

NYT 30 Mar 2004 Genocide in Sudan, and Our Silence To the Editor: Thanks to Nicholas D. Kristof ("Will We Say `Never Again' Yet Again?," column, March 27) for highlighting the horrible situation in the Darfur region of Sudan, and asking the world to do something about it. Although he rightly points out that the United States is not the only party that can and should respond, certainly given the human rights justification for the invasion of Iraq, we should be able to expect some reaction on President Bush's part to this horrible human rights catastrophe. But I'm not holding my breath. During the 2000 presidential debate, George W. Bush said he supported the United States' decision not to intervene in Rwanda. Instead, he called for "early warning." Well, we have our early warning. How is this supposed human-rights-supporting president going to respond to genocide? KURT MILLS Gettysburg, Pa., March 27, 2004 The writer is a visiting assistant professor of international relations at Gettysburg College.


Hirondelle News Agency (Lausanne) 2 Mar 2004 Church Blasted With Grenades for an Hour And a Half, Says Witness A prosecution witness in the Butare trial on Tuesday told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), that in April 1994, soldiers and militia blasted with grenades Mugombwa parish church for an hour and a half. The witness code-named "FAG" to protect his identity, said during cross-examination that the killers had been transported to the parish by the former mayor of Muganza, Eli Ndayambaje. Ndayambaje is among six people accused of committing acts of genocide in Butare (southern Rwanda) during the 1994 genocide. Hundreds of Tutsi refugees from Muganza and the surrounding had sought refuge in Mugombwa parish for fear of being killed by extremist Hutu militia. "They were throwing grenades and bottles of petrol into the church", explained the witness, pointing out that he was among the group of attackers that included Burundian refugees living in the areas. "Those who survived the grenades were dragged out of the church and finished off", added FAG. He said that the parish priest, only named as Father Titian, was not present during the attack. FAG continued that no Hutu was targeted during the massacres of Mugombwa. "It was us the Hutus who were hunting down Tutsis", he stated The witness is among the thousands who have confessed of participating in the genocide to Rwandan authorities, in the hope of getting lighter sentences. He had claimed the previous day that the killings had been planned and supervised by the former prefect of Butare Alphonse Nteziryayo, and Elie Ndayambaje. He added that both had taken part in attacks at Kabuye hill in Butare. Ndayambaje and Nteziryayo are jointly charged with the former minister of women and family affairs, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, her son and former militia leader in Butare, Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, another former prefect of Butare, Sylvain Nsabimana , and the former mayor of Ngoma commune Joseph Kanyabashi. All have pleaded not guilty to genocide and crimes against humanity. The "Butare" trial is taking place in Trial Chamber Two of the ICTR, composed of Judge William Hussein Sekule of Tanzania (presiding), Judge Arlette Ramaroson from Madagascar and Judge Solomy Balungi Bossa of Uganda.

AFP 8 Mar 2004 Time running out in genocide hunt NAIROBI (AFP) - The hunt for about 15 alleged masterminds of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda is set to lose steam and possibly come to a complete halt this year because of a deadline imposed on the UN tribunal investigating and trying the suspects. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which sits in the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha, has tried 21 people since it was set up in late 1994. The trials of another 20 suspects are in progress while those of a further 22 have yet to begin. Some 15 people suspected of planning or organising the slaughter, an attempt to exterminate Rwanda's Tutsi minority which the current government in Kigali believes claimed a million lives, are still at large. "It's a huge job to trace all of them," said Alison Des Forges, an expert on the Great Lakes region. But she was quick to point out that the ICTR already has "80 percent of the most important people... more than the Holocaust." "The ICTR is trying to find them," tribunal prosecutor Hassan Abubacar Jallow said in January. The court sleuths' job has been made all the more difficult because many of the fugitives have used their university training, personal wealth or network of friends to make new lives for themselves. Some of them "benefit from the complicity or indifference" of certain countries, according to Des Forges. Fourteen ICTR-related arrests have been made over the years in Kenya, more than any other country. Among those picked up in Kenya was former prime minister Jean Kambanda. Other suspects fled to west Africa, taking advantage of the longstanding solidarity among Africa's French-speaking countries.

AP 9 Mar 2004 Singer in not guilty genocide plea From correspondents in Arusha, Tanzania March 9, 2004 A WELL-KNOWN Rwandan musician pleaded not guilty today to six counts of genocide at a UN tribunal investigating and trying the alleged masterminds of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. It was the second time Simon Bikindi has had to enter a plea at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda after prosecutors said they had found new evidence against him. "Truth will prevail over lies, and love over hatred," Bikindi told Judge Lloyd George Williams. The 49-year-old first pleaded innocent to six counts of genocide in April 2002, but his trial has yet to start. Prosecutors have since amended the indictment against Bikindi to include the new evidence, said Roland Amoussouga, the tribunal's spokesman. It was not immediately clear what the new evidence was. Bikindi was an official in Rwanda's youth and sports ministry during the 1994 genocide, in which more than 500,000 people, mainly minority Tutsis and politically moderate members of the Hutu majority, were slaughtered. The 100-day killing spree was organised by the then Hutu-extremist government and prosecutors allege that Bikindi wrote song lyrics that manipulated the politics and history of Rwanda to promote Hutu solidarity. Since it was set up in 1994, tribunal has acquitted three people and convicted 18 others.

Hirondelle News Agency (Lausanne) 17 Mar 2004 Simba Aloys Again Pleads Not Guilty to Genocide Arusha A former senior officer in the former Rwandan army (ex-FAR), Colonel Simba Aloy, on Wednesday pleaded again not guilty to crimes of genocide at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Col. Simba is charged with four counts: Genocide, Complicity in Genocide, and Crimes against Humanity (murder and extermination). He made his first initial appearance on March 18, 2002. According to the prosecution, Simba was in charge of civil defence in Gikongora and Butare between May and June and he had authority over the military, police and Interahamwe (militia allied to the former ruling party, the MRND). It was in that capacity that he allegedly oversaw the massacres of Tutsis in that region. The accused allegedly commented in April 1994: "the situation is very dangerous. I have been recalled to arms to help hunt down Tutsis". The prosecution continues that even though the accused was retired, he wore military uniform in 1994. "He compared relations between Tutsis and Hutus to that between cats and rats", points out the indictment. Colonel Simba was part of a group of military officers of the "committee for peace and national unity" that took power on July 5 1973 after the overthrow of former president Gregoire Kayibanda by Major General Juvenal Habyarimana. He then became a minister of information and later on a member of parliament. He is mostly remembered for having been the commandant of the Kigali military camp. He was arrested in Senegal on November 27, 2001 and transferred to Arusha on March 11 2002. He is represented by Alao Sadikou from Benin while the prosecution is led by William Egbe from Cameroon. Relevant Links Central Africa Rwanda Legal and Judicial Affairs Humanitarian Abuses and Civilians Simba Aloys appeared before Judge Jai Ram Reddy of Fiji who entered his not guilty plea to all counts. His trial is set to begin on May 10, 2004


BBC 28 Feb 2004 Uganda army targets LRA rebels The refugee camp near Lira was destroyed Ugandan soldiers say they have killed 30 rebels from the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in fighting in the north. An army spokesman said some of those killed were suspected of involvement in last weekend's massacre of displaced people at a camp. It is believed 200 civilians died but the government puts the figure at 80. The divisional commander, Colonel George Etyang, said several children abducted by the LRA had been killed accidentally in the latest clashes. Anger Ugandan troops have been stepping up their offensive against the rebels in the wake of the massacre. "We killed 30 of these thugs on Thursday in neighbouring Pader district," army spokesman Lieutenant Chris Magezi told the French news agency, AFP. He said 15 of the dead were suspected to have been among the group that attacked the Barlonya camp in Lira province. There has been intense anger in Lira at the killings and the government's perceived inability to defeat the rebels. Q&A: Why haven't the rebels been defeated? Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has said he is determined to wipe out the rebellion - a promise he has repeatedly made. He has also long complained that by placing restrictions on his military spending, international donors are hampering his campaign to defeat the insurgents. But a Western donors' delegation in Uganda said strict limits on such spending would be maintained. "We reject the assertion that donors' restrictions on defence expenditure have impeded the Ugandan army's capacity to defend citizens from such attacks," a donors' statement issued on Friday said. The donors also called on the Ugandan government to explore all avenues to resolve the conflict via a negotiated solution. "Humanitarian assistance is not enough. The conflict which causes such great suffering must be resolved." Some 4,000 people were living in Barlonya when the massacre happened. The World Food Progamme is distributing food to survivors. The UN agency has been supporting some 80,000 people displaced by the rebel insurgency since September 2003. They had fled their homes because of fighting elsewhere in northern Uganda.

BBC 28 Feb 2004 The 'carnival' killing in Uganda By Andrew Harding BBC correspondent, Lira The LRA are accused of killing 200 people in the refugee camp Andrew Harding travelled to Lira after a massacre in the area of 200 people by rebels a week ago which led the Ugandan parliament to declare the northern part of the country a disaster zone. I have seen lynch mobs before. But from a distance. This was the first time I have been caught up in the middle of one. Two things stand out in my memory, like scabs you can't help picking. One is the laughter. The sound of men giggling and cheering as they casually picked up stones and chased their victims down the street. At times there was almost a carnival atmosphere. The other is the sheer number of women involved. Not just those being attacked - no surprise there - but the ringleaders of the mob. I watched an elegant lady in a beautiful green and yellow dress go to hut after hut, directing the violence. "Smash this bicycle" - she ordered a group of teenaged boys. "Here, let's throw all this inside that hut. Now stand back - I'm going to set fire to it. OK. Let's go this way." Just before the frenzy started, I felt a small hand grab my own. We were in the middle of a huge crowd - a peace rally marching through town. About 10,000 people marched through Lira calling for protection They were families demanding that Uganda's military do more to protect them from the Lords Resistance Army - killers who are terrorising the countryside, massacring and abducting. I was busy. I nearly pushed the hand away. But I looked down and a skinny boy stared at me and immediately started crying. He blurted out that his parents, his brother and his sister, had just been killed by the LRA. " I don't know what to do," he said. I told him to stick close to me. We will try to help. But I need to work right now. A few minutes later, the boy, Innocent Odongo, tugged at me. Those men over there, he said. They want to fight. I heard what they're saying. We should go. And then it started. Lynch mob The next hour was a blur of adrenalin. And snap decisions. As a journalist - the impulse is to follow the action. And so my cameraman, Phil Davies, and our producer, Nawaz Shah, ran with the crowd. But to begin with, we were not sure what impact our presence would have. Cameras can incite people. But they can also scare them. And what if the mob turned on us? Uganda security forces opened fire on the protesters The first test came within seconds. A woman was dragged out of her hut, wailing with fear. Rocks bouncing off her tin roof. Flames already licking at the walls. We moved in close. Phil shouted to me: "Stay with her." The ringleaders saw us, and the camera, and started to wave the crowd back. "Leave her alone," they said. "That's enough." And off they ran...to the next street. Lynch mobs are not uncommon in east Africa. If you shout "thief" in some parts of Nairobi, you might as well shout - "kill that man". Vigilante justice is what you get when you mix poverty with a society that knows the police will do nothing. In Uganda - there was an extra ingredient. Tribalism. The mob was attacking members of the Acholi minority, accusing them of being linked to the LRA. It is nonsense. A lot of LRA members are indeed Acholi - but almost all of them have been abducted against their will. This was just an angry crowd, looking to take out its frustration on the easiest scapegoat. Eventually, the army arrived. It took them a good hour to get from their barracks half a mile away. We heard gunfire in the distance. Later, a colleague told us they had shot into the air and into the crowd. Slowly, the morgue and the hospital filled up, and the town calmed down. We hired some bicycle taxis, and headed back to a guest house on the edge of Lira. Innocent came with us. We called a small Dutch charity that I'd heard about and two women came round almost immediately. They run an orphanage and promised to look after him. I have spoken to them by phone a couple of times since, and Innocent is doing OK Narrow escape The day before the riot, we'd driven out into the countryside. Uganda's President, Yoweri Museveni, had invited us to see what his army was doing to crush the LRA. We went with the President in a heavily armed convoy. But by the time we got to the army camp, it was time to head back to the capital, Kampala. We had deadlines to meet. "That's OK", said the President. "The cars can go back in the same armed convoy. You can stay a bit longer and fly home in my helicopter." We agreed to stay on. The decision probably saved our lives. Our car hit a landmine on the way back to Kampala. The soldier sitting in my seat, was killed.

The East African (Nairobi) 1 Mar 2004 ANALYSIS Why Mighty Kampala is Unable to Defeat Kony's 'Rag-Tag' Murderers Heinz Kopfarbeiter Nairobi The continuing crisis in northern Uganda is beginning to look nastily like a deliberate policy of the Ugandan government. It is hard to escape that conclusion if you take a look at the facts and the different official strategies that the government of President Yoweri Museveni has deployed over the past 18 years, supposedly to bring an end to the terrorism of the rebel Lord's Resistance Army. Although the Ugandan army, the UPDF, is doing an admirable job and many young military professionals spend years of their lives in the bush hunting an elusive enemy, and sometimes sacrifice their lives in this struggle, the higher echelons of the UPDF, in cahoots with politicians of the regime, have for years misguided their soldiers. The dramatic massacre near Lira last week, in which reportedly over 200 civilians died, gives a good example of such bad guidance - with a difference: in this case, the government admits that the army made strategic mistakes. However, questions remain: how is it possible that the LRA could kill and maim the displaced wananchi and set fire to the camp undisturbed for over three hours? Remember that this took place in an area barely 10 km away from another camp for displaced people, in Abia, where just over two weeks earlier a similar LRA attack had killed around 50 people. Why are all these camps not better protected: by UPDF soldiers instead of by armed civilians who, according to a UPDF spokesman, have not been trained well enough? Are these just major errors, or is there evil intent at play?? For years it has been a government policy to shepherd people in the northern districts into so-called protected camps. Farmers who refuse to be herded into these camps are officially considered LRA supporters. Thereby, large parts of the Langi and Acholi populations of the north are cut off from their only sources of livelihood. The "protected camps" would be a laughing matter if the situation were not so bitter. Not only are food, drinking water and hygienic/sanitary facilities lacking direly. A series of attacks on these camps by the LRA shows that wananchi are far from protected here. Hundreds of men, women and children have lost their lives because the "protected camp" they were in was manned by only one or two soldiers. There are many examples of camps attacked by the LRA while UPDF units located at just a few kilometres away didn't intervene. Until here, it can all be seen as a combination of human errors and bad military coordination. Let's turn therefore to the official reactions to these horrific events. Denial of obvious truths is a common trait in Kampala. The mass murder of around 50 civilians in Abia was, according to Museveni, not a massacre. An intelligence officer for Lira uttered the same nonsense on BBC radio after the drama in Ogur, while also stating that only 82 civilians had died. According to Kampala, the LRA's days are numbered. This has been the government position since the early 1990s. Several self-imposed deadlines for an end to the war have passed, without any consequences for those who set those deadlines, like Museveni or his younger brother and former UPDF commander Salim Saleh. However, as we all know, the war is not being won. The UPDF is seemingly incapable of controlling Uganda's north. Ironically, the same army division that is responsible for security in the north, only a few years ago effectively controlled almost one-fourth of DR Congo, an area roughly three times the size of the whole of Uganda! There are always lousy, semi-military excuses for this failure to defeat the LRA. For a long time, it was alleged that the LRA couldn't be defeated because the army could never hunt them down all the way to their bases in southern Sudan. Then the Sudanese government allowed the UPDF to operate inside Sudan. Operation Iron Fist would now bring the final blow to the rag-tag army of abducted child soldiers. As we all know, this final blow did not defeat the rebels at all. Instead, it served as a catalyst for terror. The destruction of the LRA camps in Sudan was like uprooting a nest of wasps, who subsequently spread and dispersed all over northern Uganda, creating greater havoc and destruction than ever before. Kampala has always obstructed alternative military solutions to the conflict. When last year a group of MPs from the north suggested engaging mercenaries to root out the LRA, the government blocked this idea, arguing that it would be an embarrassment for the army to acknowledge that they are not up to the job. As if all those years of not defeating the LRA were not embarrassing. As if embarrassment were not a small price to pay to save the lives of hundreds, perhaps thousands of innocent civilians. The latest strategy to supposedly contain the crisis is civilian self-defense groups, called Amuka or Rhino Boys in Lira. The government provides these civilians with arms and training. Here is another tragedy in the making. Kampala knows all too well what happens if you flood a region with small arms, and how difficult it is to control the ownership of these weapons. The government has had ample opportunities to learn this lesson in the Karamoja area. In a region where ethnic tensions are currently on the rise, Kampala has decided to pump more AK-47s into Lira district. This is a recipe for another civil war. It is very hard not to see an evil hand in this latest move. The reasons for these sinister policies in the north are obvious. Uganda has ever since colonial times been divided between the north and the south. Throughout recent history, the populations of the south have feared the northerners. Many of Uganda's post-colonial woes were unleashed upon the country by brutal northerners like Amin and Obote. Museveni is the first southerner to rule Uganda for a long time. It seems that he is all too happy to keep the north weak and in crisis. A weak north can never be a threat to the increasingly prosperous south. If Museveni were sincere about winning the war with the LRA, he could do worse than reread his autobiography, Sowing the Mustard Seed. The book is an account of the difficult guerilla war that Museveni's NRA rebels waged against the troops of Obote. A guerilla war can only be successful if it has support from the population, Museveni argues elaborately in his book. The LRA, with its campaign of terror against its own people, can hardly be said to be popular anymore among the northerners. Instead of capitalising on this, and making sure that the UPDF gets the people's support in their fight against the hard core of the rebels, the tactics of the past 18 years have only estranged the northern Ugandans from the army. Terror by army soldiers, southerners dispatched to the north, has for years driven the population into supporting the LRA. Although that situation has changed over the past few years, Museveni has sinned against his own rule No. 1 ever since LRA leader Kony took up arms. Of course, all this is not to say that the LRA leadership is not to blame for the years of terror. Obviously these maniacs bear the first responsibility for the unmentionable suffering of northern Uganda's people. But the government, instead of fulfilling its responsibilities towards its own people, it is doing a good job pretending that it is doing everything in its power to bring an end to this drama. The president's decision last week to set himself up in Lira "until the LRA is defeated" is only the most recent example of this successful PR campaign. But let us not be duped. The facts speak for themselves. The way that the Museveni government has in fact chosen to ignore its responsibilities, and the way that it continues to deliberately let this terror simmer, amounts to a sin equal to that of the LRA. The writer is an aid worker with extensive experience in northern Uganda.

News 24 SA 4 Mar 2004 Ugandan king sues Britain 0 Kampala - A Ugandan king is demanding a trillion pounds in compensation from the British monarchy for decimating the population of his kingdom in the late 1890s, a spokesperson for the king said on Thursday. Solomon Gafabusa Iguru, head of Uganda's Bunyoro kingdom, also accuses British soldiers of plundering property, cattle and crops from his land during the British occupation between 1894 and 1990. In a lawsuit, to be filed with the Hague-based International court of justice this month, and with the British Commission in Kampala, he claims that British colonial forces wiped out Bunyoro's two million strong population in just six years. "We are seriously suing the Queen of England and the British government for atrocities committed and the genocide carried out during the invasion of Bunyoro Kitara. Our grandfathers never took it up because they were dehumanised, lost glory and pride," the king's spokesperson, Ernest Kiiza told Deutsche Presse Agentur, dpa. The British Commission in Kampala confirmed it had received a copy of the lawsuit, but said it would seek legal advice before releasing an offical reaction. - Sapa-dpa Edited by Anthea Jonathan

New Vision (Kampala) 18 Mar 2004 Kony Trial to Go On, Says ICC By Jude Etyang Kampala THE International Criminal Court (ICC) yesterday said Uganda's delayed payment of the membership fee did not influence the progress of the investigations against Joseph Kony's rebel atrocities. The spokesperson of the ICC, Claudia Perdomo, said although Uganda has to contribute to the running of the court, it was not a pre-condition for the court to take action in Uganda. President Yoweri Museveni requested the ICC last December to investigate and prosecute the LRA rebels terrorising northern Uganda for war crimes. "Since the court depends on States Parties assessed contributions for its investigation and prosecution of crimes under the Statute, it was important that all States Parties pay their assessed contributions in full and on time. "The Rome Statute of the ICC contains no provision with respect to a pre-condition payment of a State Party for the court to execute its jurisdiction," said Perdomo.

East African 22 Mar 2004 Uganda 'Could Slide into Genocide' By A. MUTUMBA-LULE THE EASTAFRICAN POINTING AT the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 and the chaos that engulfed Somalia following the collapse of the government in 1991, the church and legislators in Uganda have warned that the current situation in the north and east of the country seems to be headed the same way. Says Canon Grace Kaiso the executive secretary of Uganda Joint Christian Council (UJCC), "The creation of militias to defend villages is causing a bigger problem as these people are not soldiers and their training is limited. Their major interest is to defend a particular tribe against another." UJCC brings together the Roman Catholic, the Anglican and the Orthodox churches in Uganda. Similar concerns were expressed by the Prevent Genocide International meeting in Stockholm in January, which warned that Uganda was among countries where a genocide was likely to happen. The UJCC urged the government to move quickly, possibly through dialogue, to tackle insecurity in northern Uganda if it wanted, to avoid a repeat of the Rwanda genocide in 1994, in which over 800,000 people were killed. Canon Kaiso suggested that dialogue and training of the militia to give them a national outlook was one solution to the problem. He said that the church had already made contact with third parties outside Uganda who were willing to mediate in the intractable conflict, which has been going on for the past 17 years. Members of Parliament from the war torn area have supported the militia training proposal, saying that although currently the militias are protecting people, it is highly likely that they will soon become a problem, since they are not under the command of the national army. "The army is trained to protect and defend citizens, but the militias' objective is to shoot and kill the enemy," said one legislator. In a meeting with the MPs, President Yoweri Museveni sought to quell resentment that has built up in ethnic groups in northern Uganda following the February 21 massacre of 200 people in Barlonyo Internally Displaced Persons camp, and the subsequent demonstration in which some Acholi people said they had been targeted. He cautioned the legislators against tribalising the atrocities committed by the Lord's Resistance Army rebels and said most Acholis did not support the LRA leader Joseph Kony. Human rights and NGOs working in northern Uganda have also warned of the possibility of ethnic conflict erupting in the region, pointing at the Lira debacle. They say the frequent cattle rustling raids between the Iteso and Karamojong are another flashpoint requiring close monitoring particularly now that Teso militiamen are armed. At the height of rebel attacks last year, the government endorsed an idea floated by local leaders and elders in the troubled regions to create militia groups to work alongside the Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF). Two militias, Arrow and Rhino, from Teso and Lango respectively, were created last June, followed by a third, the Elephant, in the Acholi region. The aim was to give the local people an active role in protecting their villages, as the government and the army had admitted their limitations in fighting off the rebels. "It is our concern as legislators from Acholi that the UPDF should command and manage the militias. They should not be left under the control of civilians," said Zachary Olum of Nwoya county in Gulu district. He said that the deployment and welfare of the militias should also be looked into if the government was to end insecurity in the area, but insisted that the militias would only succeed if they were under the command of the UPDF, which would train them to army standards. Speaking to The EastAfrican, legislator Alice Alaso Asianit said there was the added risk of the militias shifting their loyalties to the different leaders in the regions. She said this was likely to happen if the government did not take charge of their welfare and instil discipline in them. The church is also understood to be working on an arrangement in which interaction between different communities is encouraged in order to deal with some historical issues that fanned the crisis. The issues underpinning the ethnic clashes in the region and the causes that gave rise to them have never been addressed. Additional reporting by Barbara Among


Mail&Guardian ZA 1 Mar 2004 www.mg.co.za Zimbabwe's torture camps Zimbabwe's ruling party is training children as young as 12 to torture and kill its political opponents, the British Broadcasting Corporation reported on Sunday. The BBC's investigative programme Panorama said it had interviewed dozens of veterans of training camps for youth militias loyal to President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party. They reported being subjected to rape and beatings inside the camps and to being taught to torture and kill Mugabe's opponents, the BBC said. "In their training camps the Zimbabwean government is subjecting thousands of innocent youths to rape, brainwashing and brutality," the BBC said in a statement about the programme issued before its broadcast on Sunday. "It is all part of an horrific process designed to mold youths loyal to Robert Mugabe and his Zanu party." The programme included an interview with a young woman identified as Debbie, who said she was repeatedly raped at one such camp. She said she was told that "no one can complain because it's part of training". Another youth, Daniel, said he was taught how to torture people using electric shocks. The BBC said an estimated 50 000 youths had passed through the camps, which the Zimbabwean government says are job training centres. A man identified as a former government employee named George told the BBC that rape was common in the camps, and senior officials avoided sending their children there. "You are moulding someone to listen to you, so if it means rapes have to take place in order for that person to take instruction from you, then it's OK," he said. Mugabe's regime has been widely condemned for human rights abuses, especially since his disputed 2002 presidential election victory. Opposition leaders and independent observers said Mugabe used intimidation and vote rigging to win re-election and continue his authoritarian rule. Mugabe, in power since Zimbabwe gained independence in 1980, has stepped up a crackdown on dissent, arresting opposition and labour leaders and shutting down the country's only independent daily newspaper. Over the last few years ruling party militants have attacked opposition supporters, firebombing opposition party offices and white-owned farms, attacking homes and business and allegedly killing, kidnapping, torturing and beating those seen as Mugabe's opponents. Scores of people have been killed, mostly black opposition supporters. - Sapa-AP

BBC 3 Mar 2004US imposes penalties on Zimbabwe By Jon Leyne BBC correspondent in Washington Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe has defied foreign critics The US government has imposed a new series of sanctions on Zimbabwe because of what Washington says is the deteriorating situation there. The state department said President Robert Mugabe seemed determined to hold on to power at any cost. Amongst other things, the new sanctions target government-owned companies and Information Minister Jonathan Moyo. The US and Europe already have a number of sanctions in place against the Zimbabwean government. The state department said the worsening situation in Zimbabwe over the last month had prompted it to impose the new sanctions. It highlighted the dispersal of peaceful demonstrations, the closure of independent newspapers and new powers taken by the Zimbabwean government to arrest and detain suspects without charge. The new sanctions also hit a government-owned arms manufacturer and a company owned by the ruling Zanu-PF party. Washington is calling on the Zimbabwean government to open immediate talks with the opposition. It has warned it is willing to impose further sanctions if there is no sign of political progress.

News 24 SA 2 Mar 2004 DA warns of 'Zim genocide' SCape Town - Opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Tony Leon said on Tuesday that it was not impossible that there may be a politically motivated genocide in Zimbabwe in the coming months. Speaking at a news conference on the failure of South Africa's foreign policy regarding Zimbabwe at his party's campaign headquarters in Johannesburg, Leon said that after much consideration of available evidence "including the recent revelations on BBC television of government sponsored murder and torture training camps, we believe there is now a possibility that (President Robert) Mugabe's regime may begin to engage in the systematic murder and torture of its political opponents in the run up to the next election". An election in Zimbabwe is scheduled to take place early next year. Leon said agents of the Mugabe government and Zanu-PF loyalists had already engaged in mass intimidation, scores of opposition activists had been brutally tortured and rape had also been a means of intimidation. He said Zimbabwean parliament Speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa, who he was tipped to succeed Mugabe as president, was head of the Central Intelligence Organisation during the 1982-87 Matabeleland genocide. Leon noted that he had been embraced at the ruling African National Congress conference in Stellenbosch in December 2002. Leon charged that Mugabe had reportedly visited the camps and his government had full knowledge of what was going on inside them. "Genocide is thus by no means an impossible outcome of this process, given the disturbing precedent of the Matabeleland massacres of the 1980s." Leon suggested it would be "deeply irresponsible" of the South African government and the international community not to make contingency plans in the event that the Mugabe government and his ruling Zanu-PF "begin to kill or rape large numbers of Zimbabweans" in the election run-up. "One of the greatest failings of the international community during the 1990s was its inability and unwillingness to take action to avert genocide in Rwanda. In the case of Zimbabwe, it would be tragic if the international community waited until it was too late to avert disaster." Leon said his party would write to France - which currently presides over the UN Security Council - to outline our concerns and request the Security Council to make a concrete contingency plan which could be implemented in the event that mass killings or mass rapes begin in Zimbabwe. It would also write to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and request that he open an investigation "into the crimes of Robert Mugabe and his associates". Edited by Tisha Steyn

BBC 8 Mar 2004 Zimbabwe 'seizes US cargo plane' The plane has been moved to a Zimbabwean military base A US-registered cargo plane with 64 suspected mercenaries on board has been impounded in Harare, Zimbabwe's Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi has said. The Boeing 727-100 was held on Sunday after it had "made a false declaration of its cargo and crew," Mr Mohadi said. He said the plane was carrying mercenaries of differing nationalities and "military materiel". The US embassy in Harare said it had not been informed of the incident, and was trying to get more details. Mr Mohadi told a news conference that the plane was detained at 1930 local time (1730GMT) at Harare International Airport on Sunday. He said the plane was carrying "64 suspected mercenaries of various nationalities" and "military material". The minister said an investigation was under way to establish the men's identities and their "ultimate mission". South African crisps Western journalists were not able to see the plane as Mr Mohadi said it had been moved to a military base. But state-run television broadcast pictures of a white plane with the number N4610, showing it was registered in Kansas in the United States. The equipment included bolt cutters, sledgehammers and army boots Their footage showed Zimbabwean military personnel displaying to the camera some of the equipment on board. It included sledgehammers, bolt cutters, walkie-talkies, loudhailers, sleeping bags and heavy duty boots. There was also what appeared to be a small canister of mace spray and a packet of crisps of South African origin - but no weapons. It was not immediately clear what had happened to those on board the plane. Mr Mohadi said a full statement would be released later. A US embassy spokesperson in Harare said the Zimbabwean Government had not communicated with them about the plane, and they had no idea where it was coming from or heading too.



Globe and Mail 9 Mar 2004 www.globeandmail.com Annan challenges Canada to take leading role PTuesday. By OLIVER MOORE United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has called for Ottawa to play in lead role in building a new global order that will convince members states that there is no need for solo action. “The debate over the use of force in Iraq has brought into sharp relief the urgent need for a system of collective security that inspires genuine confidence, so that no states feels obliged to resort to unilateral action,” Mr. Annan said in an address Tuesday to both Houses of Parliament. “What we need is a new global consensus,” he added. “...Canada, with its long tradition of bridge-building among different international constituencies, can play an important role.” In his speech, which was punctuated by 10 ovations from the assembled MPs and Senators, Mr. Annan said that warfare changed substantially in the decade following the end of the Cold War, with most conflicts now happening within states, leading to new problems that require new solutions. “An instinctive reaction is that something must be done,” he said, “but we are not always sure what, or how or by whom.” Citing the specific case of Iraq -- long ruled by a leader who flouted numerous United Nations resolutions -- he acknowledged that the debate over what to do about Saddam Hussein had been deeply divisive to the community of nations. “My starting point, as you would expect [from] a Secretary-General of the United Nations, is multilateralist,” he said. “From that perspective we are not doing very well. We have yet to find collective answers to the new so-called ‘hard threats' to international peace and security.” The debates over Iraq have shown the need for a new agreement on how to deal with dictators, warlords and human-rights abusers, he said, warning that these threats can spill over national borders and pose a global danger. “These threats disrupt, disfigure and destroy the lives of many millions of our fellow human beings. The response to these problems cannot be viewed in isolation from our broader concept of security,” he said. “I have proposed the establishment of a special rapporteur or adviser on the prevention of genocide, to make clear the link, which is often ignored until it's too late, between massive an systematic violations of human rights and threats to international peace and security.” In introducing Mr. Annan, Prime Minister Paul Martin drew attention to Canadians who had played or are playing lead roles in United Nations work. In return, Mr. Annan praised Canada for being “a model” member of the UN. “For years, Canada has been one of the pillars of the United Nations,” he said. “In fact, it would be difficult to imagine the United Nations without Canada. And I would go so far as to say that it would be difficult to imagine Canada without the United Nations.”

Creation Of UN Adviser On Prevention Of Genocide Wednesday, 10 March 2004, 12:03 pm Press Release: United Nations Annan Calls For The Creation Of UN Adviser On Prevention Of Genocide As the 10-year anniversary of the Rwandan genocide approaches, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today proposed the establishment of a Special Rapporteur or Adviser on the prevention of genocide. In an http://www.un.org/apps/sg/sgstats.asp?nid=811 address to both houses of the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa, Mr. Annan said "we can no longer afford gaps in existing capacity to provide early warning of genocide or comparable crimes." He said a rapporteur would "compel us to reflect on how to avoid similar atrocities [to Rwanda in 1994] in the future," adding the post would make clear the link "between massive and systematic violations of human rights and threats to international peace and security." In a wide-ranging address, the Secretary-General issued a plea for a long-term commitment to help Haiti and its people, called for a new global consensus on the threats and challenges ahead, and said the affluent nations of the North "will have to do their fair share" of support if developing countries are to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. Mr. Annan also praised Canada as "a pillar of support for the UN," saying it has a deserved reputation as an exemplary international actor and has long played a role in promoting peace and development. The parliamentary address by Mr. Annan followed meetings with Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin and with members of his governing Cabinet. The situation in Haiti was discussed during the talks. When he arrived in Ottawa yesterday, Mr. Annan http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2004/sgsm9189.doc.htm told Canada's Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson that the country's diverse, multilingual society "forms a kind of UN of its own." Today the Secretary-General also laid a wreath at Canada's memorial to fallen UN peacekeepers. Mr. Annan returns to New York tomorrow.

United NAtions 9 Mar 2004 www.un.org/apps/sg/ Ottawa, Canada, 9 March 2004 [excerpts] - Secretary-General's address to the Canadian Parliament Prime Minister Martin, Speakers of both the Senate and House, Honourable Members of the Senate, Members of the House of Commons, Ladies and Gentlemen, Thank you for giving me such a warm welcome. I am very pleased to be here in Ottawa today, and I thank the Prime Minister most warmly for giving me the opportunity to address you. As you know, the United Nations' Charter opens with the phrase “we the Peoples”. Since becoming Secretary-General in 1997, I have made a determined effort to bring the United Nations closer to “the peoples”. I have also tried to have the voice of the peoples heard more directly at the United Nations. This is why I am particularly glad to be here with you, the representatives through whom the people of Canada make their voice heard. It is often said that “all politics is local”. Yet in our globalised age, local events are connected, in a myriad of ways, with situations far afield. We need but glance at the headlines over recent weeks—about new diseases and climate change, for instance—to grasp the important link between the global and the local. As citizens of an outward-looking country, you in Canada are keenly aware of this, and in many ways you have been able to make the best of globalisation, while working to minimise its negative effects, for Canada and for the world. Throughout the years, Canada has been a pillar of support for the United Nations. Indeed it's hard to imagine the United Nations without Canada and, I might even say, it has become hard to imagine Canada without the United Nations. Your country's multicultural character and bilingual tradition give it special qualifications as an exemplary member of our Organisation. Canada played a key role in the drafting of the UN Charter. You have contributed to practically every aspect of our work, whether in peacekeeping or in the promotion of the UN's development agenda. You have pioneered important disarmament and humanitarian efforts. The very name of this city has become synonymous with the treaty to ban anti-personnel landmines. And I am delighted to hear that Toronto may soon house a University for Peace Centre, which I hope, working with other Canadian institutions, will enable Canada to make an even greater contribution to UN conflict prevention and peace-building. Canadians have been prominently involved in the United Nations since its early days. John Humphrey was one of the principal drafters of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. In 1955, Paul Martin Senior, the father of your present Prime Minister, helped overcome political and procedural obstacles to the rapid expansion of UN membership—paving the way for the near universality which is today one of our Organisation's most important assets. Lester Pearson even received the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to resolve the Suez Crisis—a process in which he helped to invent the very concept of peacekeeping. It is because I have seen what Canada can bring to the work of the United Nations that I was heartened by the words of Her Excellency the Governor General during the opening session of this Parliament last month, when she expressed the desire for Canada to have a role of pride and influence in the world—to bring Canadian values to international affairs and to “create a world where fairness, justice and decency reign”. When hearing those words, my reaction is, as so often when I think about Canada: “we can work together”. And indeed we need to. . . Ladies and Gentlemen, The past year was a particularly difficult one for the United Nations and for me personally. We suffered some bitter blows, including the devastating attack on our staff in Baghdad and the loss of some of our most dedicated friends and colleagues. The persistent instability in Iraq and its regional repercussions are a matter of profound concern to all of us. Now, we are confronted with the challenge of helping Iraqis recover their sovereignty under a fully representative Government. The debate over the use of force in Iraq has brought into sharp relief the urgent need for a system of collective security that inspires genuine confidence, so that no State feels obliged to resort to unilateral action. That is why, in November of last year, I appointed a High Level Panel charged with producing a rigorous assessment of the threats affecting us today and in the foreseeable future. It is my hope that it will help us move away from stereotypes such as the notion that terrorism and weapons of mass destruction are of concern only to the “North”, while poverty and hunger only affect people in the “South”. I would also hope that the Panel will produce recommendations intended to make the United Nations as effective an instrument of collective action as possible against threats both old and new. The panel is rightly canvassing the views of governments and civil society throughout the world, and I am sure that Canada will make an important contribution to its work. What we need is a new global consensus. For this, the active and committed involvement of the Organisation's membership will be vital. I am looking ahead to a serious, engaged debate. The decisions needed to make our Organisation more effective will require a high degree of political will among Member States—the will to achieve necessary change, but also to make it possible by compromise. Here too, Canada, with its long tradition of bridge-building among different international constituencies, can play an important role. Already, Canada has shown leadership in promoting valuable new ideas on ways to strengthen peaceful global governance. Canadian initiatives—such as the “Responsibility to Protect” concept, developed by the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty—have changed the way we think about some of the most important issues facing us. I applaud Canada's focus on the rights and dignity of the individual—an approach that has helped alter the terms of the debate on intervention and sovereignty in a creative and promising way. The individual is the basis on which every free, democratic society is built. As a result, we increasingly conceive of sovereignty as involving the responsibility of States, in the first instance, to protect their own populations. When that protection is lacking, all of us in the international community share responsibility to protect our fellow human beings from massive and systematic violations of human rights, wherever and whenever they occur. In this context, the approaching 10-year anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda must give us pause and compel us to reflect on how to avoid similar atrocities in the future. We can no longer afford gaps in existing capacity to provide early warning of genocide or comparable crimes. I have proposed the establishment of a Special Rapporteur or Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide—to make clear the link, which is often ignored until too late, between massive and systematic violations of human rights and threats to international peace and security. More broadly, I look forward to the day when the concept of our shared “responsibility to protect” encompasses the sense of a global obligation to reach out and help our fellow human beings, whenever they are most in need. Ladies and Gentlemen, Prime Minister Martin has called on Canada to pursue “a new politics of achievement”, and to “ensure a place of influence and pride for Canada in the world”. I subscribe to that plea and I challenge you to renew, with even greater determination, your great tradition of international engagement. I look forward to working with you. Thank you very much.

Calgary Herald 11 Mar 2004 www.canada.com/calgary/calgaryherald UN must adapt, says Dallaire Sean Myers Despite its failings, the United Nations is a vital and maturing tool in international relations retired Lt.-Gen. Romeo Dallaire told a packed crowd of more than 400 people at the downtown library Wednesday night. "The UN is not a nation, it is an entity that we created," said Dallaire, responding to a question from the audience. "Don't let member nations get away with not honouring their commitments." Dallaire commanded the UN peacekeeping mission in Rwanda when about 800,000 people were killed during a mass genocide in 1994. He has since written a book about his experiences. He was in Calgary to speak about conflict, international relations and the moral responsibility of developed nations towards the Third World. He ended by talking about the impact of war on children. Dallaire said classic warfare fought between two armies with a border separating them has become the exception in the post-Cold War world, and we are in an era of continuous conflict that uses children as weapons. He told the audience a of a grotesque piece of logic that was used by one western official to justify why help in Rwanda would not be forthcoming in 1994 -- that 85,000 Africans would have to die to justify the death of one First World soldier. "Humanity is not progressing, it is splitting (because of that kind of thinking)," said Dallaire.

United Nations 13 Mar 2004 Press Release SG/SM/9197 AFR/860 TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF RWANDA GENOCIDE SHOULD PROMPT REMORSE, RESOLVE SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL TO OTTAWA SYMPOSIUM Following is Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s message to the Symposium on the Media and the Rwanda Genocide at Carleton University School of Journalism and Communication in Ottawa, 13 March: When, on 7 April, people around the world commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, that observance should be filled not only with remorse, but with resolve. We must remember the victims –- the hundreds of thousands of men, women and children abandoned to systematic slaughter while the world, which had the capacity to save most of them, failed to save more than a handful, forever sullying the collective conscience. We must also help the survivors still struggling with the physical and psychological scars. But most of all, we must pledge –- to ourselves as moral beings and to each other as a human community -– to act boldly, including through military action when no other course will work, to ensure that such a denial of our common humanity is never allowed to happen again. The United Nations has now had 10 years to reflect on the bitter knowledge that genocide happened while United Nations peacekeepers were on the ground in Rwanda, and to learn lessons that all humankind should have learned from previous genocides. We are determined to sound the alarm about emerging crises and to help countries tackle the root causes of their problems. I expect soon to appoint a United Nations special adviser on the prevention of genocide, and to make other proposals for strengthening our action in this area. It is encouraging to know that the news media are also undertaking a process of self-examination as we collectively remember this tragedy. Media were used in Rwanda to spread hatred, to dehumanize people, and even to guide the genocidaires toward their victims. Three journalists have even been found guilty of genocide, incitement to genocide, conspiracy and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. We must find a way to respond to such abuses of power without violating the principles of freedom, which are an indispensable cornerstone of democracy. I am glad that you are confronting these and other questions, including the role of the international media, especially at a school where future journalists are being trained. Such training must include reflection on the responsibilities of their chosen profession. There can be no more important issue, and no more binding obligation, than the prevention of genocide. The world has made some progress in understanding the responsibility to protect. Yet it is still not clear, were the signs of impending genocide to be seen somewhere today, that the world would mount an effective response. I hope that all of us, as diplomats, journalists, government officials or just concerned citizens, will act promptly and effectively, each within our sphere of influence, to halt genocide wherever it occurs -– or better still, to make sure there is no “next time”.


Dallas Morning News 18 Mar 2004 UNCOVERING GUATEMALA'S SECRETS: FORENSIC ANTHROPOLOGY FINDS CIVIL WAR VICTIMS, TELLS THEIR STORIES By JILL REPLOGLE / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News, Thursday, March 18, 2004 COMALAPA, Guatemala - Juan Carlos Gática has spent the last four years of his life digging around cornfields in rural Guatemala for human bones. Mr. Gática is an archaeologist, but instead of looking for remains of ancient Mayan civilizations, he searches for clandestine graves containing the victims of the country's 36-year civil war. "At the beginning we didn't know where to start digging," said Mr. Gática, 32, glancing at the peaceful, shaded hillside that was part of a former military outpost near the town of San Juan Comalapa, in central Guatemala. "But testimonies from locals helped us find the first clavicle." Six months of work at the Comalapa site has uncovered bones and remains of more than 100 victims, only a fraction of the estimated 250,000 who were killed or who disappeared during the war, which ended in 1996 and pitted leftist guerillas against the Guatemalan military. The Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala works with family members of victims to find their loved ones' remains and to provide crucial evidence for criminal cases against the killers. The work of the foundation, the largest of several forensic anthropology teams in Guatemala, was recently recognized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science for its role in promoting human rights. The foundation got its start in the early 1990s, thanks to Clyde Snow, a member of the American association. Before coming to Guatemala, Mr. Snow had helped form forensic anthropology teams in Argentina and Chile to investigate the murders and disappearances that took place in those countries during the "dirty wars" of the late '70s and early '80s. Mr. Snow's Guatemala team of eight anthropologists and archeologists, most of them still university students, carried out the country's first exhumation in 1992. Peace negotiations had barely begun in the country, and fear still reined strong. "Their youth allowed them to work without as much fear as others," said José Suasnavar, the Guatemala foundation's interim executive director. Mr. Suasnavar said that while entire rural villages were being slaughtered during the war, many people in urban areas did not know or did not believe that such violence was taking place. "During the first exhumations, few gave credit to the magnitude of the massacres," he said. "There were still people who said the bodies could be victims of the 1976 earthquake." Since that first exhumation, the foundation has found more than 2,000 bodies of men, women and children. Many of the corpses showed signs of torture and prolonged death, foundation officials said. Mr. Suasnavar said more than half of the victims uncovered to date are not registered in a U.N. truth commission report, which means the number of wartime deaths could be much greater than believed. Guatemala's majority Mayan indigenous population bore the brunt of the violence that raged through the countryside in the early 1980s, the result of "scorched-earth" counterinsurgency campaigns led by Guatemala's army. The U.N. truth commission attributed more than 90 percent of the human rights abuses committed during the war to the armed forces and paramilitary groups. On Feb. 25, National Victims Day in Guatemala, the National Coordinator of War Widows commemorated the deaths and disappearances of their husbands, brothers, sons and daughters in Comalapa with a plaque displaying the names of more than 200 victims. Margarita Paz hopes the exhumation at the army base will find her brother, who was kidnapped by soldiers in 1982. "I want to give him a sacred burial," Ms. Paz said. Carmen Cumes is looking for the remains of her husband, who was taken from their home by soldiers on the night of May 8, 1980. "We asked in the municipality, we searched the ditches and hospitals, but to date, we still don't know what happened to him," Ms. Cumes said. Social psychologists work alongside the forensic scientists, talking to victims' families and holding workshops on mental health and other issues in the communities. Some people suffer from alcoholism, anxiety sickness and memory loss as a result of trauma experienced during the war, said Sara Vasquez from the Mutual Support Group. "We have seen changes, but the fear still exists," Ms. Vasquez said. Uncovering the truth is not without risk. Foundation officials said many forensic anthropologists and archaeologists in Guatemala have received threats and suffered intimidation for their work. The foundation's executive director left the country after he and his family received death threats in 2002. Despite the potential danger, the anthropologists vow to keep working. "How can we say to a family member that we're not going to work because we're threatened?" asked Mr. Suasnavar. In Comalapa, the women of the war widows' group and other local volunteers assist Mr. Gática and his colleagues, and bring them lunch daily. Mr. Gática, from Guatemala City, has worked on numerous exhumations in rural areas. The young archaeologist explained his work as a series of emotional ups and downs: satisfaction when finding a grave, and pain as the victims' families try to identify their loved ones by the remaining bits of clothes that still cover their bones. "My work is contributing to the process of recuperating the victims, and, besides that, the people in the communities now have more courage to denounce all the things that happened in their communities." [Jill Replogle is a freelance writer based in Guatemala City, Guatemala.] === RIGHTS ACTION Rights Action is a multi-faceted development and human rights organization that raises funds for community development and human rights work in Southern Mexico, Central America (mainly Guatemala & Honduras) and Peru, and educates and is active about global development and human rights issues..


BBC 1 March, 2004 Troops fly in to 'lawless' Haiti Canadian special forces secured the capital's airport French troops have landed in Haiti to join US and Canadian soldiers in an international force to restore order. The first groups of about 50 French soldiers and 100 US marines will be followed by reinforcements in a mission backed by the United Nations. Lawlessness ripped through the capital Port-au-Prince after President Jean-Bertrand Aristide fled into exile. An overnight curfew brought some order to the streets, but control is still split between opposing armed gangs. Several hundred French soldiers were expected to arrive in Haiti by Monday night, and Paris has also dispatched a platoon of police officers from a special riot control unit. The BBC's Stephen Gibbs in Port-au-Prince says the international troops are entering a lawless city, with some evidence of vengeance killings as anti-government rebels clash with supporters of Mr Aristide. MULTINATIONAL FORCE US marines Canadian special forces French troops French police More countries expected to join later But he says the amateur soldiers roaming the streets are likely to capitulate when faced with professionals from an international force. Violence flared after Mr Aristide fled the country, with some of the widespread looting and destruction apparently a frustrated response to the ceding of power. Mr Aristide, his wife and three children arrived in the Central African Republic early on Monday. It is not yet clear whether they will stay there or seek asylum in a third country. Military arrivals The first deployment of about 100 US marines is reported to be establishing a base at the airport in Port-au-Prince to secure it for future military arrivals. Canadian special forces are also at the airport, where they are helping Canadian nationals who wish to leave Haiti. US defence officials say more troops will be sent to Haiti and the US will take initial command of the multinational force, though that could change once the full UN operation begins. As well as trying to restore peace in Port-au-Prince, the US marines will help to deliver humanitarian assistance and repatriate any Haitians caught at sea. US Secretary of State Colin Powell said he did not anticipate the US military contingent being anywhere near the 20,000 troops President Clinton sent there in 1994. "I don't think there will be a great deal of fighting, but they have to be prepared for that," Mr Powell told CBS's "The Early Show". The UN Security Council unanimously authorised a force to stay in Haiti for up to three months to restore security and stability on Sunday night. It is expected to be followed by a UN stabilisation force, probably including civilian police, which has no time limit. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said the international community needed to make a long-term commitment to help Haiti "over the long haul". Peace pleas All sides in the Haitian conflict have also called for peace. Rebel leader Guy Philippe, who had been massing his men for an assault on the capital, welcomed the foreign intervention, said: "We just want peace." Interim leader Boniface Alexandre warned that the future would be difficult. HAVE YOUR SAY The departure of President Aristide will leave a vacuum that will be very hard to fill Georges, Cayes, Haiti Send us your comments "Haiti is in crisis... It needs all its sons and daughters. No-one should take justice into their own hands," he urged. Mr Aristide issues a statement from his temporary shelter in the Central African Republic, criticising the rebels who prompted the crisis by seizing towns and cities across the north in a month-long uprising. "In overthrowing me, they cut down the tree of peace," he was quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency. "But it will grow again, because the roots are well-planted." The violent protests stemmed from disputed elections in 2000, which the opposition says were rigged.

AFP 1 Mar 2004 Haiti crisis chronology PORT-AU-PRINCE, March 1 (AFP) - Chronology of events leading to the arrival of international peacekeepers after Sunday's resignation and flight of Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide: -- Feb 1: Thousands take to the streets of the capital, Port-au-Prince, to demand that Aristide stand down, accusing him of rigging elections in 2000. -- Feb 4: Aristide, a former shantytown priest, insists he will finish his five-year term, which ends in February 2006. -- Feb 5: Gonaives, Haiti's fourth-largest city, falls to rebels. Eleven people killed. -- Feb 7: Thousands demonstrate in the capital in favor of Aristide. -- Feb 13: The United States, Canada and the 15-nation Caribbean Community voice opposition to Aristide's being forced out. -- Feb 17: French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin proposes sending an international peace force to Haiti, an idea ruled out by the United States. -- Feb 21: Aristide accepts an internationally backed power-sharing plan that would let him finish his term with reduced powers. -- Feb 22: Rebels led by Guy Philippe take Cap-Haitien, Haiti's second-largest city, leaving about 10 dead. Rebels now control about half of country. -- Feb 23: International community presents a new version of its plan but the Haitian opposition insists Aristide must stand down. Fifty US Marines arrive in Port-au-Prince to guard US embassy. -- Feb 26: France says Aristide must stand down and hand over to a transitional government. -- Feb 27: Rebels take Cayes, the third-largest city, and 92 UN and EU staffers leave Port-au-Prince. United States and Canada also end support for Aristide and call on him to consider his future. -- Feb 28: Rebels take Mirebalais. Looting and revenge killings erupt in Port-au-Prince. -- Feb 28: The United States blames the crisis on Aristide, with a White House statement saying his "failure to adhere to democratic principles" called into question his fitness to govern. -- Feb 29: Aristide resigns and flees to exile in the Central African Republic. Supreme Court chief justice Boniface Alexandre assumes interim power. -- Feb 29: US Marines arrive in Haiti to launch an international peacekeeping force after the UN Security Council authorizes the deployment. -- March 1: Aristide arrives in the Central African Republic, where officials say he will stay a few days before heading into exile in South Africa.

South Florida Sun-Sentinel, FL 2 Mar 2004 www.sun-sentinel.com Deported war criminal freed in Haiti By Jim Stratton Sentinel Staff Writer Posted March 2 2004 A week ago, Jean-Claude Duperval sat in Haiti's national penitentiary while panicky family members in Orlando chased down rumors that he had been killed by supporters of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Now, Duperval is a free man. The convicted war criminal and former Haitian general was among the thousands of convicts released Sunday from the country's largest prison when rebels drove into Port-au-Prince. Duperval's family members here are ecstatic. Just a month ago, they watched as the United States shipped Duperval back to Haiti, where he had been convicted in 2000 for his role in a 1994 politically motivated massacre. On Sunday, Duperval spoke to family members in Central Florida via cell phone. He was out of prison and, for the time being, safe. He did not say where he was staying. "He said, tell everyone: 'Thank you for your prayers,' " said Duperval's brother-in-law Eli Pierre. "Everybody is happy." Not everyone. Human-rights advocates say the release of Duperval and others endangers witnesses and lawyers who helped prosecute them. Some of those witnesses, sources said, have already gone into hiding. "There's a real threat to their lives," a human-rights worker based in Port-au-Prince said Monday. The former prisoners "are going to take revenge." In 2000, Duperval and more than 30 other members of the military were convicted in absentia for their role in the 1994 massacre in the village of Raboteau. In that attack, gunmen killed more than two dozen men, women and children thought to be supporters of Aristide. Though Duperval was not accused of killing anyone or ordering the attack, prosecutors said as the military's second-in-command he encouraged such violence and failed to punish the perpetrators. Duperval's family claims he had nothing to do with Raboteau and that his conviction was politically motivated. International observers, however, say the Raboteau trial set a new standard for fairness in Haiti. With conditions on the island in flux, it was unclear Monday what Duperval and the other released prisoners would do. His family said Duperval's supporters want to see whether he's willing to help re-establish the Haitian military or serve in a provisional government. "We don't know what the American government would say about that," Pierre said. Amnesty International urged international officials to prevent that, saying, "under no circumstances" should anyone "implicated in serious human-rights abuses" be given a position of authority. Duperval was a top-ranking general when the military overthrew Aristide in early 1994. When the United States helped reinstall Aristide later that year, Duperval's superiors were sent into exile while he was asked to help oversee the transition. In return, he and his daughter were allowed to come to the United States in 1995. He settled in Orlo Vista, working for several years as a boat pilot at Walt Disney World. In January -- more than three years after his war-crimes conviction -- U.S. officials arrested Duperval and sent him back to Haiti. He arrived just as the country's rebellion reached the boiling point.

AP 2 Mar 2004 Convicted Assassin Gets Role in Haiti By PAISLEY DODDS Associated Press Writer March 2, 2004, 11:13 PM EST PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Rebel leader Louis-Jodel Chamblain, a convicted killer and accused death squad leader, says he has no plans of fading into the shadows. President Jean-Bertrand Aristide fled Haiti Sunday -- a departure that created a power vacuum and raised concern that gunmen who terrorized this Caribbean nation in decades past would return to influence. "I'm commanding operations," Chamblain told The Associated Press Tuesday inside the old headquarters of Haiti's disbanded army, where rebels are setting up their headquarters. Chief rebel leader Guy Philippe announced he was "military chief," ordering Aristide's police commanders to meet with him or he'd arrest them. Philippe has not been linked to death squads, but rights groups charge he has a poor human rights record as a police official in the capital. As corpses show on the streets and reports surface of revenge attacks against members of Aristide's government, human rights groups are pressing interim leaders to rethink their position with rebel leaders like Chamblain. "These are the death squad people. These are the killers. These are the people I tried to prosecute in the 1990s," said human rights lawyer Michael Ratner, of the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York City. Four bodies were spotted Monday on a dirt road, three shot in the head execution-style, hands tied behind their backs. Two more bodies were on the street Tuesday, and six with gunshot wounds were brought to the morgue during the day. "We see it as a very disturbing portent for Haiti's future," said Joanne Mariner of Human Rights Watch. "There's a potential for a cycle of violence." She noted her organization has already received reports of reprisals against Aristide government officials, including the sacking of homes belonging to former Haitian Police Chief Jocelyn Pierre and government spokesman Mario Dupuy. Among other rebels, the rights groups are also concerned about Butteur Metayer, a street gang leader who freely admits that he used to go around terrorizing Aristide's opponents, and Remissainthe Ravix, one-time leader of armed youth groups that organized bloody protests against Haiti's government in the 1980s. Chamblain says he's never killed anyone and is against executions. But he allegedly ran death squads in the last years of Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier's dictatorship in the late 1980s and is more notorious for his role in the paramilitary Front for the Advancement of Progress of the Haitian People, or FRAPH. The acronym in French means "to thrash." Terrorizing supporters of Aristide's Lavalas Family party, the group was blamed for thousands of killings before a U.S. intervention ended three years of military rule in 1994. "I never committed murder. I am not a terrorist. I am not a drug dealer. I am not a criminal," Chamblain told the AP. He was, however, convicted in absentia and sentenced to life imprisonment for the 1993 murder of Aristide financier Antoine Izmery, who was dragged from Mass in a church, made to kneel outside and shot. A CIA intelligence memorandum implicated him in the 1993 assassination of Justice Minister Guy Malary. A sergeant in the Haitian army, Chamblain left the army in the late 1980s and reappeared in 1993 as FRAPH's co-founder.

Miami Herald 2 Mar 2004 SECURITY Who's in charge? No one knows Haitian police patrol Port-au-Prince even though no commanders are at their headquarters; U.S. troops stick to guarding the National Palace; and the rebels say they are not police replacements. By NANCY SAN MARTIN AND SUSANNAH A. NESMITH nsanmartin@herald.com PORT-AU-PRINCE -- As the convoy of armed rebels rolled past the National Palace on Monday, they ignored the few U.S. Marines guarding the seat of the Haitian government and headed to a police barracks across the street. ''At the moment, we are here to work with the police,'' said Romel Mont St. Jacques, a rebel commander and former police inspector. ``We had a mission -- to oust Aristide -- and now we are not here to replace the police.'' Rebels, cops and foreign troops have each staked out territory in this capital city since President Jean-Bertrand Aristide resigned and went into exile Sunday, but the relationship among the three forces remains in limbo. By Monday morning, the multinational forces numbered no more than 400. They included 200 U.S. Marines, 130-150 French gendarmes and soldiers and 30-50 Canadian security forces. But their mission was to prepare the way for the arrival of other forces -- some 2,000 Marines, up to 2,500 other foreign police and troops -- and there was no decision on whether they would try to exercise control over Port-au-Prince, said Raul Duany, spokesman for the Pentagon's Southern Command in Miami. ''I don't think we'll see any patrols going out to the city,'' Duany said. ``We need more personnel and a better definition of the mission.'' The Marines' current rules of engagement prohibit them from making contacts with the rebels, Duany added. But Marines did deploy a unit to guard the National Palace -- in effect protecting President Boniface Alexandre, the Supreme Court chief justice who replaced Aristide. From the cheerful welcome the rebels received when they entered Port-au-Prince on Monday, it would appear they are the new authority in the capital. But Haitians also cheered Sunday when the National Police took control of the capital's streets following a bloody outburst by Aristide supporters. The arrival of the foreign security forces helped tamp down the violence. But the political violence and looting since the insurgency against Aristide began Feb. 5 still hang over the city. NO COMMANDERS Police officers patrolled the streets again Monday. But at the national headquarters, no supervisors could be found. All the phones had been disconnected and the building, like many other police posts, had been thoroughly looted. ''There is no commander here,'' said an administrator who declined to give his name. ``Everything is disorganized. We are waiting for the international community to come and help us.'' Jocelyne Pierre, the director general for the National Police, said she was counting on the foreign forces to reestablish order but had not figured out how her police would cooperate with the foreign soldiers or the rebels. ''Today, I am here,'' she said. ``Tomorrow, there could be someone else.'' In the meantime, she said, she has tried to regain control of the force -- believed to have shrunk from 6,000 to less than 4,000 as the rebels pushed toward the capital and pro-Aristide gunmen took to the streets to defend him. ''I have requested for all the police in the territory to bring in their uniforms and badges so that they can distinguish themselves from the rest,'' Pierre said. ``We need to distinguish between the police and those who are acting illegally as army units. It's difficult to tell who are the rebels and who are the armed gangs pretending to be army.'' She declined to say whether she considered rebel leader Guy Philippe an outlaw. Philippe fled to the neighboring Dominican Republic in 2000 after he was accused by the Aristide government of plotting several coups and drug trafficking. ''I don't want to pronounce what Guy Philippe is,'' she said. ``For one reason or another, this is the situation we're in.'' Asked why some of her police officers had joined the rebels on Monday, helping the rebel motorcades move about the capital, Pierre said: ``I cannot tell you that right now.'' But some of her officers, such as Blac Sephas, a nine-year veteran of the force, said it was a matter of harsh reality. ''In this moment, we are obliged to follow like everyone else,'' Sephas said as he watched the rebels celebrate their victory. ``We're all Haitians. We've got peace now so I can accept that.'' The rebels, meanwhile, are trying to portray themselves as a reconstituted national army -- which Aristide abolished in 1995 -- rather than a domestic security force and said they would cooperate with the foreign peacekeepers. `LIKE BROTHERS' ''We do not have problems with the international forces,'' said Louis-Jodel Chamblain, a high-ranking rebel. ``We are together with them like brothers.'' The rebels also appear to have the support of the opposition. ''I believe the new national government needs to negotiate with all the forces in the country to resolve the insecurity,'' said opposition leader Victor Benoit.

Jamaica Observer 2 Mar 2004 www.jamaicaobserver.com P J Patterson says he won't sit with Haitian rebels Observer Reporter Tuesday, March 02, 2004 Prime Minister P J Patterson said yesterday that he would personally have "great difficulty" sitting around the same table with Haitian rebel leaders who helped oust President Jean Bertrand Aristide. But the Jamaican leader suggested his aversion to the men who helped drive Aristide from power would not necessarily translate to a suspension of Haiti from the Caribbean Community (Caricom) when regional leaders meet here today to decide on their response to what they see as a coup d'etat in a member state. In fact, Patterson told reporters that when Caricom welcomed Haiti into the 15-member trade and economic grouping in 1998, part of the ideal was to end the country's "decades of isolation to help promote the growth of institutional democracy". "To those objectives we still remain committed," the Jamaican prime minister said. However, Haiti's future in the Community had come under question in recent weeks as that country's opposition insisted that Aristide resign and leave the country on a claim of corruption and human rights abuses by his government. They rejected a Caricom compromise that would have seen Aristide serve out the remaining two years of his presidency, but share power with the opposition while the international community helps it prepare for elections. The unrest fomented by the formal opposition was exacerbated by an insurgency led by several men with nasty reputations for human rights abuses as well as pressure on Aristide to step aside, from the United States, France and Canada, which had initially backed the Caricom plan. For instance, Louis Jodel Chamblain and Jean Tatoune belonged to the paramilitary organisation FRAPH that massacred hundreds of Aristide's supporters in the early 1990s when he was previously deposed as president. They were sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment. Another central figure in the Haitian uprising, Guy Phillippe, is a former soldier and regional police chief who was also sentenced to jail for plotting a coup in 2002. Another of the rebel leaders is Jean Pierre Baptiste who was jailed for a 1994 massacre of Aristide supporters but escaped from jail two years ago. "We would have very great difficulty, I certainly would have, in sitting around any table to be involved in discussions or negotiations with leaders of rebel forces," said Patterson, the current chairman of Caricom. "I, therefore, take the position that we will have to see what will unfold in the constitution of the (new) Government (in Haiti)." The Haitian chief justice, Boniface Alexandre, has been sworn in as interim president, but Caricom has raised questions about the constitutionality of his position, given the fact that there is no legislature to ratify his position. Patterson said that Caricom would also have to take into account the unanimous passage of a resolution, by the United Nations Security Council authorising the presence of an international peace keeping force in Haiti. "We hope it will have the desired objective of ensuring the rule of law, the restoration of peace and order in that country," Patterson said. "We also have to look to the welfare and interest of the Haitian people themselves who remain our paramount concern."

Reuters 2 Mar 2004 Rights dilemma as mass killers win Haiti revolt By Michael Christie MIAMI (Reuters) - When the dust settles after Jean-Bertrand Aristide's fall, a new government is in place and U.S. Marines have restored calm, Haiti will still face an awkward dilemma -- how to deal with the killers and human rights abusers who led the revolt. Rights groups demanded on Monday that former right-wing militia leaders blamed for thousands of deaths, and who emerged from exile to help topple Aristide, should not be allowed to join any new government, or reconstituted security force. "These are people who have been involved in human rights atrocities," said Reed Brody of Human Rights Watch. "It would be a sad day if Haitians woke up and found that Louis Jodel Chamblain and "Toto" Constant and those people who terrorized Haiti for three years were part of the government." The armed revolt that sent Aristide fleeing into exile was triggered by an uprising in the western city of Gonaives on Feb. 5 by a street gang that once supported him. It was swiftly joined by ex-soldiers from the coup-prone army Aristide disbanded a decade ago, and by paramilitaries, who arrived last month from the neighboring Dominican Republic. Among their leaders were some notorious names, such as Chamblain, who ran death squads in the last years of Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier's dictatorship in the late 1980s, and Jean Tatoune, implicated in a 1994 slum massacre. When Aristide was ousted in a coup in 1991 shortly after beginning his first term, Chamblain joined with Constant to form the Front for the Advancement of Progress of the Haitian People, or FRAPH. THOUSANDS OF DEAD FRAPH hunted down supporters of Aristide's Lavalas Family party, torching entire neighborhoods, and was blamed for up to 3,000 of the estimated 5,000 deaths that occurred before a U.S.-led occupation ended three years of military rule. Chamblain was convicted in absentia for the murder of a prominent businessman and Aristide supporter, Antoine Izmery, who was dragged from a church, forced to kneel, and executed. Chamblain told Reuters in a recent interview, "My hands are clean, my conscience is clean and my pockets are empty." Another well-known former soldier who joined the revolt from exile was ex-police chief Guy Philippe, whose officers executed dozens of gang members while under his command. Not long before Washington did a U-turn on Friday, abandoned its support for Aristide and began calling for him to resign, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell dismissed any possibility of handing victory to the armed rebels. "We cannot buy into a proposition that says the elected president must be forced out of office by thugs and those who do not respect law," Powell said on Feb. 17. On Sunday night, as the U.N. Security Council unanimously authorized the deployment of troops to Port-au-Prince, it demanded that all Haitians respect the law and human rights. Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned that "those likely to commit serious human rights violations" would be held accountable. But it was not clear whether he and the council were referring to past abuses, or merely current or future ones. Amnesty International said the U.N. force deploying to the impoverished Caribbean nation had to guarantee that rights offenders like Chamblain, and those who committed abuses during the revolt, were taken into custody and prosecuted. "Only in this way can the rule of law be fully upheld and the cycle of political violence broken," it said.

NYT 3 Mar 2004 Rebel Says He Is in Charge; Political Chaos Deepens By LYDIA POLGREEN and TIM WEINER PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, March 2 — Haiti veered toward anarchy on Tuesday when a rebel leader proclaimed himself chief of a revived army, threatened to jail the prime minister and sent his men to search out allies of the deposed president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. "I am the chief," the rebel leader, Guy Philippe, declared at a news conference, "the military chief." "The country is in my hands," he proclaimed as he met hundreds of supporters near the palace that last held Mr. Aristide, the constitutionally elected president. Mr. Aristide left Haiti early Sunday for the Central African Republic after a shove from the United States. In the absence of any other authority, Haiti seemed to be falling into the clutches of a self-appointed armed junta. Although American officials denounced the armed rebels and said they should have no role in ruling Haiti, the Americans did not take steps to confront them. Col. David H. Berger, the Marine Corps commander here, said his troops would not act as police officers. "I have no instructions to disarm the rebels," he said. The contingent of marines dispatched to Haiti by President Bush grew to 450 today, officials said. They stuck mostly to the airport and the National Palace. Several guarded Prime Minister Yvon Neptune's residence. About 100 French and Canadian troops have also arrived, and The Associated Press reported that Chile would be sending 300 soldiers. The rebels' power grab was met with silence or muted support by members of the political opposition to the Aristide government; inaction from United Nations diplomats, who have promised to form a multinational peacekeeping force for Haiti; and contempt from Washington, where officials dismissed Mr. Philippe as a nonentity. "He is not in control of anything but a ragtag band," an assistant secretary of state, Roger Noriega, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. But no one else appeared to be in charge of Haiti. The armed rebels reigned in Port-au-Prince, having seized government installations on Monday, and vowed to resurrect the army. The new president, Boniface Alexandre, who is chief justice of the Supreme Court, has not been seen in public since a news conference on Sunday when he announced he would take office. He appeared pale and shaken, and unsure of his role. His authority was uncertain, too. The Constitution says his appointment requires ratification by the Legislature, which was dissolved in January. The Constitution also provides for presidential authority to be held by a council led by the prime minister. Mr. Neptune, the prime minister, whom Mr. Philippe threatened to arrest, met Tuesday with the American ambassador, James B. Foley, the White House said. Mr. Philippe paraded through the streets like a conqueror. His men scoured the slums, which formed Mr. Aristide's strongest political base, seeking out Aristide loyalists. The rebels sought to fill the vacuum left by Mr. Aristide's fall, and were moving faster than what remains of the government of Haiti. "It is an absolutely failed state — no institutions, no rule of law, no spirit of compromise, no security," said Robert Pastor, director of the Center for Democracy and Election Management at American University. "There is no state right now." Mr. Pastor has monitored elections here since 1987. Complicating the political chaos, Jean-Claude Duvalier, Haiti's former "president for life," said in Miami that he planned to return to Haiti, where he maintains a small group of nostalgic supporters. His rule began when his father, François, the dictator known as Papa Doc, died in 1971, and it ended when the army overthrew him in 1986. During the three-decade Duvalier dynasty, the government killed thousands of opponents and stole many millions from Haiti's treasury. The army, which earned a reputation for brutality and corruption, overthrew Mr. Aristide in 1991. He returned, backed by American force, in 1994, and dissolved the army in 1995. Many of the armed rebels who stormed the capital on Monday are army veterans. Some led military-affiliated death squads that killed Aristide supporters in the 1980's and 90's. Others, like Mr. Philippe, were military-trained police captains. The United States is trying to help form a "council of elders," including the so-called unarmed opposition, a squabbling group of political elites "united only by their hatred for Aristide," said Robert Maguire, director of the Haiti Program at Trinity College in Washington. Now that Mr. Aristide has gone, so has the unarmed opposition's unifying principle. The prospect of a revived Haitian Army and a country run by armed rebels terrifies the residents of La Saline, a vast slum and Aristide stronghold in the capital. "The army and the people with money always were against the poor," said Ernseau Bolívar, 23, a student who lives in La Saline. "President Aristide made a lot of mistakes, it is true. But he was always representing people of the poor, people of my class. Traditionally the political class used the army to oppress us. That is what we fear." Mr. Bolívar said he thought Mr. Aristide had been forced out by American pressure. He called the president's fall a coup. "We elected Mr. Aristide," Mr. Bolívar said. "How can the Americans now come and take him away? What about our Constitution? What about our laws?" Lawlessness was the rule in parts of the capital on Tuesday. Looting continued at the port, even as American marines stood watch nearby. Despite the rebels' vow to restore order, violence continued. Six bodies of people killed by gunshot wounds were brought to the morgue, bringing the total stored there after the violence over the week to about 25. While many in the crowds greeting the rebels appeared joyous, they were also raucous. Early in the afternoon, Mr. Philippe appeared on the balcony of the former headquarters of the Haitian Army, which sits adjacent to the palace and was renovated into a museum in honor of Haiti's 2004 bicentennial. He flashed victory signs to the crowd. A moment after he stepped away, a soldier began tossing art from the museum into the street, beginning with a sculpture of a casket with a figurine inside. It shattered as it hit the ground and the crowd roared. More paintings followed, and someone set the pile of art aflame. Inorel Delbrun, an art collector who had come hoping to catch a glimpse of the rebel leader, was horrified. "This is Haitian art," Mr. Delbrun said. "It hurts to see it destroyed. This is our culture."

AP 3 Mar 2004 Rebel leader says he'll arrest prime minister in Haiti (Port-au-Prince, Haiti-AP) -- The leader of Haiti's rebels -- who earlier today declared himself to be Haiti's new "military chief" -- now says he's going to arrest the country's prime minister. Guy Philippe (gee fee-LEEP') tells the Associated Press that Prime Minister Yvon Neptune will face corruption charges. The rebels now appear to be taking advantage of a power vaccuum in Haiti -- even as the U-S and France beef up their military presence there. In Washington, U-S officials are making it clear they don't want the rebels to seize power. One State Department official says Philippe should "make himself scarce." But on Haitian radio, Philippe declared, "The country is in my hands." He summoned 20 police commanders to meet with him -- and warned that if they failed to appear, he would arrest them. U-S Marines are guarding the prime minister's office in a suburb of the capital. It's not known where the prime minister is, or if U-S or French Marines will try to protect him. "

Boston Globe 3 Mar 2004 US urged to disarm rebels, hold key leaders By Bryan Bender, Globe Staff, 3/3/2004 WASHINGTON -- Human rights groups urged the US-led peacekeepers in Haiti to immediately disarm rebel and militia groups and arrest key rebel leaders as concerns rose that democracy activists and government officials are in growing danger from former soldiers -- some of whose commanders are convicted murderers -- who have filled the power vacuum in Port-au-Prince. Amnesty International called on the United States, France, and Canada, which began dispatching troops to Haiti on Sunday, to disarm both rebel forces and militias loyal to former president Jean Bertrand-Aristide, and to take into custody at least two rebel leaders who face jail terms for human rights offenses in the early 1990s. Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch, citing the deteriorating political situation, accused the United States of violating international law by repatriating more than 1,000 asylum seekers in recent weeks "to a place where their lives or freedom are endangered." A growing chorus of aid workers, Haiti specialists, and rights activists said yesterday that the current situation -- with former army commanders and other armed rebels roaming the capital -- threatens both the democratic opposition and human rights workers who in the past sought to bring to justice some of the very individuals who are now quickly becoming power brokers. Amnesty International called on the United States and other foreign forces to "commit to ensuring the disarmament of both the rebel forces and the pro-Aristide militias," declaring that the failure of international peacekeepers to do so a decade ago "has been one of the root causes of ongoing political violence in Haiti." The group also urged the foreign forces to arrest rebel leaders Louis-Jodel Chamblain, the co-founder of the FRAPH paramilitary death squads that terrorized Haitians in the early 1990s, and Jean-Pierre Baptiste, also known as Jean Tatoune. Both were convicted in the 1994 massacre of 25 people by the Haitian military in Raboteau, a slum of Gonaives. Other human rights activists, such as Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine, who fled Haiti for Miami yesterday fearing for his life, have previously pressed for the prosecution of other rebel leaders, including the current rebel commander, Guy Philippe, who allegedly led a murderous coup attempt in 2001 and is blamed for police killings in 2000. "Unless the US acts forcefully to stop them, they are going to be killing democracy supporters," said Brian E. Concannon Jr., an attorney who represented victims of the 1994 massacre. "They have been killing people already. They killed 5,000 people last time they were in charge." But it appeared yesterday that the foreign troops were loath to get directly involved. A statement from France's Foreign Ministry said, "The priority is the establishment of an interim national unity government. It is up to the Haitian parties to work in that direction."

AFP 8 Mar 2004 Six killed, 34 wounded in Haiti violence by Patrick Moser PORT-AU-PRINCE, March 8 (AFP) - Gunmen opened fire on an opposition rally in Haiti, killing at least six people, including a journalist, and wounding 34 more as Haitians awaited the naming of a new government. US and French forces helping police with security during Sunday's demonstration moved onto the lawn of the presidential palace in Port-au-Prince. "The Haitian National Police, as well as French forces and US marines, responded to gunshots by sending a quick reaction force," said Staff Sergeant Timothy Edwards, a US military spokesman. Gunshots were heard at the square and appeared to come from within the crowd, while gunmen opened fire on protesters and journalists a few hundred meters (yards) away. An angry crowd forced a group of police officers to fire back. A journalist with Spanish channel Antena 3, Ricardo Ortega, died of gunshot wounds, while US journalist Michael Laughlin of the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Sun-Sentinel newspaper was hit in the shoulder. Some 34 people were reported wounded. Demonstrators promptly dispersed, many running from the square, after the shooting, which began as the rally was breaking up. They blamed the violence on supporters of ex-president Jean Bertrand Aristide and vented their anger on security forces for failing to prevent the violence. Aristide left Haiti one week ago, following international pressure and an armed rebellion launched a month ago. Shortly after the shootings, the Haitian capital's industrial park was looted, according to witnesses and police. Looters emerged carrying sacks of rice said to have been donated by Taiwan. Rebel leader Guy Philippe said he is ready to take up arms again following the violence. Philippe told local Radio Vision 2000 he would be "obliged very soon to order the troops to take up the arms they laid down" under US pressure. The insurgent went to talk with some of the wounded at the Canape Vert hospital, where angry Haitians yelled at US and French soldiers who guarded the entrance, asking to know why they had failed to intervene to prevent the violence. "It is extremely urgent that the international force presses the police to reestablish security of life and goods," said socialist opposition leader Micha Gaillard. "The people were demonstrating peacefully having confidence in the Haitian police and in the international security force -- unfortunately they did not act. "A demonstration to celebrate the freeing of Haiti from despotism has ended in bloody catastrophe." More than 10,000 people had taken part in the march from the Petion-Ville neighborhood to the city center despite fears that militant Aristide supporters were planning a counter-demonstration. Heavily armed US Marines and French gendarmes, using trucks and Humvees armed with machine guns, escorted the demonstrators, who demanded that Aristide face a criminal trial. At one stage, protesters pulled down a huge billboard with a photograph of Aristide and later burned a portrait of the ex-president. The demonstrators also condemned the violence and looting that followed Aristide's departure and which have been blamed on militant supporters of the former president. Philippe was among the protesters, sitting atop a sport-utility vehicle and waving to the cheering crowd. He had made a triumphant entrance to the capital Wednesday after his insurgents seized much of the country -- seen as a key factor, alongside international pressure, in Aristide's resignation and flight Monday to the Central African Republic. Also among the demonstrators was political opposition leader Evans Paul. Leonce Charles, named police chief following Aristide's departure, had asked the multinational contingent deployed in Haiti in recent days to help prevent violence during the demonstration. As the multinational force made its presence known in Haiti, the government Aristide left behind and the political opposition have moved closer to meeting the requirements of an internationally backed power-sharing proposal. A council of seven "wise men" formed Friday by government, opposition and international representatives said they would announce their choice for a new prime minister Tuesday.

WP 17 Mar 2004 WORLD IN BRIEF Wednesday, March 17, 2004; Page A22 CARACAS, Venezuela -- President Hugo Chavez offered refuge to ousted Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide and said he still recognized him as the legitimate leader of the Caribbean country. "We don't recognize the new government of Haiti. The president of Haiti is called Jean-Bertrand Aristide. . . . Venezuela's doors are open to President Jean-Bertrand Aristide," Chavez said in a speech in eastern Venezuela. Chavez spoke a day after Aristide flew to Jamaica, returning to the Caribbean just two weeks after he left Haiti for exile in Africa Feb. 29 in the face of an armed revolt and U.S. pressure to quit. • PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Haiti's interim prime minister appointed a 13-member cabinet that excludes members of ousted president Jean-Bertrand Aristide's party. Observers expected the move to fuel tensions in the troubled nation. The cabinet, set to be sworn in on Wednesday, includes a former chief of Haiti's army, Herald Abraham, as interior minister. Meanwhile, U.S. Marines raided one of Port-au-Prince's most dangerous slums in a crackdown after gunmen fired on U.S. forces. One day after suffering the first American casualty in Haiti, a column of 120 Marines swept through the Belair slum, an Aristide stronghold, on foot and in armored vehicles in a major show of force. U.S. troops leading a 2,650-member force have fought half a dozen battles with presumed Aristide loyalists -- killing six people -- since landing hours after Aristide left the country.


Los Angeles Times 4 Mar 2004 Help Mexico Put 'Dirty War' to Rest By Daniel Wilkinson March 4, 2004 When Mexican President Vicente Fox visits President Bush's Texas ranch this week, the two will discuss a range of issues that revolve around law enforcement — illegal drug traffic, border security and migration. But there is another critical area of law enforcement where the United States should collaborate with Mexico: providing documents that could help prosecute crimes from Mexico's "dirty war" in the 1970s and early '80s. For decades, the Mexican justice system has allowed acts of political violence by government security forces to go unpunished. These include massacres of student protesters in 1968 and 1971 and the torture, execution or forced disappearance of hundreds of armed insurgents and alleged sympathizers during the country's campaign against leftists. Some of these "disappeared" were thrown alive from air force planes over the Pacific Ocean. Others reportedly were forced to swallow gasoline and set on fire. Last month, Mexico made a major breakthrough when a special prosecutor, appointed by Fox to investigate these crimes, made his first arrest. Miguel Nazar Haro, a commander of Mexico's defunct secret police force, was captured in Mexico City after two months in hiding. He now faces charges of participating in the forced disappearances of two members of a leftist guerrilla organization in the 1970s. According to the special prosecutor, this is only the first of many arrests to come. For justice to prevail, however, it is not enough for suspects to be arrested; they must also be fairly tried and, when proved guilty, convicted. And that requires compelling evidence. This is where the U.S. could help. According to the National Security Archive, a private research institute based in Washington, D.C., the U.S. government possesses thousands of documents concerning the Mexican "dirty war." These documents could be a powerful tool for the special prosecutor as he seeks to establish how Mexico's security apparatus functioned and what role specific individuals played within it. There is good reason to believe that the U.S. government has information on Nazar. He was an important liaison for the CIA during the 1970s and early '80s. And in 1982, he was briefly arrested in San Diego for alleged involvement in an auto theft ring. He escaped prosecution by posting $200,000 bail and fleeing the country. Why should the U.S. care about Mexico's efforts to prosecute Nazar? For one, Nazar not only flouted Mexican justice for two months, he's flouted American justice for 22 years. The U.S. has an interest in showing that it will not tolerate anyone who makes a mockery of the law in this way — here or in Mexico. Another reason is that the U.S. has a vested interest in strengthening law enforcement in its neighbor — its second-largest trading partner and its primary source of immigrants. The cases in which Nazar is charged, as well as the hundreds of others before the special prosecutor, represent the most notorious examples of official impunity in Mexico. Their successful prosecution would go a long way toward building public confidence in the country's justice system and strengthening its rule of law. A third reason is that the U.S. is facing a crisis of legitimacy in the region. Recent polls show that Latin Americans' perception of the United States has deteriorated dramatically in recent years. This is largely because of widespread opposition to the war in Iraq, which has only intensified as the main justification for the invasion has shifted from Saddam Hussein's elusive weapons of mass destruction to his well-documented mistreatment of the Iraqi people. This humanitarian rationale is a hard sell in a region where many abusive tyrants received U.S. support during the Cold War. The fact that the first Mexican charged with "dirty war" crimes was an associate of the CIA is one more potent reminder of the double standard the U.S. has applied to human rights. The special prosecutor will soon file a formal request with the U.S. government for access to documents that can advance these investigations. If the United States is serious about helping other countries deal with abusive government officials, it should prove it by complying with the Mexican request.


e-news from Survival International 24 March 2004 Last isolated Indians south of the Amazon make contact A group of previously-uncontacted Ayoreo Indians has emerged from the forests of Paraguay, under pressure from deforestation and colonisation all around them. Colonists who have settled in their territory have taken possession of the permanent water holes for cattle ranching, leaving the Indians unable to get water in the dry season. The 17 people (five men, seven women and five children) are in excellent health, but acutely short of water. The Indians made contact with fellow Ayoreo who were planning to establish a new community in the last sizeable area of forest in the region. For ten years the Ayoreo and their supporters have been trying to protect the zone from accelerating invasion. Now, ranchers and farmers illegally occupy large parts of the Ayoreo’s forest. .

United States

newsday.com 2 Mar 2004 Surviving atrocities, they became friends BY OLIVIA WINSLOW STAFF WRITER March 2, 2004, 9:28 PM EST David Gewirtzman, a retired pharmacist, and Jacqueline Murekatete, a Stony Brook University freshman, have an unlikely bond, forged through surviving the genocide of their people, though in different lands some 50 years apart. He survived the Holocaust. She lived through the Rwandan genocide a decade ago. Yet, they are friends united in a desire to educate people about the horrors that can be unleashed by hatred and violence and people's indifference. "We are as different as one can be," said Gewirtzman, 75, who lives in Great Neck. "I am Jewish, white, a senior," he said, noting Murekatete is just 19 and an African. "And yet the two of us have formed a very close friendship because of what we went through." Gewirtzman and Murekatete reflected on their experiences in separate interviews this week as the national media have become attracted to their story. The "Today Show" is planning to air a segment on them Thursday. Gewirtzman said they connected because of their experiences and a shared philosophy. "In spite of all she went through, she, like me, felt being bitter and carrying rancor against what happened is not the solution to solving the problem." Gewirtzman and his immediate family -- parents, a brother and a sister -- survived the fate of most of the Jews in his Polish town who were killed in concentration camps. The family hid for two years in a hole beneath a pigsty on a farm. "But I lost all my extended family." Murekatete recalled the horror that led Tutsi children like her to seek refuge in a Rwandan orphanage to escape the carnage that would claim the lives of an estimated 800,000 people in 1994. While she narrowly escaped the threat of death, her mother, father, four brothers and two sisters, as well as the grandmother she was living with who had arranged for someone to take Murekatete to the orphanage, all perished during the government's genocide campaign against Tutsis and Hutus sympathetic to them after the country's Hutu president was killed. An uncle in the United States adopted her and brought her to the country in 1995. They settled in Queens Village a year later. "I knew that when I finished school and whatever my goals were, one of them will be to find a way to educate people, whether it's through writing or through teaching, to tell people about what happened in Rwanda and hopefully to prevent" similar atrocities in the future, Murekatete said in an interview Tuesday. She's already begun. She was inspired by Gewirtzman after he spoke to her class three years ago when she was a student at Van Buren High School in Queens Village. At Gewirtzman's invitation, Murekatete has joined him often since then in giving talks to high school and college students and other groups, where both relate their experiences. Murekatete also has taken her story to an international peace conference at the United Nations last year where she addressed noted author, Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel, -- "a humble man, a nice man." She is also slated to speak at a UN program this month as part of 10th anniversary commemorations of the Rwandan genocide. "I don't enjoy talking about my pain," Murekatete said, "but it's a responsibility that I feel, an obligation to carry out to my family and to the other innocent people who died."

AP 2 Mar 2004 Marge Schott, controversial Reds owner, dies Associated Press CINCINNATI - Marge Schott, the tough-talking, chain-smoking owner of the Cincinnati Reds who won a World Series but was repeatedly suspended for offensive remarks, died Tuesday, a hospital spokeswoman said. She was 75. Schott was hospitalized about three weeks ago for breathing difficulties and repeatedly needed treatment for lung problems in recent years. Christ Hospital spokeswoman Dona Buckler did not release a cause of death. Schott had reportedly been on a ventilator during her treatment in the hospital's intensive care unit. Schott kept a low profile after she ended years of turmoil by selling her controlling interest in the club in October 1999. She appeared at news conferences when she made donations to the zoo and other local organizations. She remained a limited partner in the team's ownership group and sued owner Carl Lindner because she didn't like her seats in the new Great American Ball Park, where the Reds moved in 2003. The Reds had no immediate comment on her death. At the team's spring training camp in Sarasota, Fla., Reds shortstop Barry Larkin said he hopes the controversies Schott was involved in don't overshadow the good things she did, including her money donations. "I think people are remembered for the good things they do when they're gone," said Larkin, who has played for the Reds since 1986. "Now that she's gone they will remember the parties she had to raise money for kids, her involvement with the zoo, her giving to minority programs. She gave to minority programs before her racist comments came out. "People ask me all the time about her racist comments. They ask me how I could talk to her," said Larkin, who is black. "But I had a good relationship with her. I just go on personal experience. She was always respectful to me and my family." Schott's outspokenness as owner became her legacy and her downfall. Schott had inherited and expanded her husband's business empire after he died in 1968. Until she took over the Reds in the mid-1980s, she was known as a car dealer who made campy television commercials featuring her beloved St. Bernards. Once she got control of the front office, she became one of the most prominent figures in the history of baseball's first professional team. The Reds won the 1990 World Series, sweeping the Oakland A's while Schott rubbed dog hair on manager Lou Piniella and his players. Two years later, her use of racial slurs created a national controversy that overshadowed the club for nearly a decade. Baseball officials ordered her to watch her comments, but she continued to publicly praise Hitler - saying he was "good at the beginning" but then "went too far" - and make disparaging remarks about ethnic groups. In May 1996, after hours of consultations with baseball officials, Schott released a statement saying she was sorry her remarks offended people. "This was not my intent at all," she said. "Let me take this opportunity to set the record straight. I do not and have never condoned Adolf Hitler's policies of hatred, militarism and genocide. Hitler was unquestionably one of history's most despicable tyrants." With the team's limited owners ready to vote her out as the controlling partner, she sold all but one of her shares to Lindner in 1999 for $67 million. As she left the spotlight, Schott blamed the other owners for her fate. "I don't know what I would have done differently, except for stood up and fought with the boys a little more," she said, shortly after the sale was complete. Growing up in Cincinnati, Schott attended a Catholic girls' school and the University of Cincinnati. She married Charles J. Schott in 1952 at age 21. When her husband died in 1968 at age 41, she was left with a car dealership, real estate and companies that made bricks and concrete. Schott bought another car dealership, a garbage dump, cattle and race horses as a prelude to buying the Reds in 1984. From the moment she bought control, Schott made it clear her tenure would be unconventional. She walked into Riverfront Stadium to announce the sale with her dog Schottzie on a leash. Schott knew little about baseball, but had become its most prominent woman. She made her first controversial remark at her first news conference, suggesting that women shouldn't be allowed to run a business because they're too emotional. Schott also promised she would stay out of the baseball operations because she didn't know much about it. Before long, she was involved in every aspect of the team. She moved her office to the stadium, required her personal approval for any purchase of $50 or more and allowed her dogs to have the run of the place. She also started making baseball decisions, even though she didn't know the players' names. She settled one contract dispute by flipping a coin. "I was very much hands-on. I did try and bring some good players in and everything," she said. She allowed player-manager Pete Rose to grab the headlines through 1989, when he accepted a lifetime ban for gambling. Once he left, she became front-and-center. Piniella arrived as manager and Bob Quinn became the general manager before the 1990 season, which marked a new phase in Schott's ownership. She became the team's most visible figure as it led wire-to-wire and won the World Series. While the team won, the organization crumbled. She scrimped on the farm system and scouting, eliminated fan promotions and did away with the marketing that made the Reds a regional draw. In 1992, the turbulence began. She fired Quinn and drove Piniella away, then went through five managers in six years. With the shrunken farm system no longer producing, the Reds had to bring in free agents to remain competitive. They had the second-biggest payroll in the National League when they made the playoffs in 1995, then slashing payroll and struggled on the field. They also started struggling at the gate as Schott's offensive language made headlines. Attendance began falling after 1993, when she was suspended the first time for her remarks. Schott's troubles multiplied in 1996, when she demanded a new ballpark but refused to campaign for the tax increase that provided funding. She expressed disappointment that opening day was postponed because umpire John McSherry died, eliminated out-of-town score updates to save money, and made more disparaging remarks.

New York Daily News 3 Mar 2004 Genocide exhibit opens at QCC A new photo documentary chronicling instances of genocide throughout the world during the 20th century is now open at Queensborough Community College's Holocaust Resource Center & Archives. The free exhibit, "1900-2000: A Genocidal Century," features text and photographs and a catalog "detailing occurrences of the systematic extermination of millions of people over the past 100 years," according to a college spokeswoman. "The reason it is important to study this is because genocide has continued into the 21st century," said William Shulman, exhibit curator. The center is in the Library Building on the Bayside campus, lower level, Room 30. Hours are: Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For information, call (718) 281-5770.

Queensborough Community College (QCC) 3 Feb 2004 For Immediate Release FEBRUARY 3, 2004 NEW EXHIBIT TO OPEN AT QCC HOLOCAUST CENTER CHRONICLING 20TH CENTURY GENOCIDE A new photo documentary exhibit chronicling the instances of genocide throughout the world during the 20th century will open at the Queensborough Community College (QCC) Holocaust Resource Center and Archives on February 29th, 2004. Entitled, “1900-2000: A Genocidal Century,” the free exhibit will be open to the public through December, 2004, and features a variety of photographs, text and an accompanying catalogue detailing occurrences of the systematic extermination of millions of people by different nations and governments over the past 100 years, as well as the process by which these atrocities were carried out. “The reason it is important to study this is because genocide has continued into the 21st century at an alarming rate,” said Dr. William L. Shulman, Director of QCC’s Holocaust Center and exhibit curator. “The only way we can work to prevent genocide from occurring is to make people aware that it has occurred, the steps that lead to genocide, and the genocides and near-genocides that are being carried out. And this exhibit is one small step in that process.” According to Dr. Shulman, the 20th century was one of the “most destructive periods in human history,” with these mass murders all undertaken by governments who wished to eliminate most or all members of a particular ethnic or religious group. Tracing a trail of human destruction, the narrative begins in 1904 with the Hereros, a cattle-herding people living in a German colony in South West Africa who rebelled when faced with confinement to reservations by colonial authorities. Their military forces were destroyed by the Germans, and survivors, including women and children, were subsequently driven into the Omaheke Desert, where they died of thirst and starvation. Approximately 80 percent of the Hereros people (65,000) perished. Just a few years later, in the spring of 1915, in what the narrative refers to as a “major tragedy of the modern age,” the Turkish government ordered the deportation of the Armenian people in a “thinly disguised form of extermination.” According to a premeditated, precise plan, Armenian men were taken away and murdered, while remaining women, children and elderly were herded south, subjected to every form of humiliation and torture. One million Armenians died and the homeland they had occupied for more than 3,000 years was depopulated. The March From Kharpert Taken by a German businessman from his hotel window in 1915, this photograph captures the image of Armenian men being marched off under armed guard to the prison in Mezre. At the prison they were tortured to death. After Turkish neighbors complained that the screams of the tortured Armenians were disturbing their sleep, musicians were assigned to play music outside the prison at night to cover the screams. In the Ukrainian genocide (spring, 1932 through summer, 1933) in which the Soviet government was under the dictatorial rule of Joseph Stalin, a famine was deliberately created with the intention of eliminating one whole class of people. Some five to seven million people died either from starvation or disease. At nearly the same time, the Nazi government in Germany was gearing up to “identify, classify, discriminate against, and eventually persecute those considered ‘undesirable’ or ‘racially’ dangerous,” according to the text. “The Jews in Germany, and eventually throughout German conquered territories, were to be murdered and totally eliminated as a people.” This Holocaust was carried out through a series of calculated steps, including the ghettoization, dehumanization and deportation of the Jews prior to their ultimate destruction through extermination camps. The result was the murder of almost 6 million Jews, including 1.5 million children. In the latter part of the century, over 1.5 million people (some 21 percent of the population) in Cambodia were worked, starved and beaten to death when communist minority Kmer Rouge (led by Pol Pot) seized control of the country. Trying to eradicate Buddhism from Cambodia, monks were persecuted and massacred (only 2,000 of the 70,000 monks prior to 1975 survived). The regime also tried to eliminate ethnic minorities, and the entire Vietnamese community was either driven out or murdered; 50 percent of the Chinese population was worked or starved to death; 40 percent of the Thai population (8,000 people) perished; and, of the 250,000 Muslim Cham, only 90,000 survived. In the Bosnian genocide (April, 1992-October, 1995), Serbs waged war against Muslims as part of an ethnic cleansing plan. Muslims were put into concentration camps and civilians were raped and murdered. According to the exhibit, the genocide was part of a war for control of the small republic which had been part of Yugoslavia. Finally, near the century’s end, the 1994 planned extermination of the Tutsi tribe in Rwanda wiped out 700,000 people (one-tenth of the population). This genocide, according to the exhibit narrative, resembled the destruction of the Jews by Nazi Germany with its registration of victims, organized killing squads, use of media propaganda to hide the actions and intent, and massive murder. Mass grave in Kigali. Photograph taken November 2001 by Jerry Fowler, USHMM. The QCC Holocaust Resource Center and Archives is open Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Fridays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call (718) 281-5770, or visit the QCC website at www.qcc.cuny.edu. The College is located at 56th Avenue and Springfield Boulevard (exit #29 on the L.I.E.). Founded by Dr. Shulman in 1983, the Center’s purpose is to provide an educational resource for organizations and schools in the community, and its mission is to: promote remembrance of the Holocaust through education; assist students, scholars and teachers; preserve oral testimony of survivors; sponsor public lectures by experts in the field; exhibit documents, photographs and art related to the Holocaust; publish teaching aids; and help trace victims and survivors.

AP 4 Mar 2004 ENTERTAINMENT: 'SCHINDLER'S LIST' MAKES DVD DEBUT Director and filmmaker Steven Spielberg got reacquainted Wednesday with some of the Jews whose survival he depicted in the Oscar-winning "Schindler's List." To mark the film's DVD release next Tuesday, Spielberg and cast members including Ben Kingsley and Ralph Fiennes toured the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, the Holocaust-education facility Spielberg created after completing "Schindler's List." Accompanying them were five Holocaust survivors who were among 1,100 Jews saved by German industrialist Oskar Schindler, played by Liam Neeson in the 1993 film, which won seven Academy Awards, including best picture and director. The foundation is celebrating its 10th anniversary. "Steven Spielberg, in my opinion, revived the history of the Holocaust, which was practically forgotten by that time," said Lewis Fagen, 80, of Boca Raton, Fla., who was a teenager when Schindler put him and his parents to work in his factory, saving them from the Nazi genocide. For all the acclaim the film received, "Schindler's List" was just a "prelude to what has become the most important work of my life aside from my family," Spielberg said of the foundation. The foundation plans to make some 120,000 hours of videotaped interviews available for viewing at universities and other research centers around the world. "These survivors, once thought to be victims, have become educators," Spielberg said.

Long Beach Press-Telegram, CA 4 Mar 2004 www.presstelegram.com Survivors teach a lesson against hatred By Kristopher Hanson Staff writer LONG BEACH -- It's been said that those who fail to learn from the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them. On Wednesday, survivors of some of the 20th century's most horrific episodes gathered to repeat that message with the hope that current and future generations wouldn't be consumed by the hatred and division they fell victim to as children and young adults. "Don't ever let any person or any entity or any government take away your dignity,' said Buddy Takata, who spent 1942-1945 as a young teen living with his family in a Japanese-American internment camp in Wyoming. "Your dignity and your self-esteem defines who you are. It is your dignity and your self-esteem that gets you through the crises in life.' Takata was joined at a community forum by Holocaust survivor Renee Firestone, Cambodian genocide survivor Jonathon Dok and Dr. Houri Berberian, a historian whose family were Armenian genocide victims. The forum, titled "Tolerance, Then and Now,' was held as part of an annual week-long event titled, "Long Beach Reads One Book,' which urges people across the city to read the same book and then share in the experience collectively as a community. This year's book, "The Freedom Writers Diary,' is a collection of personal diary entries compiled by a group of students at Wilson High School as part of a class project in the mid to late-1990s. Tiffany Jacobs and Sonia Pineda, two of the 150 students who contributed to the book, spoke about their experience writing it and how it transformed them from academic slackers to motivated learners. They urged a packed audience at the Center Theater in downtown Long Beach to get involved in fighting hate. "You can prevent injustices in your everyday life by getting involved,' Pineda said. "Wherever you feel there is a need, you can become involved if you want to.' The evening began with the Long Beach Poly High String Orchestra's rendition of conductor Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings,' which was accompanied by heart-wrenching pictures of genocide victims projected onto a large screen. The music and visuals were followed by testimonials from Takata, Firestone and Dok, who escaped the Killing Fields of Cambodia with his mother and seven siblings in the late 1970s after his father had been killed by the Khmer Rouge. Firestone spoke of how suddenly her family's lives changed as the Nazi war machine moved east into her native Czechoslovakia. "All of the sudden I was caught up in this madness of Hitler,' said Firestone, who emigrated to the United States in 1948. "It was an incredible, indescribable experience. World War II claimed 50 million lives, and for what, what did anybody gain by it?' Dok, Firestone, Berberian and Takata urged the audience to not only tolerate those who are different from them, but accept them as part of the "human family. "We're all human beings and we all share the same world,' Berberian said. "We can all keep fighting among one another or we can all learn to live among one another in peace."

www.marketwire.com 4 Mar 2004 SYSTEM OF A DOWN to Headline "SOULS, 2004" Benefit Concert Band Challenges Bush Administration to Keep Failed 2000 Campaign Promise to Acknowledge Armenian Genocide Urges U.S. Congress and House of Representatives to Schedule Votes for SR 164 and HR 193 Measures LOS ANGELES, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 03/04/2004 -- Multi-Platinum-selling group SYSTEM OF A DOWN will headline "SOULS, 2004," a very special benefit concert to be held in Los Angeles on Saturday, April 24 at the Greek Theatre. Tickets for the concert will be priced at $45.00, and will go on sale at 12NOON next Friday, March 12 at all Ticketmaster outlets including Tower Records, Robinsons-May, Wherehouse, Ritmo Latino, and http://www.ticketmaster.com/. Doors, concert start-time and support acts will be announced shortly. Proceeds from "SOULS, 2004" will benefit organizations that work to eradicate the atrocities of all genocides across the globe, including the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), an organization that supports legislation in the U.S. Congress to recognize the Armenian Genocide that was perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire during World War 1. During this first genocide of the 20th century, 1.5 million Armenians were annihilated and hundreds of thousands deported from their ancient homeland. April 24th was chosen as the date for the concert as this year, it commemorates the 89th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Despite a February 2000 campaign promise by then candidate George W. Bush to recognize the Armenian Genocide, he and his Administration have instead opposed the measure and are seeking to block its adoption solely on the grounds that it specifically references the Armenian Genocide. Stated System of a Down's Serj Tankian, "The United States' omission of the Armenian Genocide from its history books can only be based on strategic geo-political and financial interests in the Middle East. We will not omit our mission to bring about exposure, education and recognition for events that we have been told to forget. "More than 100 organizations have endorsed the campaign to urge Congress to pass the Genocide Resolution," Tankian continued. "The Vatican and the European Parliament, as well as the French, Italian, Swiss, Russian, Belgian, and many other governing bodies have officially recognized the Armenian Genocide. It's time for the United States to do the same. We are urging Congress to pass House Resolution 193 and Senate Resolution 164, measures that would reinforce America's commitment to prevent future genocides and crimes against humanity." Members of System of a Down -- Tankian/vocals; Daron Malakian/guitars; bassist Shavo Odadjian, and drummer John Dolmayan -- are all of Armenian descent, and have been very active in supporting this cause for years. "SOULS, 2004" is the most recent in the band's ongoing efforts to raise awareness of the Armenian Genocide and other global abuses of human rights. "Because so much of my family history was lost in the Armenian Genocide," said Malakian, "my grandfather, who was very young at the time, doesn't know his true age. How many people can say they don't know how old they are? But, this is not just about the Armenian Genocide," he continues. "This is about human rights abuse in all parts of the world." "If not for my grandfather's memories, I would know nothing of my family tree before his lifetime," said Tankian. "Most of my family was obliterated in the Armenian Genocide. What we want is for the U.S. Congress to pass legislation recognizing that the Armenian Genocide took place, and to officially acknowledge the atrocities that were inflicted on the Armenian people during the early part of the 20th century." For more information: www.systemofadown.com http://www.anca.org MEDIA CONTACT: Heidi Ellen Robinson Fitzgerald 818-888-8559 her@earthlink.net

www.yorkdispatch.com (Pennsylvania USA) 4 Mar 2004 York Dispatch Massacre is dramatized Trio bring life to the lost voices of Wounded Knee By KRISTIN FINAN Dispatch/Sunday News Thursday, March 04, 2004 - A touring trio of women who perform a dramatization of the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee will visit York next week, thanks to a grant from the Pennsylvania Humanities Council. Stephanie Seaton, educational outreach coordinator for the York City Human Relations Commission, said the event is part of National Women's Month. She said the women performing the dramatization, entitled "Three Voices: Speaking from the Past," will voice the hopes, fears, beliefs and values of their Dakota, Euro-American and African-American foremothers through stories and songs. "We try to promote acts of diversity and cultural activities," Seaton said. "This was something we thought would be a good thing to present to the community. I've not heard this presented in this way before." The clash at Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota was the last official battle in the Indian Wars. The site where the battle erupted was chosen as a convenient place for the U.S. 7th Cavalry to disarm a band of warriors band during the Lakota Ghost Dance "uprising" in 1890. But a shot rang out, and various reports say that between 200 and 300 Lakota were gunned down in the confusion. Eighteen members of the 7th Cavalry received the Medal of Honor, avenging the unit's loss of George Custer and his troop at the Little Big Horn. Seaton said that when the commission decided it would be interested in hearing the trio, it applied for a grant from the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, which provided $500. "They also thought this was a good idea," Seaton said. " Seaton said the event, which will include an open discussion after the reading, will give people a chance to think about the massacre in a new way and hear about it from different perspectives. "It exposes you to a different culture," she said.

AP 4 Mar 2004 20:23 Two of Kerry's relatives found in Yad Vashem database By The Associated Press Two Jewish relatives of U.S. presidential hopeful John Kerry perished in the Nazi genocide of World War II, officials at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem, said Thursday. Archivists at Yad Vashem told The Associated Press that a brother of Kerry's grandmother was killed in the Theresienstadt ghetto, and a sister vanished in the Treblinka death camp. Word of Kerry's Jewish ancestry first surfaced last year when an Austrian genealogist hired by The Boston Globe newspaper found that the Massachusetts senator's paternal grandfather, Frederick A. Kerry, was born under the name Fritz Kohn in 1873 in a village in what is now the Czech Republic. In the early 1900s, the elder Kerry changed his name and emigrated to the United States, presumably under circumstances similar to many of the region's Jews, who migrated to seek better lives and escape anti-Semitism. The news reportedly astonished Kerry, a Catholic. The paper said Kerry already knew that his paternal grandmother, Ida Loewe, was born Jewish and converted to Catholicism. On Sunday, the Austrian genealogist, Felix Gundacker, posted on his institute's Web site more startling news: a sister and brother of Ida Loewe perished in the Holocaust. Six million Jews were killed in the World War II Nazi genocide. Gundacker named the two as Jenny and Otto Loewe. Officials working for Kerry's campaign confirmed that the two were a brother and sister of his grandmother. "I'm very touched by the knowledge that one of my relatives was in the Holocaust," Kerry told the Monday edition of the U.S. newspaper Newsday. "It gives an even greater personal sense of connection (to the Holocaust) that is very real and very touching. It makes you wonder how horrible their lives must have been." On Thursday, researchers at Yad Vashem said they located the two names among nearly 3 million entries in its database of Holocaust victims. Jenny Loewe was born in 1872 and her brother Otto in 1875, according to the data. They were both taken from their home in Vienna to the Theresienstadt ghetto in Czechoslovakia on August 14, 1942. The ghetto held Jews before they were transported to concentration camps. Otto perished there. The last record of Jenny is of her being moved on Sept. 26 of that year to the Treblinka death camp, where she vanished. The Treblinka camp, built in 1942, was an extermination facility, not a labor camp. The Nazis brought 800,000 Jews there with the intention of killing them. Almost all of them perished within hours of their arrival, gassed in chambers filled with exhaust from diesel engines. Some Jews won temporary reprieve by working in the camp, but only a few dozen people survived Treblinka after a daring revolt. Kerry's relative Jenny Loewe is presumed to have died there. The camp was shut down and dismantled in 1944, before Russian troops overran the area. [ Yad Vashem The Holocaust Martyrs'and Heroes' Remembrance Authority www.yad-vashem.org.il / Felix Gundacker's Institute for Historical Family Research http://www.ihff.at/indexstarte.htm ]

washingtonpost.com 7 Mar 2004 DECODING MD + VA + DC Page M08 What's with the National Bank of Washington building at 14th and G streets NW? It has been languishing, empty, for years. How can a fine building in such a prominent spot be unwanted and unloved? Carol Griffith, Washington The building may be empty, but it isn't unloved. In 2000 the Armenian Assembly of America paid $7.25 million for the landmark and some of the surrounding property to house a museum. "The purpose is to educate and inform the public on the Armenian experience in the 20th century, focusing on the Armenian genocide," said Rouben Adalian, director of the Armenian National Institute. It's a touchy subject. Armenians say that between 1915 and 1923, 1.5 million Armenians were massacred or perished in forced death marches at the hands of the Ottoman Turks. The Turkish government says those claims are exaggerated. Museum backers are raising more money and hope to open in 2008.

The Denver Post 26 Feb 2004 Sign stirs passions, Holocaust memories Steven Metzler quietly walked through a crowd of about 200 protesters at Lovingway Pentecostal Church, remembering 1944, the year he entered Auschwitz. "Acts like these are seeds of terror," he said after rolling up his sleeve to show the small tattooed "A-13192" that constantly reminds him of the Holocaust. "And that's how it started in Europe." The church's pastor, Maurice Gordon, upset Denver residents with a message on his church's South Colorado Boulevard marquee — "Jews Killed the Lord Jesus." By evening, someone had removed "Jews." The verse appeared on Ash Wednesday, one of the holiest days in the Christian calendar and the day that Mel Gibson's highly publicized movie "The Passion of the Christ" opened in theaters.

Intermountain Jewish News DENVER, 2 Mar 2004 Pentecostal sign triggers furor in Denver’s Jewish community By Andrea Jacobs — The sign in front of Lovingway United Pentecostal Church reads, “Jews killed the Lord Jesus,” a passage from a letter written by Paul the apostle some 1,900 years ago. Underneath the quote is the single word, “Settled!”, an unequivocal statement reflecting a highly-charged and very contemporary concern — that a new film would unleash a wave of anti-Semitism. The sign, which appeared Tuesday evening, Feb. 24, the day before “The Passion of the Christ” opened in theaters across the country, is an apparent reference to Mel Gibson’s controversial cinematic depiction of the final 12 hours of Jesus’ life. Many in the Jewish community both locally and nationally believe the movie is anti-Semitic and could spark flames of anti-Jewish sentiment. Because the road by the church is a well-traveled thoroughfare, the billboard in front of the church is easily visible to motorists. When the local branch of the Anti-Defamation League asked Lovingway’s pastor, Rev. Maurice Gordon, to remove the sign, Gordon refused. ADL Mountain States Regional Director Bruce DeBoskey spoke to Gordon early Feb. 25 and explained that the sign is extremely offensive to Jews. According to DeBoskey, Gordon said he was merely quoting from the Christian Bible, a right he staunchly defended. “I just hope the community responds to this in such a way that it makes him seriously rethink his actions,” DeBoskey said. The ADL also issued an official statement criticizing Gordon’s conduct. An emergency protest rally organized by Colorado Jews for Jewish Identity and activists in some Christian communities drew some 200 Jews and Christians that night in front of Lovingway Church. Earlier that day, however, the ADL, the Rocky Mountain Rabbinical Council, the American Jewish Committee and the local Jewish federation released a joint statement saying that a protest rally was not “in the best interests of the Jewish community” because “the vast majority of local Christian leaders do not blame Jews for Jesus’ death and a rally could only fuel a media circus.” Gordon did not return repeated calls on Wednesday. Gordon and Rev. Philip Day, pastor of Boulder United Pentecostal Church, recently held an unsuccessful book burning event in Boulder in an attempt to destroy certain books dealing with mysticism and the occult. Rev. James R. Ryan, an executive with the Colorado Council of Churches, issued a public statement Feb. 25 condemning the Lovingway sign. The council “is extremely disturbed that the Lovingway United Pentecostal Church has chosen to place a message of judgment and division on their outdoor sign,” Ryan wrote. “It is ironic that a church named ‘Lovingway’ would advance such an attitude of hurtfulness.” “The Colorado Council of Churches wishes to make it clear that this one congregation does not speak for the vast majority in the Christian community,” he said. “In fact, we stand in direct opposition to the message on this sign and its implications.” When Fran Maier, interfaith officer for the Catholic Archdiocese of Denver and chancellor and special assistant to Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, was told of the sign, Maier said he found it “very disturbing.” “This is of great concern to us,” said Maier. “A sign like the one you describe would be really offensive to Catholics.” “Although this does not change our view of the movie, we are emphatic in our support of the Jewish community. Blaming the Jews for the execution of Jesus is a blasphemy, wrong, and un-Christian,” he said. Maier, who has seen “The Passion” twice, said that only a minority of Christians might react negatively toward Jews because of the film, which he does not think is anti-Semitic. “A few people will read things into this film or Scripture that feed their particular discriminatory points of view. People can take religious texts and twist their meaning. When you are touched by religion, you can turn to love or strange ideas. However, the charge of deicide against the Jewish people is as wrong as saying all Europeans or all Germans were responsible for the Holocaust,” he said. “I’m confident this film does not want to assign collective blame.” Maier said than when he watched the film he saw “none of the things that would encourage any reasonable person to have any resentment against the Jewish people. I was with 1,400 Catholics, and there was not a hint of resentment against the Jewish people.” Cheryl Morrison, director of Israel outreach at Faith Bible Chapel, could barely express her outrage regarding the sign. “No one killed Christ,” she said. “He died for my sins — willingly. If you change that, you change who he is. Lovingway is tragically distorting who he is. I can’t believe that any Christian living in modern-day America — especially any Christian leader — would distort” Jesus’ story. Morrison, who found out about the Lovingway sign when a Jewish friend notified her via e-mail the morning of Feb. 25, said she was especially shocked because she’d just seen “The Passion” at a special screening the night before. The film “is such a powerful statement of God’s love,” she said. “When people start placing blame, they have no clue of their own sin. How mean-spirited can you be?” At about noon on Feb. 25, “Passion’s” opening day, a local resident, Ami Ship, took it upon herself to use a ladder to scale the sign and remove the word “Jew” from its marquee. “Hateful messages like that promote anti-Semitism,” she said in an interview. That night, protesters showed up at the peaceful rally in front of the church. Among the speakers denouncing the sign was Bill McCartney, former University of Colorado football coach and founder of the men’s Christian group Promise Keepers. By nighttime, the church had changed the sign’s wording — and message: “G-d so loved the world that he gave . . . and he’s still giving,” it said. By last Friday, the Lovingway sign again had been changed. “I am deeply sorry for offending the Jewish people whom I love,” read the latest message. It was signed “Brother Gordon.” . [ See www.lovingway.org ]

NYT 6 Mar 2004 Turks Breach Wall of Silence on Armenians By BELINDA COOPER INNEAPOLIS — Taner Akcam doesn't seem like either a hero or a traitor, though he's been called both. A slight, soft-spoken man who chooses his words with care, Mr. Akcam, a Turkish sociologist and historian currently teaching at the University of Minnesota, writes about events that happened nearly a century ago in an empire that no longer exists: the mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during World War I. But in a world where history and identity are closely intertwined, where the past infects today's politics, his work, along with that of like-minded Turkish scholars, is breaking new ground. Mr. Akcam, 50, is one of a handful of scholars who are challenging their homeland's insistent declarations that the organized slaughter of Armenians did not occur; and he is the first Turkish specialist to use the word "genocide" publicly in this context. That is a radical step when one considers that Turkey has threatened to sever relations with countries over this single word. In 2000, for example, Ankara derailed an American congressional resolution calling the 1915 killings "genocide" by threatening to cut access to military bases in the country."We accept that tragic events occurred at the time involving all the subjects of the Ottoman Empire," said Tuluy Tanc, minister counselor at the Turkish Embassy in Washington, "but it is the firm Turkish belief that there was no genocide but self-defense of the Ottoman Empire." Scholars like Mr. Akcam call this a misrepresentation that must be confronted. "We have to deal with history, like the Germans after the war," said Fikret Adanir, a Turkish historian who has lived in Germany for many years. "It's important for the health of the democracy, for civil society." Most scholars outside Turkey agree that the killings are among the first 20th-century instances of "genocide," defined under the 1948 Genocide Convention as acts "committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group." During World War I the government of the disintegrating Ottoman Empire, fearing Armenian nationalist activity, organized mass deportations of Armenians from its eastern territories. In what some consider the model for the Holocaust, men, women and children were sent into the desert to starve, herded into barns and churches that were set afire, tortured to death or drowned. The numbers who died are disputed: the Armenians give a figure of 1.5 million, the Turks several hundred thousand. In the official Turkish story the Armenians were casualties of civil conflict they instigated by allying themselves with Russian forces working to break up the Ottoman Empire. In any case atrocities were documented in contemporary press reports, survivor testimony and dispatches by European diplomats, missionaries and military officers. Abortive trials of Ottoman leaders after World War I left an extensive record and some confessions of responsibility. A legal analysis commissioned last year by the International Center for Transitional Justice in New York concluded that sufficient evidence existed to term the killings a "genocide" under international law. Yet unlike Germany in the decades since the Holocaust, Turkey has consistently denied that the killings were intended or that the government at the time had any moral or legal responsibility. In the years since its founding in 1923 the Turkish Republic has drawn what the Turkish historian Halil Berktay calls a "curtain of silence" around this history at home and used its influence as a cold war ally to pressure foreign governments to suppress opposing views. Mr. Akcam is among the most outspoken of the Turkish scholars who have defied this silence. A student leader of the leftist opposition to Turkey's repressive government in the 1970's, Mr. Akcam spent a year in prison for "spreading communist propaganda" before escaping to Germany. There, influenced in part by Germany's continuing struggle to understand its history, he began to confront his own country's past. While researching the post-World War I trials of Turkish leaders, he began working with Vahakn Dadrian, a pre-eminent Armenian historian of the killings. Their unlikely friendship became the subject of a 1997 Dutch film, "The Wall of Silence." Turks fear to acknowledge the crimes of the past, Mr. Akcam says, because admitting that the founders of modern Turkey, revered today as heroes, were complicit in evil calls into question the country's very legitimacy. "If you start questioning, you have to question the foundations of the republic," he said, speaking intensely over glasses of Turkish tea in the book-lined living room of his Minneapolis home, as his 12-year-old daughter worked on her homework in the next room. In a study nearby transcriptions of Turkish newspapers from the 1920's were neatly piled. He and others like him insist that coming to terms with the past serves Turkey's best interests. Their view echoes the experience of countries in Latin America, Eastern Europe and Africa that have struggled with similar questions as they emerge from periods of repressive rule or violent conflict. Reflecting a widespread belief that nations can ensure a democratic future only through acknowledging past wrongs, these countries have opened archives, held trials and created truth commissions. Mr. Akcam says some headway is being made, particularly since the election of a moderate government in 2002 and continuing Turkish efforts to join the European Union. After all, he says, in the past dissent could mean imprisonment or even death. "With the Armenian genocide issue, no one is going to kill you," he said. "The restrictions are in our minds." Mr. Akcam is convinced the state's resistance to historical dialogue is "not the position of the majority of people in Turkey," he said. He cites a recent survey conducted by scholars that appeared in a Turkish newspaper showing that 61 percent of Turks believe it is time for public discussion of what the survey called the "accusations of genocide." Ronald Grigor Suny, an Armenian-American professor of political science at the University of Chicago, was invited to lecture at a Turkish university in 1998. "My mother said, `Don't go, you can't trust these people,' " he remembered. "I was worried there might be danger." Instead, to his surprise, though he openly called the killings of Armenians "genocide," he encountered more curiosity than hostility. Still, Mr. Akcam's views and those of like-minded scholars remain anathema to the nationalist forces that still exercise influence in Turkey. Threats by a nationalist organization recently prevented the showing there of "Ararat," by the Canadian-Armenian filmmaker Atom Egoyan, a movie that examines ways in which the Armenian diaspora deals with its history. Mr. Akcam's own attempt to resettle in Turkey in the 1990's failed when several universities, fearing government harassment, refused to hire him. And when Mr. Berktay disputed the official version of the Armenian killings in a 2000 interview with a mainstream Turkish newspaper, he became the target of a hate-mail campaign. Even so, he says, the mail was far outweighed by supportive messages from Turks at home and abroad. "They congratulated me for daring to speak up," he recalled. Scholarly discussion can also turn into a minefield among the large numbers of Armenians in the United States and Europe. Attempts to discuss the killings in a wider context raise suspicions. "Many people in the diaspora feel that if you try to understand why the Turks did it," Mr. Suny explained, "you have justified or legitimized it in some way." Like their Turkish colleagues, a younger generation of Armenian academics in the United States and elsewhere has grown frustrated with the intellectual impasse. In 2000 Mr. Suny and Fatma Muge Gocek, a Turkish-born sociology professor at the University of Michigan, organized a conference that they hoped would move scholarship beyond what Mr. Suny called "the sterile debates on whether there was a genocide or not." Despite some disagreements between Turkish and Armenian participants, the group they brought together has continued to meet and grow. Mr. Akcam had been building bridges even before that meeting. At a genocide conference in Armenia in 1995, he met Greg Sarkissian, the founder of the Zoryan Institute in Toronto, a research center devoted to Armenian history. In what both describe as an emotional encounter, the two lighted candles together in an Armenian church for Mr. Sarkissian's murdered relatives and for Haji Halil, a Turkish man who rescued Mr. Sarkissian's grandmother and her children. Mr. Akcam and Mr. Sarkissian say Halil, the "righteous Turk," symbolizes the possibility of a more constructive relationship between the two peoples. But like most Armenians, Mr. Sarkissian says Turkey must acknowledge historical responsibility before reconciliation is possible. "If they do," he said, "it will start the healing process, and then Armenians won't talk about genocide anymore. We will talk about Haji Halil."

NYT 9 Mar 2004 For Spielberg, an Anniversary Full of Urgency By BERNARD WEINRAUB OS ANGELES, March 8 — Steven Spielberg's earliest blockbusters — "Jaws," "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial," "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" — avoided any hint of ethnicity. It was only with the release of "Schindler's List" in 1993 and its aftermath that Mr. Spielberg publicly confronted being Jewish. "Anti-Semitism affected me deeply; it made me feel I wasn't safe outside my own door," said Mr. Spielberg, who is now commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Shoah Foundation, an outgrowth of "Schindler's List" that has collected large numbers of video testimonies from Holocaust survivors. Discussing the taunts and ugly incidents of his childhood, Mr. Spielberg, 57, said: "It happened in affluent neighborhoods in Arizona and California, where I was one of the few Jewish students. I didn't experience it in more lower-middle-class environments in New Jersey and Ohio." Once, in a silent study hall of 100 students, several of them pitched pennies around his desk to taunt him, Mr. Spielberg said quietly. "I have vivid memories of that," he said. The hallways, too, could be an ordeal: "A lot of kids coughed the word `Jew' in their hands as they walked by me between classes." Those memories and the experience of making "Schindler's List" led to the foundation, officially called the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation. "When we started it, we were in a race against time because of the ages of the average Holocaust survivor," Mr. Spielberg said. In that sense, he said, the race is over because the foundation has collected nearly 52,000 remembrances, or testimonies, from people who survived the concentration camps. But in another sense, Mr. Spielberg said, the mission has never seemed more urgent. "We are in a race against time for the conscious minds of young people," he said, because youths need to learn "the dangers of stereotyping, the dangers of discrimination, the dangers of racial and religious hatred and vengeful rage." Mr. Spielberg spoke expansively and somewhat bleakly, mindful of recent incidents of anti-Semitism in France and elsewhere, in his offices on the Universal lot in Universal City. The spot is not far from the simple, Quonset-hut-style enclave in which the Shoah Foundation collects, catalogs and indexes the eyewitness accounts and makes documentaries, classroom videos, CD-ROM's and other materials. Shoah is the Hebrew word for "annihilation" or "catastrophe" and has come to be used to refer to the Holocaust. To commemorate the anniversary a DVD of "Schindler's List," the Academy Award-wining film about Oskar Schindler, the real-life war profiteer who saved more than 1,100 Jews from death in Nazi concentration camps, is being released Tuesday. It will include a 77-minute documentary being distributed for the first time, "Voices From the List," with testimonies from some of the survivors saved by Schindler. "Schindler's List" won seven Oscars, including best picture and best director. The film, with its brutal depiction of genocide, was an unexpected success for Mr. Spielberg: it grossed $321 million around the world. His own profits from the movie reached $65 million. He donated the money to create the Righteous Persons Foundation, which was set up to encourage the flourishing of Jewish life in the United States. At the same time Mr. Spielberg created the Shoah Foundation. Douglas Greenberg, the foundation's president and chief executive, said it had raised $160 million so far. Of that, he said, Mr. Spielberg has donated $54 million. Mr. Spielberg said that his goal was to create an archive of more than 50,000 videotaped testimonies of survivors as a permanent record and a source for teaching students. Zev Fried, manager of community relations for the foundation, said that there may have been as many as 300,000 survivors around the world 10 years ago but that the figure was uncertain. Mr. Spielberg said he had seen hundreds of testimonies over the last decade. "The biggest surprise was how forgiving and optimistic, how much they embraced life," he said. "My first prediction was I was going to hear so much anger, and I didn't. They didn't sound like victims. They sounded like people who had been hit by a sledgehammer, and they were hit so fast and so often they couldn't account for the reason behind it. They were just lost in why this happened." "They saw the warning signs, the restrictive laws and programs that happened in the 30's; they saw something," Mr. Spielberg said. "They just couldn't possibly foresee what came. No one had the imagination to imagine that kind of inhumanity. They couldn't see it coming. To this day there still is shock and a tremendous sense of loss. "And many of them came to realize that their survival was a miracle, and they didn't understand what made them so deserving of survival. Many have been haunted by that guilt for all the postwar years." The archive was collected in 56 countries and recorded in 32 languages. Mr. Greenberg said that the foundation had filmed interviews with about 200 of the people saved by Schindler, and that the 77-minute documentary was a compilation of some of the English-speaking accounts. Accounts in other languages, including Polish, Hebrew and Yiddish, are also being turned into a film. "They seamlessly tell the story of their own lives and Schindler's life from the point of view of the Jews who were on the list," Mr. Greenberg said. The majority of the 200 live in the United States, Israel or Australia, he said. The foundation's plans are now almost entirely educational. Talks have begun on making videos about genocide that would also include interviews with survivors of the Cambodian and Rwandan atrocities. The larger issue, Mr. Greenberg said, is "racism and violence." Mr. Greenberg said the foundation was seeking to make its Web site, www.vhf.org, multilingual in an effort to provide teaching materials to educators abroad. Other educational efforts have already begun or are imminent, including an English-language Web exhibition for students 11 to 14 that highlights testimonies from survivors who were children during the Holocaust. Films to be released include five foreign-language documentaries under the title "Broken Silence" by some well-known international directors, which involve interviews and film clips from the foundation's archives. This month the foundation is also making available what it calls a reality-style program, "Giving Voice," in which seven diverse teenagers talk about bigotry and their responses to the testimonies they have witnessed from survivors. The two-part video, released by Films for the Humanities and the Sciences, also includes a teaching guide. Mr. Fried, the foundation's community relations manager, said that as many as 500,000 students in the United States, mostly in high school, had seen a documentary or some of the visual histories made available by the foundation. About one million students abroad, mostly in Europe, have seen the testimonies or documentaries, he said. Many of the Holocaust survivors are quite old now, Mr. Spielberg said, because at the time the concentration camps were liberated the remaining prisoners were not especially young. "You have to remember they killed the children first, the children and the old," he said. "Those who could work were kept alive."

WP 10 Mar 2004 Obituaries Page B05 James L. Woods Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense James L. Woods, 71, the first deputy assistant secretary of defense for African affairs, died of cancer Feb. 7 at his home in Culpeper, Va. Mr. Woods's advocacy of the importance of Africa to the national security of the United States contributed to the Pentagon's creation of the office in the 1980s. He became interested in Africa in the 1970s when he was assigned to the Defense Department's division of international security affairs as acting chief of the Africa region. Mr. Woods was on the team led by Assistant Secretary of State Chester Crocker that negotiated the withdrawal of Cuba and South Africa from Angola, the subsequent independence of Namibia and the peace accord for Angola. "Jim Woods was Mr. Africa for the DOD for a long, long time," Crocker said. "He was a key player in negotiations which had military dimensions. . . . He was a key player on my negotiating team, and I relied on his counsel." When the Pentagon formed the African affairs office, Mr. Woods served as the inaugural deputy assistant secretary from 1986 until 1994, when he retired from government work. He then formed Cohen and Woods International, an international business consulting firm, with former assistant Secretary of State Herman Cohen and was called upon frequently by think tanks and academic institutions for his expertise on questions about African security. He was an outspoken critic on TV and in the press of the West's abandonment of Rwanda during the genocide in the 1990s. He called the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea comparable to the North African campaign of World War II. "The question is, when does the personal cost become too much to pay?" he asked in The Washington Post in 1999. Mr. Woods was born in Columbus, Ohio, and received a bachelor's degree in 1953 and a master's degree in political science in 1958, both from Ohio State University. He served in the Army in Germany as an armored cavalry officer for two years, then began working as a civilian with the Department of Defense in 1960 in Southeast Asia and the Far East. Assigned to Thailand during the Vietnam War with what is now the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, he worked on counterinsurgency methods in support of the Thai government. In the early 1970s, he did doctoral degree work in government studies at Cornell University. Mr. Woods returned to Washington in 1973. Survivors include his wife, Janice Woods of Orange, Va.; three children, Jody Clayton of Boulder City, Nev., Lynn Duduk of Germantown and Stephen Woods of Spencerville; three grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

Arizona Republic, AZ 12 Mar 2004 www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic Attorney helped get to bottom of Bosnian genocide Mark Shaffer Republic Flagstaff Bureau Mar. 12, 2004 12:00 AM Camille Bibles says she saw a lot of amazing things during her two years prosecuting Serbian war criminals at the International Court in The Hague, Netherlands. But nothing compares for Bibles, who recently returned to her old job as an assistant U.S. attorney in Phoenix, with what she witnessed during her final trip to Bosnia-Herzegovina last year. There, on top of what had once been a mass execution site of Muslims, three Bosnian Muslim families had built homes. Children played where there had once been killing fields. "That certainly says a lot about courage and the resiliency of the human spirit. It also epitomizes Bosnia," Bibles said. Bibles and another assistant U.S. attorney in Phoenix, Tom Hannis, accepted the jobs with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia out of a deep-seated desire to get to the bottom of the genocide during the 1990s. Hannis is still prosecuting the war criminals. "There was a worldwide search for capable prosecutors, and we were honored they took two outstanding people out of our office," U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton said. "There's a statute that allows federal prosecutors to serve up to five years with the U.N., and we were more than happy to oblige on these cases." Bibles came about her prosecutorial passion through years of throwing away the key on some of the state's worst criminals as chief deputy Coconino County attorney in Flagstaff. People such as death-row inmates Richard Bible, who murdered 9-year-old Jennifer Wilson in 1988, and Todd Smith, who murdered an elderly couple camping near Kinnickinnick Lake in 1995. Then there was Donald and Judy Booty, who tortured their child over a two-year period before murdering him in 1996. It was during the Booty trial that Bibles met the now-deceased Dr. Robert Kirschner, an expert witness who was director of the Chicago-based Physicians for Human Rights. Bibles said she had many long talks with Kirschner about his work trying to bring to justice those responsible for massacres in Bosnia and Rwanda. So, Bibles jumped at the chance to work with the tribunal. Her first case involved the northern Bosnia detention camp at Keraterm, where hundreds of Muslim men were beaten to death, some with baseball bats, during mid-1992. There was one major problem from the beginning in trying to put away the bad guy, Predrag Banovic. He had a twin brother, Nenad, who also was identified by eyewitnesses as participating in the atrocities. Ultimately, Bibles helped build a case against Predrag, and he was later convicted and sentenced to prison for eight years. But charges were dropped against Nenad when it was determined that although he had been at Keraterm on occasion, he was never a prison guard at the camp. Then, there was the case of Miroslav Deronic, a former high school teacher from Srebrenica. Deronic was convicted for giving orders in the destruction of a Muslim village in which about 65 people were killed. He is awaiting sentencing. "We got him a plea deal, and he rolled on (former Serbian leader Slobodan) Milosevic," Bibles said. "That was a very controversial tactic and not used before at the World Court. But I think it will set a good precedent for other genocide cases." Bibles said she went to Bosnia about half a dozen times to work on the cases. The hairiest moments came when she served search warrants in the former war-torn areas in the Serbian side of Bosnia, where emotions remain high. Bibles was protected by U.S. special forces during such forays.

Knight Ridder/Tribune 24 Mar 2004 Land-Distribution Bill Is Genocide, Says Western Shoshone Tribe By Brenda Norrell, Indian Country Today, Oneida, N.Y. Business News Mar. 24 - FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Western Shoshone Carrie Dann said a proposed U.S. distribution bill for payments of ancestral land is genocide and warned non-Indians that they would be the next ones that the United States strips of their rights. "What is going on today is genocide of our spiritual and cultural ways. You should not let this genocide happen because you might be the next one in line," Dann said during an address in downtown Flagstaff. "What happened to us will happen to you someday. There is already one act against you, it is called the Patriot Act." Delivering a fiery speech, Dann said the Western Shoshone Distribution Bill (H.R. 884) has passed the U.S. Senate and is now in the U.S. House of Representatives. "They want to pay 15 cents an acre to legitimize the theft against us. We are facing genocide in the Senate and the House." Naming Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., as the leader of the assault on Western Shoshone, she said, "He represents the big corporations." While the United States attempts to seize Western Shoshone land for corporate greed, Dann said Mother Earth has given everything to sustain life, even the tiny creatures like the bugs have been nurtured at the breast of Mother Earth. Yet, to non-Indians, she said, "I am characterized as a pagan, a savage." Dann said the United States seized Western Shoshone land for the Nevada Test Site and the Nuclear Waste Repository at Yucca Mountain. Now corporations are proceeding with open pit cyanide leach gold mining. The largest vein of gold in the United States has been discovered on the Western Shoshone's sacred mountain, the place of Creation. "They are pumping out the essence of life so the multi-national corporations can get richer." She said water is being used for gold mining and nuclear testing is poisoning water. "Some of the springs I used to drink from say, 'Do not drink the water.' We need help to protect the babies still in the Earth that haven't come out yet. If this degradation continues, there will not be a future for anyone." Newe (Western Shoshone) are struggling to protect their Newe Sogobia (homelands) for future generations. Dann said what was done to American Indians, was also done in Iraq. "They don't tell you how many children they have killed; they don't tell you how many innocent people they have killed." Drawing a parallel with the slaughter of American Indians, Dann said between 1492 and the present day, acts of genocide against American Indians resulted in the death of all but 2 percent of the American Indian population. "That is a bad history," Dann said. She said neither Indians nor non-Indians are taught the history of genocide in schools. The history books do not tell about the smallpox. Dann, however, remembers when she was young, hearing the old ones talk about the time when the people died of small pox. Now, she said their land is seized and sold as federal land to corporations for $2.50 an acre to mine gold. This land is worth billions. Dann's niece Mary Gibson, and Julie Fishel, attorney for the Western Shoshone Defense Project, joined Dann to make the presentation. Gibson said there have been three roundups and seizures of the Dann's horses since 1992. "It was the modern-day Calvary, it was very frightening." Gibson said it created images of what her ancestors went through when they were chased and murdered by the Calvary. "I feel these corporations have a lot to do with the roundups of Carrie and Mary's horses." She said the United States does not care about Indian people, but the people will endure. "It is Indian country. There are many, many Indian people who do not give up." Fishel said the United States does not want the American public or the international community to know that the Western Shoshone's 1863 Treaty of Ruby Valley is still in effect. Fishel said the United States wants to conceal the fact that Western Shoshone land was taken for nuclear testing, nuclear waste storage and corporate gold mining by manipulations of the U.S. Justice system and the deceit of the U.S. Interior who was complicit in the theft of Shoshone land and violated its position as trustee. The United States fears that the international community will discover that it violated the same human rights it claims to uphold by military force in other countries of the world. She said their governments who work in concert with corporations abuse the rights of indigenous. "Multi-nationals are repeating this pattern in other parts of the world." The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Western Shoshone and upheld their right to their land. Then, in order to subvert justice, the Indian Claims Commission was used in an attempt to do away with the high court's ruling. Fishel said when the U.S. Interior, as trustee of the Western Shoshone, received money for Western Shoshone land in 1979, it was a violation. "Who did they pay? They paid themselves." Referring to the Indian Claims Commission, Dann said the Commission attempted to diminish the Western Shoshone people. "They said we are animals and migrate from place to place." Fishel pointed out that federal Indian law is based on Christianity and the racism that was set in place at the time of colonialism. She said the U.S. doesn't want to face international probes because it seized use of Western Shoshone illegally and never paid for the use for nuclear testing. Further, Fishel said the Dann's and Western Shoshone are entitled to other damages. "They were subjected to psychological torture." As gold companies seize Indian lands in South America, Fishel said the public is kept in a fog. Gibson added, "There is no justice for Indian people in the United States." She said Indian people need an international legal forum. Fishel pointed out that the United Nations is comprised of nation member states that are also abusing indigenous peoples. "They are all complicit in the same crime." Fishel said the nations of the world need to turn to traditional indigenous peoples for guidance. Dann said the scenario of Western Shoshone land has been mirrored in the seizure of Black Mesa for coal mining. Dann praised Navajos for standing firm against forced relocation. Danny Blackgoat, son of the late Roberta Blackgoat, and Marie Gladue, both of Big Mountain, thanked Dann for her words. Gladue said her family lives with the scars of fighting for justice. While non-indigenous people think they live in a country of justice, she said, "It is an illusion." The presentation at the Federated Church community room in downtown Flagstaff began with the documentary "To Defend Mother Earth," the story of the Dann's struggle produced by Joel Freedman and narrated by Robert Redford. The video includes scenes of the arrest of Tim Dann, for shooting a mule deer to feed his family, and arrest of Western Shoshone leaders and elders on ancestral land in protest of nuclear testing. "Who will speak for the land?" asks narrator Robert Redford. Dann welcomed visitors to the Western Shoshone spring gathering May 14 – 16. Gibson said it is the traditional Indian elders that give her strength. "They know their truth and they stand on their truth." ----- To see more of Indian Country Today, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.indiancountry.com



IRIN 23 Mar 2004 Government confirms troop deployment following deadly violence in Herat KABUL , 23 March (IRIN) - The Afghan government has deployed a substantial number of troops to the troubled western province of Herat following Sunday's violence that claimed the life of Aviation and Tourism Minister Mirwais Sadiq, among others. "The government has sent 1,500 soldiers from the Afghan National Army to prevent further violence in Herat, boost security and underscore Kabul's authority," Javid Ludin, a spokesman for President Hamid Karzai, told IRIN on Tuesday in the capital. Initial reports said up to 100 people had been killed in Herat city after fierce factional fighting erupted following the assassination of Sadiq, son of Herat's governor, Ismail Khan. Troops loyal to Khan fought running gun battles with soldiers backing rival commander General Abdul Zahir shortly after Sadiq was killed, apparently by a rocket-propelled grenade. Sources in the city told IRIN that the death toll was much lower and that fewer than 10 bodies had been recovered following he street fighting. This was confirmed by Ludin. "Much less than a hundred people were killed." Officials said Khan, one of the country's most powerful men who has controlled large parts of western Afghanistan since the Taliban fell in late 2001, was also targeted by a failed assassination attempt earlier in the day. On Monday, the top United Nations envoy in Afghanistan appealed to all parties to restore law and order in the western city, where Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative Jean Arnault noted "with grave concern" that, while fighting had subsided somewhat, the house of Chief Justice Khodad had been burned by protesters. "No one was hurt in the act, but this attack raises the urgent issue of protecting the life and property of civilian leaders, no matter what their views might be," Arnault said in statement issued by his spokesman. He called upon all parties involved in the confrontation "to exercise restraint, to protect the lives of civilians, to do all in their power to reduce tensions in the city and to allow the restoration of law and order". Sadiq was the second aviation minister and the third senior government minister to be killed since the fall of the Taliban. In February 2002 Aviation Minister Abdul Rahman was killed at Kabul airport, apparently by pilgrims angry they were unable to take flights to Mecca. Vice-President Haji Abdul Qadir was shot dead by unknown attackers in mid-2002. In a statement, Karzai said he was "deeply shocked" by the killing of his minister, who was appointed in 2002. "The president mourns this tragic loss and offers his deepest condolences to the father of the deceased, Mr Ismail Khan, the governor of Herat, and his family," it said. A high-level government delegation is currently in Herat to investigate the incident, Ludin confirmed. "The safety and security of the people of Herat is the government's priority."


27 Feb 2004 Leading Bangladesh author stabbed Waliur Rahman BBC correspondent in Dhaka A leading and controversial author in Bangladesh has been stabbed and critically wounded on the University of Dhaka campus. Police said three youths stabbed Dr Humayun Azad and exploded two bombs to make their escape on Friday night. Dr Azad, a professor in the Bengali department, is being treated in Dhaka's Combined Military Hospital. He recently wrote a book critical of some Pakistanis for their role before Bangladeshi independence in 1971. Doctors said Dr Azad had lost a huge amount of blood due to deep injuries in his neck. No one has said they carried out the attack and police could not say anything about a motive. Dr Azad recently wrote Pak Sar Jamin Sad Bad (the first line of the Pakistani national anthem) which was critical about the role of Pakistanis and their Bangladeshi collaborators before the independence of Bangladesh in 1971. Several Islamist party activists denounced the book when it was published.

The Daily Star (Bangladesh) 1 Mar 2004 www.thedailystar.net Vol. 4 Num 270 Humayun Azad: The marked man A H Jaffor Ullah Only few days ago a nervous but determined writer, Prof. Humayun Azad, sent e-mail to the moderator of a forum for freethinkers by the name Mukto-Mona. Prof. Azad is a member of the forum. He wrote, "Dear Rahul, The Ittefaq published a novel by me named Pak Sar Jamin Sad Bad in the Eid Issue in December 03. It deals with the condition of Bangladesh for the last two years. Now the fundamentalists are bringing out regular processions against me, demanding exemplary punishment. Attached two files with this letter will help you understand." Dr. Azad enclosed to JPG files that contained news items including a photo of fundamentalists protesting against him outside the national mosque in downtown Dhaka. Prof. Azad's premonition came true. The goons perhaps hired by the bunch that hates Prof. Azad struck outside Boi Mela (Book Exhibition Center). Hours after a bunch of assailants descended on Prof. Humayun Azad's body to silence his voice for ever, I received an e-mail from news forum "Future of Bangladesh." A kind member from Dhaka frantically wrote, "A little while back (Dhaka, February 27, 2004 at 9:30) eminent writer Humayun Azad was attacked in front of Bangla Academy by a group of unknown assailants with chopping knives and has been grievously injured. Channel I has just now showed a completely blood drenched Azad being brought by the police to Dhaka Medical College Hospital and given primary treatment. His face, hands, T-shirt, trouser everything was soaked in blood. His condition is serious." An hour later, the same person from Dhaka who sent earlier an e-mail sent a grim message: "Humayun Azad has been shifted to CMH as his condition turned worse." My telephone started to ring immediately. My friends who write passionately on liberal issues pertaining to Bangladesh were very much perturbed hearing the sad news of an attempt on Prof. Azad's life. Unless you are out of sync with news from Bangladesh, you perhaps are well acquainted with the fact that the tiny country of 140 million has become very intolerant as of late. Only years ago, another Bangalee writer, Poet Shamsur Rahman, was attacked by some goons in the privacy of his own house. The attackers could not do more harm then because of the immediate action by the poet's neighbors. The Mullahs in Bangladesh have also given threats to Taslima Nasrin. Mind you, these are not idle threats. This time the goons have targeted Prof. Azad. It is worth mentioning here that Prof. Azad's recent writings included in his book "Pak Sar Zamin Saad Baad" have drawn attention from Jamaat leaders. Maulana Delwar Hossain Saidee, one of the most garrulous Jamaat MP, and his followers have asked the Khaleda Zia Administration to ban Prof. Azad's book. On February 28, 2004, the Daily Star reporting on attempted assassination of Prof. Azad wrote, "Addressing a demonstration at Baitul Mukarram National Mosque on December 12, leaders of an anti-Ahmadiyya outfit demanded arrest and trial of Prof Azad for the novel." Freedom loving Bangalees from all walks of life should denounce this heinous attack on one of the luminaries of Bangladesh's literati, Prof. Humayun Azad. Intolerance against liberal writers is on the rise in Bangladesh, which is symptomatic of a wholesale Islamisation of Bangladesh. I am confident other freethinkers and secularists would pen protest notes against this barbaric attack on Professor Azad. The government should apprehend the perpetrators of this crime and bring an end to this kind of attack on intelligentsia and freethinkers. Free speech is a hallmark of liberal democracy and Bangladesh society should go an extra mile to foster free speech everywhere in our ancestral land. Prof. Humayun Azad has many followers in expatriate communities who would express their anger through posting in myriad Internet forums. I urge the Bangladesh government to investigate the matter thoroughly and see what role avowed detractors of liberal writers have played in this barbaric attack. Dr. A.H. Jaffor Ullah, a research scientist and columnist, writes from New Orleans, USA

Xinhua 2 Mar 2004 Police raid opposition headquarters, 150 arrested DHAKA, Bangladeshi police Monday raided the headquarters of the main opposition Awami League (AL) and arrested some 150 activists, reported the Daily Star on Tuesday. The action was taken after several hand-made bombs blew off near the AL central office and injured a constable. Witnesses said unidentified men dropped a bomb onto one of the on-duty policemen Monday afternoon from the rooftop of a building in the area. Angered by the blasts, police alleged the bombs were hurled from the AL building and cordoned the party office immediately. Police said they seized 14 hand-made bombs and one revolver from the AL office. Home Minister Altaf Hossain Chowd hury at once issued a sharp warning to the main opposition, saying the government would not tolerate attack on law enforcers. Police also obstructed the motorcade of the AL chief and former prime minister Sheikh Hasia for an hour on her way to the headquarters after hearing the incident. Hasina alleged the drama was staged to divert the nation's attention from the attack on prominent writer Humayun Azad on Friday. The bomb attacks were amid a series of violence in the capital Dhaka after professor Humayun Azad was fiercely stabbed by unidentified assailants with butcher's knives in Dhaka University on Friday and Dhanmondi Sporting Club President Khairul Anwar Piaru was gunned down by six armed youths on Sunday night. Meanwhile, the police raid on the AL's headquarters also took place against the background of deteriorating political situation between the ruling alliance and opposition parties. The AL and three other left-leaning opposition parties -- Communist Party of Bangladesh, Workers Party and Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (National Socialist Party) -- have called a joint dawn-to-dusk countrywide hartal on March 6, to protest against Friday's attack on professor Humayun Azad.


www.csmonitor.com 3 Mar 2004 For 'killing fields' survivors, a sliver of hope for justice By Michael B. Farrell | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor LOWELL, MASS. - The first time he heard the words "United States," Chuck Sart was a teenager living in Thailand in a filthy, overcrowded refugee camp for survivors of Cambodia's "killing fields." Separated from his family during the Khmer Rouge reign in Cambodia, and unsure whether they had survived, Mr. Sart was swept up by an aid organization in 1983 and eventually delivered thousands of miles away to a home in Massachusetts. Now a social worker and community leader in this former mill town 25 miles north of Boston, Sart wonders if the remaining members of the Khmer Rouge, which he blames for ripping apart his family and wreaking havoc in his homeland during nearly four years of rule, will ever be brought to justice. He isn't holding his breath. Last week the United Nations met to discuss raising money for a tribunal to investigate the crimes of the Khmer Rouge. But for survivors like Sart, justice has been too long coming. Sart has watched from afar as other despots - Slobodan Milosevic, Rwanda's Hutu leaders, and soon Saddam Hussein - have been prosecuted for crimes against humanity. Not the Khmer Rouge. No, he says, "We went through a horrible time and nobody cares." The Khmer Rouge seized control of Cambodia in 1975, seeking to establish a radical Maoist state. Herded into communal workcamps, scores of Cambodians died of starvation, disease, and overwork. Others were murdered as the communists attempted to rid the country of "intellectual" or "elite" classes. Many middle- and upper-class Cambodians lost their entire families. Sart eventually learned his family had survived, but they were among the fortunate. One-fifth of Cambodians, or more than 1 million, died under the rule of Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, who himself died in 1998 without ever having been called to account for the deaths of his countrymen. "Saddam was a mass murderer - and so was Pol Pot," Sart says, in wonderment at the imbalance of global justice. "You can't just kill a million people and get away with it." Today, most former Khmer Rouge officers live with impunity in Cambodia. Some hold government jobs. Others serve as village chiefs, a result of the peculiar way Khmer Rouge defectors were put in power after Vietnam's invasion in 1979. In December, the UN and Cambodia signed a draft agreement establishing the legal framework for a tribunal, which is expected to last three years and cost $40 million. Now the UN is planning an official appeal to fund the tribunal that would indict between five and 10 former Khmer Rouge leaders deemed "most responsible" for the genocide. These developments are the most concrete since talks of criminal proceedings began in the mid-'90s. Even so, corruption, instability, and the strong-arm tactics of Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen, himself a former low-level Khmer Rouge leader, make the far-flung victims dubious of plans for justice. Cambodian-Americans have little political clout Sitting in a booth at the Red Rose restaurant in Lowell's gritty Pailin Market, a gathering spot for many of the town's estimated 25,000 Cambodians, Vesna Nuon recalls stealing food from his Khmer Rouge captors. "I stole the communal food even knowing that when you get caught they would kill you. When you're starving, you don't think about anything else," says Mr. Nuon. He was a teenager in the 1980s when his family was sponsored by an American charity to resettle in the US. The community here rarely speaks out for justice in Cambodia, Nuon says, because "they know it's not going to happen. And if it does happen, it's not going to be up to international standards for fairness." Besides, he says, shrugging, "It's not going to be any closure for a lot of Cambodians, because they know that there are a number of [former Khmer Rouge leaders] still around and still in power." Cambodian-Americans are largely a fractured group with little political clout or political will, he says. Many are impoverished, and some struggle with posttraumatic stress and other illnesses. Many also retain old political alliances, making it difficult to amass a unified voice to lobby the US to press the Cambodian government to move forward with the tribunal. 'Mistakes' Ratha Paul Yem publishes Lowell's "Cambodia Today" newspaper. The front page of the February issue shows former Khmer Rouge leader Noun Chea wearing sunglasses and surrounded by villagers after confessing to reporters that the Khmer Rouge "made mistakes." "These people still walk around and still have their freedom," Mr. Yem says. The delay in bringing Khmer Rouge leaders to justice rests "squarely on the shoulders of the Cambodian government," says Steven Ratner, a University of Texas law professor who was among a team of experts who traveled to Cambodia in 1998 and subsequently prepared a recommendation for how the UN should proceed with the genocide tribunals. The team suggested an ad hoc international tribunal that would take place outside Cambodia and be made up of mostly non-Cambodian judges. Their recommendation was not followed. In the end, Cambodia and the UN agreed to a tribunal presided over by a majority of Cambodian judges. Mr. Ratner says Hun Sen could readily "torpedo" the trials by wielding influence over judges or prosecutors. Judicial corruption Rampant judicial corruption in Cambodia "is indeed a concern," says Karsten Herrel, head of the UN team establishing the Khmer Rouge tribunal. In laying out the time frame for the court, the team is setting aside time to train Cambodian judges in international standards of law. "There needs to be a specific training process in the concept of genocide and what constitutes crimes against humanity," Mr. Herrel says. Two conditions must be fulfilled before the Khmer Rouge tribunals can be established: Cambodia's National Assembly must ratify the UN's draft agreement, and enough money must be raised to fund the trial through its first year. Neither has yet been accomplished. The Cambodian government remains deadlocked after elections last July in which Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party received a majority of votes but failed to persuade the other two major parties to form a coalition and convene the national assembly. "We are at the mercy of internal Cambodian politics," Herrel says. Raising money for the tribunal 25 years after the atrocities occurred, with Iraq and Afghanistan on the world's front burner, may also be a tough sell to international donors, according to Ratner. "The US is not really interested in this anymore," he says. "I don't really know where the international pressure is."

BBC 5 Mar 2004 Khmer Rouge chief's memoirs out Khieu Samphan claims he was unaware of the killings The former Khmer Rouge president of Cambodia, Khieu Samphan, has published his memoirs in which he denies taking part in the mass killings in the 1970s. In the book, he presents himself as a relatively powerless figure. But human rights activists say he is attempting to defend himself in advance of an expected genocide trial at a United Nations-backed tribunal. The Khmer Rouge have been blamed for the deaths of more than 1 million people while they ruled Cambodia. The book, the Recent History of Cambodia and My Successive Positions, went on sale in Cambodia on Friday at 13,200 riel ($3.30) a copy. A French-language version of the book was published in France last month. Mr Khieu argues that his role was largely ceremonial during the ultra-Maoist policies of "Year zero" which aimed to create an agrarian utopia, but which resulted in famine and deaths. "The accusations levelled against me - that I was 'one of the architects of the genocide of Democratic Kampuchea', or that I 'helped to cover up the construction of such a regime - are totally wrong," he wrote. He argued that he was emasculated by the communist party machinery. "Powerless, I could only nurture my regrets and despair in silence," he wrote. Instead, Mr Khieu is said to present himself as a humanist, only interested in improving the lives of his people. He is expected to be one of the first of the surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime to stand trial at a tribunal agreed to by the UN and the Cambodian government in December. The court's creation has been delayed by a lack of funds and a political crisis - no government has been formed since inconclusive general elections last July. Mr Khieu currently enjoys complete freedom, deep in the jungle on the Thai border. Only two Khmer Rouge officials are in prison awaiting trial - Ta Mok, a regional commander nicknamed The Butcher, and Kang Kek Ieu, more commonly known as Duch, who was the boss of Phnom Penh's notorious Tuol Sleng prison. During the regime's four years in power, nearly 2 million Cambodians were executed or died of disease or starvation in vast rural labour camps which became known as the "Killing Fields".

Reuters 10 Mar 2004 U.N. work on Cambodia genocide trial PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - A United Nations legal team has arrived in Cambodia to hammer out plans for the long-awaited genocide trial of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge henchmen, blamed for the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million people. The ultra-Maoist Khmer Rouge unleashed a four-year reign of terror in Cambodia in the 1970s as their dream of turning the jungle-clad southeast Asian nation into an agrarian utopia turned into the nightmare of the "Killing Fields". Many of the victims were tortured and executed. Others died of starvation, disease or overwork in vast rural labour camps. No Khmer Rouge leader has ever faced justice for the atrocities, but after more than five years of tortuous negotiations Cambodia and the United Nations agreed a formula last March to establish a jointly run genocide court. During what is its second week-long logistical visit, the U.N. team will look at possible trial venues and discuss issues such as staff pay so it can submit a full budget proposal to Secretary General Kofi Annan, Cambodian officials said on Wednesday. "They have come to see the sites for themselves before sending a final report to Kofi Annan to seek funds from donors," said Sean Visoth, a member of the Cambodian trial preparation team. Speculation has centred on a total bill of $40 million for a three-year trial, although officials have declined to comment. On their first visit, in December, U.N. officials said the courts should be up and running in 2004, but a seven-month political stalemate, which has held up Cambodia's final ratification of the U.N. deal, is making this look less likely. Spring Session 2004 Amendments to the law on company pensions Yes, I would like to receive an election and ballot reminder from swisspolitics.org! » continue


NYT 8 Mar 2004 March 8, 2004 Chinese SARS Hero Urges Party to Admit Error for '89 Massacre By JIM YARDLEY BEIJING, March 7 — The retired military physician who last year helped expose China's initial cover-up of the SARS outbreak is now calling on the Communist Party to confront one of its darkest periods and acknowledge that it was gravely wrong in violently cracking down on the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests in 1989. "My proposal is that the June 4 student movement of 1989 should be reappraised as a patriotic movement," Dr. Jiang Yanyong wrote in a letter dated Feb. 24. He later added: "Errors committed by our party should be resolved by the party. The sooner this is done, the better." Dr. Jiang's letter comes three months before the 15th anniversary of the crackdown on June 4, 1989, when government troops crushed what had been peaceful student-led protests. At least hundreds of people were killed and thousands wounded. The massacre remains one of the most delicate issues in China. Party leaders labeled the protests a "counterrevolutionary rebellion" and have justified the use of military force as necessary to maintain stability. But this official version of history infuriates many Chinese, even if few dare speak about it publicly. "The vast majority of people I know in every quarter of society are all clear in their hearts that the June 4 crackdown was absolutely wrong," Dr. Jiang wrote. "But because of the pressure from above, they haven't dared to speak their mind." His letter is addressed to the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the Communist Party-controlled legislative and advisory bodies which opened their annual sessions last week. Last April, Dr. Jiang became a national folk hero when he disclosed that health officials were lying about the number of people hospitalized in Beijing with severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS. At the time, officials said Beijing had about a dozen cases. Dr. Jiang said military hospitals alone had more than 100. His disclosure led to the firings of China's health minister and Beijing's mayor. Top leaders, including President Hu Jintao, demanded that officials truthfully report SARS cases. In a telephone interview, Dr. Jiang declined comment on his appeal. But he confirmed that he had written the letter, a copy of which was reviewed by The New York Times. In it, Dr. Jiang described the students as patriots who were protesting against official corruption, and he blamed "a small minority of leaders who wanted to protect corruption" for ordering the crackdown. He also recalled working as a surgeon on the night of the massacre and watching in horror as 89 patients with bullet wounds were brought into the emergency ward in a two-hour period. He quoted former President Yang Shangkun, who died in 1998, as saying the massacre should be re-examined, a step the doctor would like to see now. "I'm convinced that a correct evaluation of June 4 is everybody's desire and will certainly not create emotional turmoil," he wrote. "The policy of placing stability above all else can only create greater instability."

Boston Globe 8 Mar 2004 A new tone on rights in China? By Merle Goldman, 3/8/2004 IN THE PAST week, China has released a Tibetan nun who had been imprisoned for 15 years, reduced the sentence of a Muslim business woman activist, and exiled to the United States Wang Youcai, one of the founders of the China Democracy Party, the first opposition party since China's 1949 revolution. He was released five years short of his 11-year sentence. What is the significance of these developments? Do they signify that China's new generation of leaders, which came to power in 2003, is relaxing control over political dissent and is willing to allow more freedom of expression and association? The release of Wang Youcai is significant because he and his associates directly challenged China's one-party Leninist state when they tried to establish an opposition party in 1998. Moreover, they were not like other political dissidents who discussed sensitive political issues or wrote petitions demanding political reforms. Instead, they took concrete actions to make freedom of speech and association a reality by establishing an opposition party. Furthermore, the leaders of the China Democracy Party were not only public intellectuals; they were political activists who had been imprisoned for their participation in the Democracy Wall movement (1978-79), which in the aftermath of China's Cultural Revolution (1966-76) demanded political reforms, and in the 1989 Tiananmen demonstrations in Beijing, which called for democracy as well as an end to corruption and inflation. Wang had been a leader of the 1989 Tiananmen demonstrations while he was a graduate student in physics at Peking University. For this he was put on the list of 21 "most wanted" student leaders and sentenced to four years in prison. Due to pressure from the United States and China's desire to win the Olympics in the year 2000, Wang was freed in 1991. He returned to his home town of Hangzhou, where he resumed political activities, while supporting himself with odd jobs made possible by China's move to the market. Wang began the Chinese Democracy Party by registering it as a local NGO in Hangzhou. NGOs were new phenomenon in the post-Mao era, but unlike in the West, they had to be registered under the auspices of a state organization. Even though Wang and his colleagues did not have state sponsorship, their early attempts to register local branches of the China Democracy Party as NGOs in major cities and provinces initially met with little opposition. The timing of their efforts reflected another change in China. In the belief that the Chinese government would be less prone to crack down on independent political activities in order to avoid embarrassment and censure from the international community at the time of foreign visits, Wang registered the first local branch of the China Democracy Party on the eve of President Bill Clinton's visit to China in mid June 1998. His associates took similar actions in other Chinese cities during subsequent visits of a series of Western dignitaries. Whereas under the rule of Mao Zedong (1949-76), the Chinese government did not care about its image in the outside world, Mao's successors, beginning in 1978, wanted China to be accepted as a responsible member of the international community. The strategy of the China Democracy party activists was successful until the visits of foreign dignitaries ended in late 1998, whereupon virtually all the leaders of the fledgling party were arrested, thus ending their attempt to build a multiparty system. Nevertheless, their activities over the course of the summer and fall of 1998 were unprecedented in the People's Republic. Wang's case demonstrates that although China's present leaders do care about China's international image, they care even more about maintaining Communist Party leadership. The result has been blatantly contradictory policies. At the very time that China signed the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in October 1998, it was jailing members of the China Democracy Party. Similarly, now in response to pressure from the United States as well as an effort to deflect China's censure for human rights violations at the forthcoming meeting of the UN Commission on Human Rights, China has released a leader of the China Democracy Party and others. But this time Wang is being sent into exile to ensure that he will no longer be directly involved in Chinese politics. In some respects, China's new generation of leaders has moved in a different direction from their post-Mao predecessors. They have shown more concern to help China's underclasses -- workers in state industries, farmers in the inner provinces, and migrant workers -- hurt by the economic reforms. Reportedly, China's constitution at the current session of the National People's Congress will be amended to include a clause recognizing human rights. Yet, China's present leaders have continued their predecessors' repression of those advocating democratic reforms. While they release some political prisoners, they arrest others. Nevertheless, the pending constitutional amendment means that others seeking to assert their rights can refer to the constitution as the basis for their actions and that efforts for political reform from below will continue. Merle Goldman is professor of history emerita of Boston University and author of a forthcoming book, "From Comrade to Citizen: the Struggle for Political Rights in China."

AFP 8 Mar 2004 Tiananmen kin fear for doctor's safety after letter urging reassessment BEIJING : Relatives of victims from the 1989 Tiananmen massacre expressed fears for the safety of a Beijing doctor after he wrote to the leadership urging a reassessment of the crackdown. Jiang Yanyong, who rose to fame for his role in exposing the SARS cover-up, made the plea as the 3,000-member parliament, the National People's Congress, met in Beijing three months ahead of the 15th anniversary of the incident. "I'm worried about the safety of doctor Jiang," said Ding Zilin, whose 17-year-old son was shot and killed during the fateful events in 1989. Ding, a retired university professor, herself endured years of harassment for her efforts to lobby for an apology and a reassessment of the official verdict of the events. Jiang now could be courting similar problems with his open letter, she worried. "The new leaders of the party and the country ... should re-examine June 4," Jiang wrote in the letter, referring to the date in 1989 when tanks and soldiers moved to suppress demonstrators in and around Tiananmen Square. "Our party should rely on itself to settle the mistakes it has committed. The earlier and the more thoroughly it settles the mistakes, the better," said the letter, posted on a Hong Kong news website. Jiang Monday confirmed that he had indeed written the letter, but said he had not received a reply yet. "So far, the government hasn't reacted," he told AFP by telephone. Hundreds of demonstrators died in the streets around Tiananmen Square in June 1989, when the Chinese leadership decided to use force to put an end to weeks of pro-democracy and anti-corruption demonstrations. Jiang, who was a surgeon at the Beijing's No. 301 Hospital during the crackdown, related in his letter how he and his colleagues had worked frantically to save bullet-riddled victims being brought in. He described a revealing conversation he had in 1998 with the late Yang Shangkun, who had been president of the country in the spring of 1989. Yang agreed that the decision to send soldiers against demonstrators had been a mistake, according to the letter. "Yang said June 4 was the gravest error in the history of the party," the letter said. "He said that it was not in his power to redress it, but that eventually it would definitely be redressed." Jiang was a key figure in exposing the Chinese government's cover-up of the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in spring last year. After listening to the leadership's denial that it had any health crisis on its hands, he decided to go public with his knowledge that the number of SARS patients was much larger than admitted. Ding said Jiang's new letter may not have the same impact as action over SARS, which was a much more direct threat to people overseas. "They may think that this doesn't affect their interests directly, and that this is the Chinese people's own problem," she said. Jiang appeared ready to face the consequences of his new letter, which addressed an official denial over a festering issue of potentially much larger consequence than SARS. "After much deliberation, I have decided to write this letter to you," Jiang said in his appeal to the leadership. "Of course, I have considered the possibility that by writing this letter I will encounter various consequences, but I nevertheless decided to explain my exact views to you," he said. Ding said she was moved by Jiang's decision to "stand up and speak the truth." "The Chinese people forget their suffering too easily, which means that they are thrown into disaster time and again," she said. "We need more people like Doctor Jiang."

Reuters 8 Mar 2004 Beijing reacts over Tiananmen letter By Benjamin Kang Lim Beijing March 9, 2004 Print this article Email to a friend A military doctor who exposed China's SARS cover-up last year was questioned yesterday over the leak of a letter to the media that he wrote to top leaders asking for a reappraisal of the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests. A source close to Jiang Yanyong said two officials from the hospital where he worked came to his home yesterday and asked him how his letter to the Communist Party's 24-seat Politburo had reached the media. "He told them he didn't leak the letter and that he didn't know how the outside world knew about it. He told them they could conduct an investigation into it," the source said. In his letter to the Politburo Dr Jiang, a 72-year-old Communist Party veteran, wrote: "The mistake made by our party should be resolved by the party itself. The sooner and the more thorough, the better. Year after year, with no correction of the mistake, people feel more and more disappointed and angry." A reversal of the official verdict that the student-led demonstrations were a "counter-revolutionary rebellion" was unforeseeable in the near future because it would be politically sensitive and risky, analysts said. They said Dr Jiang's letter would embarrass and anger Beijing, but the authorities were unlikely to jail him for fear of a backlash. Rehabilitation of the protesters could split the party and trigger a power struggle. Some top leaders involved in, or who benefited from, the army crackdown on the movement are still alive or in power today, analysts said. Dr Jiang is a hero to many Chinese for blowing the whistle on the SARS cover-up. His revelation led to the dismissal of the health minister and the Beijing mayor and prompted truthful, open reporting of the epidemic. The weekly magazine Caijing, known for pushing the limits of government controls, called Dr Jiang "the honest doctor". But the party's propaganda tsars blacklisted Dr Jiang. A total of 89 people with gunshot wounds were admitted to the No 301 Military Hospital where Dr Jiang worked as chief surgeon on June 3-4, 1989, the letter said. Seven died from wounds caused by bullets that explode and disperse inside the body, he added. Observers say hundreds, perhaps thousands, of demonstrators were killed in the crackdown, centred on Tiananmen Square. Dr Jiang's letter of February 24 invoked two party elders it said were opposed to the crackdown - former president Yang Shangkun and Chen Yun, a political nemesis of then paramount leader Deng Xiaoping - to try to convince the current leadership to overturn the verdict. "The June 4 incident is the most serious mistake committed by our party in history," the letter quoted Mr Yang as telling Dr Jiang in 1998 before he died. "I don't have the ability to rectify it, but it will definitely be rectified in future," it quoted Mr Yang as saying.

Dr. Jiang Yanyong's Feb 24, 2004 letter calling for June 4 reappraisal [See the April 2003 News Monior for articles on Dr. Yanyong and the SARS epidemic]
"Chairman and vice chairmen of the National People's Congress [NPC] Standing Committee Chairman and vice chairmen of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference [CPPCC] Members of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau Premier and vice premiers of the State Council:
In 1989, students in Beijing, in view of the corrupt government at that time, voiced their just demand for fighting corruption and bureaucratic racketeering and for promoting clean and honest government. The students' patriotic acts had the support of the overwhelming majority of people in Beijing and the country. However, a small number of leaders who supported corruption resorted to means unprecedented in the world and in China. They acted in a frenzied fashion, using tanks, machineguns, and other weapons to suppress the totally unarmed students and citizens, killing hundreds of innocent students in Beijing, and injuring and crippling thousands others. "
"Then, the authorities mobilized all types of propaganda machinery to fabricate lies and used highhanded measures to silence the people across the country. Now 15 years have gone by and the authorities are expecting the people to forget the incident gradually. In the past they called this Tiananmen incident a "counterrevolutionary rebellion," and then they called it the "1989 political
storm." Giving the incident a different name specifically indicates the perpetrators' guilty conscience. If it was a storm, why did they have to mobilize hundreds of thousands of troops to suppress it? Why should they use machine guns and tanks to kill innocent ordinary people? Thus, I propose that we must correctly characterize the students' patriotic movement on 4 June 1989.
I am a surgeon at the PLA Number 301 Hospital. When the June 4th Incident took place in 1989, I was the director of the hospital's department of routine surgery. On the evening of 3 June, I heard repeated radio broadcasts urging people not to go to the streets. At about 2200 when I was in my dormitory, I heard continuous gunshots from the north. Several minutes later, my pager beeped. It was the emergency room's call. So I rushed there. I could not believe my eyes--lying on the floor and the examination tables were seven young people with blood all over their faces and bodies. Two of them were later confirmed dead after an EKG test. My brain buzzed and I almost passed out. I have been a surgeon for more than 30 years. When I was a member of the medical team of the PLA Railway Corps that built the Chengdu-Kunming Railway, I also saved many wounded soldiers, but they were injured by inevitable accidents during the construction process. However, lying before me this time were our own people, killed by children of the Chinese people, with weapons given to them by the people, in Beijing, the magnificent capital of China. But I could not afford the time to think at that time. After another salvo of gunshots, more wounded young people--I didn't know the exact number--were brought to the emergency room by people in the vicinity with pull carts and pedicabs. While I examined the injured, I also requested my staff to notify other surgeons and nurses to come to the emergency room. All 18 surgical rooms in our hospital were used for emergency treatment for the injured. My job in the emergency room was to determine the nature of the injuries and treat the injured. During the two-hour period from 2200 to midnight, our hospital's emergency room accepted 89 patients with bullet wounds. Seven of them later died despite emergency treatment. In the 18 surgical rooms, doctors in three groups spent most of the night performing surgical operations to save all those who could be saved.
I can never forget the one who died. He was a young man in his twenties, whose parents were cadres retired from the Seventh Machine-Building Ministry located across the street. They had four or five children. When they heard the radio broadcasts that asked people not to go to the streets, they forbade their children from leaving home, and they sat down to play mahjong. When it was about 2200, the elderly couple became sleepy and was about to go to bed. But this young man (he was the youngest in the family, who just received his wedding certificate) and his "fianc" went to the streets when they heard the gunshots outside. When they ran to the Five Pines Crossroad, a salvo of gunshots sprayed on them. The girl turned and ran. She yelled at her boyfriend to return immediately. A little while later when she found her boyfriend did not follow her, she went back. Soon she found her boyfriend lying on the roadside in a pool of blood. She called his name. There was no response. She pulled him, but he would not move. The people nearby immediately came forward to help. Several of them held him up and brought him to our emergency room. A nurse checked his blood pressure. There was none. When she performed an EKG test on him, the line on the screen was flat. When I examined him, I found a bullet hole in his left arm, but I could not find the hole from which the bullet exited. His girlfriend begged us to save him. But we could not, because, as the flat EKG line showed, his heart had stopped. We assessed that the bullet had entered his heart. The girl cried as if she had gone crazy, but she
immediately went home and brought her boyfriend's mother to the emergency room. After the mother came, she searched all over her son, but all she could find was one bullet hole. Then she kneeled before me. She held my leg and begged me to save her son. With tears all over my face, I was speechless. Then I quatted beside this totally shattered mother and told her that her son's heart was
smashed and he could not be saved. The mother, after calming down for a little while, began to break into a torrent of abuse, saying: "I joined the military when I was very young. Then I joined the party and followed the CPC in fighting Japan and Chiang Kai-shek. Now the PLA killed my dearest child, I am going to settle the score with them." Later her son's body was placed on the floor in our hospital'smorgue along with other bodies. Some PLA soldiers were there to watch them. The deceased were vilified as "ruffians" and their bodies were not supposed to be picked up [by their families]. The next day, the young man's family member came to pick up the young man's body, but they were not allowed to do so. However, they were relatives of a high-ranking general and so they were allowed to take away the body soon afterward.
Another deceased person was a physically robust motorcyclist. After practicing in Fengtai that afternoon, he came to the Five Pines Crossroad in the evening. He was injured by a bullet before he could dismount from the bike. Several people put him on a pull cart and brought him to our emergency room. When I examined him, his blood pressure was still normal, but there was a big bullet hole on the left side of his pubis and blood was gushing out from the hole. We could not stop the bleeding by applying a tourniquet to that part of the body. Because of the loss of a great quantity of blood, his blood pressure soon plummeted. Then he went into shock and began to have difficulty breathing. Then, with his mouth wide open gasping for air, he soon stopped breathing and died before my eyes. As a surgeon, I can never forget that scene where a patient died before my eyes owing to the fact that we could not save his life under conditions at that time.
At about midnight, a military officer with the rank of major (the only serviceman we saved that night) was brought to our emergency room. A bullet pierced through his upper left arm. The X-ray picture showed his humerus was crushed and there were many tiny metal fragments (I sensed that the bullet was a lead-made fragmentation bullet) in the surrounding soft tissue. The military
officer told us that he came to Beijing to visit his relatives. At night when he was at a street by the Military Museum (the place where he worked), he was injured by the passing troops that fired a salvo of bullets. The elderly man on his right and the small boy on his left were both killed instantly by bullets. He was fortunate because only one of his arms was injured. The man who brought him to the emergency room for treatment was a retired serviceman who had fought in the Vietnam War. He said this to the many wounded persons and medical persons in the emergency room: The PLA's support for the left during the Cultural Revolution significantly tarnished the PLA's image on the minds of the people. The troops' use of machineguns and tanks to kill fellow countrymen is
something that even Heaven would not tolerate. He said it would not be possible for the military to rebuild its image among the people.
After midnight, the troops had passed through our hospital and no more wounded people were brought to our hospital. Then I proceeded to the surgery room to check the situation there. I saw one man who had his liver smashed and the smashed liver still had tiny fragments of metal. We took pictures and videotaped the scenes like that. In other cases, our doctors also found large amounts of tiny bullet fragments in the wounded persons' intestines. It was clear that the injuries were not caused by ordinary bullets, but by the so-called fragmentation bullets, the kind of bullets banned by international convention.
Martial law in Beijing began on 19 May. Because the troops sent to Beijing [to impose the martial law] were stopped by the people along the way, they could not go downtown. So they were stationed at our hospital, the Armored Corps, the Telecommunications Corps and other military units located along the Fuxing Avenue. From our medical staff's conversations with the troops stationed in our
hospital, we gradually learned the truth of the student movement and so our medical personnel clearly stated that they would never take part in suppressing the students. In those days, at about 0600 early in the morning each day, a helicopter from the Xijiao Airport would take off and fly slowly eastward along Fuxing Avenue to contact the responsible persons of the troops stationed in various units(the person in charge in our hospital was a regiment commander) to make sure the troops were ready for assignments. At this time the troops would get everything ready and wait for the arrival of the helicopter and the regiment commander would contact the helicopter via radio, saying that his unit was prepared. Soon after the helicopter left, the officers and men of the unit would go here andthereto chat with the comrades in our hospital. Specifically because these units could no longer be assigned to suppress the students, they were withdrawn in late May and early June. I heard that the troops which later took part in suppressing the students were hurriedly deployed from Shandong. Many of the soldiers in those units had fought in Vietnam and had opened fire and killed people during their confrontation with the enemy. When they were shipped to Beijing, they had no newspapers to read and no radio to hear on the trains. They were totally in the dark regarding the situation. Soon after they came to Beijing, they were told that their mission was to suppress the counterrevolutionary rebellion in Beijing. Under that circumstance, the ignorant soldiers did what they were told, causing the tragic June 4th Incident.
On the evening of 3 June, each and every medical worker in our hospital who took part in saving lives could not imagine that such a tragedy that no normal person could understand could have occurred. At that time I even thought that it could have been an incident caused by a certain military leader who had gone reckless. At that time I also talked to the president of our hospital, surnamed Liao, asking him whether we could call the higher authorities to immediately put a stop to the situation that was happening before our eyes. Like me, President Liao, with tears in his eyes, did not know what to do. On the morning of 4 June, a tank drove up to our hospital's outpatient clinic and some soldiers brought down two soldiers who were in a coma. At that time I was still in the emergency room. Ilearned from the soldiers who brought the unconscious soldiers that they could have been intoxicated. So I told President Liao that the Academy of Military Sciences across the avenue should know how to treat people injured by poisonous gas. When we were establishing contacts [with the academy], we also tried to transfer the two soldiers to Hospital Number 307 across the street through an underground tunnel. President Liao, myself, and other comrades in our hospital were very sorry to know that our people and soldiers were injured in such a manner.
On 9 June, Deng Xiaoping summoned the leaders of all units and talked to them. Then the investigations began. One day, Prof. Zhu Ke, who was my classmate and director of the neurology department of the hospital, visited me, saying that the hospital had asked him to talk to me about the trip I made to Tiananmen in mid-May with some medical students pursuing advanced training in our hospital.
I told Zhu: You stay out of this. Whoever in the hospital wants to know about the trip should talk to me in person. Soon, one comrade of the hospital's political department visited me. He told me that in a videotape the higher authorities saw me and the medical students going downtown along Fuxing Avenue. He said the students were on a truck, holding high a streamer with characters that read "Support Group of the PLA Medical College for Advanced Studies" and beating gongs and drums; and that I was following them on a bicycle. He asked me to explain what was going on. I told him this: That day was a Wednesday. Our department was scheduled to go downtown that afternoon to attend an academic symposium sponsored by the Beijing Surgery Society, and we had reserved
transportation. When we went to the motor pool, we were told that it could not dispatch any vehicles because the road was congested with demonstrators. Then I saw many medical students inside the hospital gate. They all put on white gowns and were ready to go to Tiananmen to voice their support for the students. When these students saw me, they asked me to join them. I asked them what time they would return and they said they would camp at the Tiananmen Square. So I told them that in that case I could not go with them. Then I rode my bicycle and
biked slowly with them. On our journey, we chatted.
When we reached Lishi Road, no motor vehicle could proceed. Then they disembarked and walked downtown and I continued to ride on my bicycle. Because of a sudden rainstorm, I hurried back to the hospital after making one round of the square. I told the comrade that everybody knew about my trip to Tiananmen Square and that I had made no mistake on the trip. Then the comrade who had had the heart-to-heart talks with me reported what I told him. Later, whenever the June 4th Incident was discussed, I insisted that the suppression of the student movement was wrong. Because of that, I did not receive the promotion I deserved that year.
Following the June 4th Incident, everything was measured by one's attitude toward the incident, such as the reorganization of the leading group of our fraternal unit, the Academy of Military Sciences. When higher authorities interviewed Prof. Qin Boyi, the president of the academy at that time, he candidly indicated that he had done nothing wrong in approaching the incident. For example, when the martial law troops could not go downtown and had to be stationed in some of the military units along the way, President Qin said that, according to the academy's assignments, if the troops wanted to be stationed in the academy, they should also bear the responsibility of safeguarding the academy's security; otherwise other people would also want to be stationed in the academy and that would cause unnecessary problems. Consequently, the troops were not stationed in the academy. As to the delivery of drinking water to those students who were on a hunger strike in Tiananmen Square, Qin said he approved the move and even approved the use of a motor vehicle for that purpose. That was because many other units did the same thing, he said. The consequence of these investigations was the dismissal of Qin from office. Prof. Tang Peixuan, a vice president [of the academy] and also my classmate, was also dismissed from office after he said to his superiors that when he took part in
student movements before Liberation, the Guomindang [KMT] government at that time only used fire hoses to spray water on the students and did not use guns for the suppression. He said it was incomprehensible that the people's troops this time killed countless [wu shu de] students and ordinary people with machineguns and tanks.
Then, another vice president of the academy was promoted to president of the academy because he said things the superiors wanted to hear and because he performed well while stating his position.
Following the June 4th Incident, the overwhelming majority of my friends in all walks of life clearly understood that the June 4th suppression was absolutely wrong. However, because of the higher authorities' pressure, they did not want to speak their minds. In this respect, the claim that people were in unity with the central authorities was entirely untrue. On all occasions over the past 15 long years, I always stated clearly that I believed the June 4th suppression was absolutely wrong. I also hoped that this mistake would be corrected by our party with firm resolve. Because of the Cultural Revolution, China was on the verge of total collapse. Then Deng Xiaoping emerged and our party corrected the mistakes made in the Cultural Revolution. China was not thrown into chaos.
Rather, the people gained more confidence in the party. In those days, China had serious food shortages. We needed ration coupons to buy everything. But the people still supported the party in surmounting all sorts of difficulties. In only 20 years, our country has significantly changed. Now our country has plenty of goods and the people's living conditions have significantly improved. Moreover, correcting the mistakes made in the June 4th Incident is the common wish of people in the country and also the wish of people throughout the world. As long as the leaders of our party act with firm resolve to correct the mistakes, I believe they will have the support of the whole nation and there will not be chaos in the country.
One day in 1997 I visited Comrade Wu Zuguang in his home. He told me that he had wanted to speak at the CPPCC National Committee session that year but the session's chairman wanted his written speech in advance; consequently the chairman did not let him speak at the session and he could only speak at the literature and art group discussion. He said he endorsed China's earthshaking economic changes in the past 20 years as a result of Comrade Deng Xiaoping's reform and opening up policy. He said the Chinese people would not forget his meritorious contributions in this respect. But he pointed out: Deng Xiaoping's way of handling the June 4th Incident was mistaken [you cuo de]. Now that Deng is dead, we should reassess the incident. Deng was a very old man in 1989 and he learned the outside world primarily through second-hand information. At that time Beijing's Chen Xitong gave him false information, claiming that reactionary forces at home and abroad were behind the students. That was why Deng was fooled. He was deceived by Chen. Now Chen is a felon found guilty of corruption. So Chen should be the one to be held criminally accountable, and the true nature of the incident should be made known. Wu told me that after he finished his talk at the group discussion, no one at the session expressed disagreement (and of course no one could come up with any legitimate reason to disagree), but no one supported his view either. That hurt him tremendously. That was because he knew those at the session were very smart intellectuals but who nevertheless were afraid to speak their minds even though they shared his view in private. That pained his heart totally. His wife, Xin Fengxia, said to me that she always urged him not to express any views, but it was useless because Wu would not listen and would seize any opportunity to state his views, saying: Everybody has a mouth, which serves two purposes: eat and speak. Whenever I speak, I must speak the truth. If this mouth is used to tell lies and if I don't want to use it to speak my mind, then its only purpose is to eat. What's its usefulness in that case? Wu's talks educated me greatly. A man must talk and tell the truth.
Later I visited my teachers, Lei Jieqiong and Wu Jieping. They were my teachers when I was a student at Yanjing University. I told them my experience in saving the injured people at Hospital Number 301 on the evening of 3 June. They both indicated that they were not aware of the specifics of the incident, but they both maintained that the government made a
big mistake in handling the incident.
They added that while they couldn't do anything now, they believed the issue would be resolved in the future.
In 1998, I and some comrades, as CPC members, wrote a letter to state leaders, NPC deputies and CPPCC National Committee representatives, proposing that the June 4th Incident be reappraised.In 1998, I called on Comrade Yang Shangkun at his residence and reported to him my visit to Taiwan (Yang had always been the principal person in charge of the Taiwan issue) and I talked to him about the view of my cousin, Jiang Yanshi [Tsiang Yen-si, a senior KMT official who held many important offices in Taiwan] about reunification. Then I told Yang that I was the surgeon in charge of treating the injured persons brought to Hospital 301 and asked him whether he wanted to hear my view. He said he wanted to hear. And so I told him what I saw. I also gave him a copy of the letter that I wrote to the central leaders. Yang indicated that the June 4th Incident was an incident in which the CPC committed the most serious mistakes in its history. He said he could not do anything to correct the mistake, but said that the mistakes would be corrected in the future. Comrade Yang Shangkun's view was also the view of many other elderly comrades. After the June 4th Incident, the Central Advisory Commission chaired by Bo Yibo held a session to criticize four elderly comrades: Yu Guangyuan, Du Runsheng, Li Rui and Li Chang. Some people even plotted not to let these four party members reregister their membership. Later, Comrade Chen Yun wrote a letter to the Central Advisory Commission, and Bo Yibo read the letter at a plenary session of the commission. The letter said, to the effect: We must stop handling the matter this way. We have learned a lot from things in this respect. Is it possible that we will have to rehabilitate these people in the future? After reading the letter, Bo said: This issue is finished. We will not discuss it anymore. We should stop talking about it from now on. Comrade Chen Yun has said it very clearly in his letter that he is against the handling the June 4th Incident in such a manner. I don't know whether this important view of Comrade Chen Yun has been referred to the CPC Central Committee, the NPC Standing Committee and the CPPCC Standing Committee ["standing committee" as published].
Recently I read the book, "For the Sake of China's Tomorrow -- Those Who Are Alive and Those Who Have Died [Weile Zhongguo de MingtianSheng Zhe yu Si Zhe]," written by Ding Zilin, author of "The Tiananmen Mother [Tiananmen Muqin]." The book makes me clearly aware of the pressure and the pains that the mother of a 17-year-old warm blooded youth, who was killed in the June 4th Incident, had to bear over the past decade or so. This mother and other family members of the victims did everything possible to find and contact the families of nearly 200 victims and others who became cripples; then, in one way or another, they expressed their wish -- the wish that the government should seriously and responsibly explain to them the killings of their family members. That was a reasonable request. Who among us does not have parents, children, and brothers and sisters? Like them, anyone whose family members were unjustly killed should voice the same request. Each CPC member, Chinese citizen and human being must courageously support their just demand. Beginning in 1995, they have made it a practice each year to write an open letter to the NPC Standing Committee stating their just demand. Regrettably, however, this supreme power organization of the state has turned a deaf ear to this serious request and made no response whatsoever. This is an extremely irresponsible attitude. We will never be able to justify this before the people of the world.
I have written quite a lot already. What I want to say is this: Since the new party and state leading collectives formed after the 16th National Party Congress have stressed on all occasions the need to act on the Constitution and be people-centered, then the NPC Standing Committee, the CPPCC Standing Committee ["standing committee" as published], the members of the 16th CPC Central Committee Political Bureau and members of its standing committee must reassess the June 4th Incident in light of the criteria in the PRC Constitution and the party's three most fundamental principles -- "integrating theory with practice (or seeking truth from facts), maintaining close ties with the masses, and making criticism and self-criticism." Our party must address the mistake it has made. The earlier these mistakes are resolved and the more thorough they are resolved, the better. I believe that correct assessment of the June 4th Incident is what the people want and it will never cause unrest among the people. The claim that stability is of overriding importance can in fact cause even greater instability. For years, each time before June 4th, some people, like sitting on thorns, are in a state ofextreme nervousness. They would not know how many people would be mobilized this time to prevent disturbances. This has been the case year after year. The uneasiness has not gradually diminished just because the June 4th Incident has become farther and farther away. On the contrary, the people have become increasingly disappointed and angry.
After repeated deliberations, I think I must write you this letter. Of course I have considered the consequences that I might encounter after writing this letter. But I have decided to tell you all the facts. If you think it is necessary, please talk to me at your convenience. If you receive this letter, please acknowledge the receipt.
My address: No. 26, Zhuge Zhuang, Wanshou Road, 5-1204
Zip code: 100036 Tel: 68134451[Signed] Jiang Yanyong, Department of Surgery, Beijing 301 Hospital [Dated on] February 24 2004
[Text Sources:
http://asnic.utexas.edu/~bennett/__322/Jiang-Yanyong.pdf OR China Digital News http://journalism.berkeley.edu/projects/chinadn/en/archives/002276.html]

AP 16 Mar 2004 Wen defends 1989 crackdown THE RIGHT CHOICE: The Chinese premier said the economic advances made since the Tiananmen Massacre were proof the government had `stabilized the situation' AP , BEIJING Premier Wen Jiabao has defended the government's deadly 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Tian-anmen Square, calling the student-led demonstrations a "very serious political disturbance" that had to be put down. In a rare, nationally televised news conference, Wen cited China's economic advances since then as evidence the government made the right choice. He did not directly answer a question from reporters about a military surgeon's petition calling on the government to admit it made mistakes in crushing the student-led protests 15 years ago. Hun-dreds, perhaps thousands, of people were killed. "What hung in the balance was the future of our party and our country," Wen said. "We successfully stabilized the situation of reform and opening up and the path of building socialism with Chinese characteristics." He noted the country had made "tremendous achievements" since the crackdown. "At the end of the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s, China faced a very serious political disturbance," Wen said at the news conference on Sunday. The surgeon, Dr. Jiang Yanyong, has called on the government to reappraise the demonstrations as a "patriotic movement." In a letter sent to the annual session of the National People's Congress, he said ordinary Chinese will be "increasingly disappointed and angry" if the party does not revise its judgment on the incident. Wen became premier last year in a generational leadership change that saw the retirement of many officials involved in the 1989 crackdown. His response on Sunday echoed the government's consistent reluctance to face the issue. Instead, Wen used the news conference to hammer home the themes he outlined at the beginning of the 10-day legislative session -- such as expanding development to the impoverished countryside instead of just to China's booming cities. "The Chinese economy is at a critical juncture," Wen said. "Deep-seated problems and imbalances in the economy over the years have not been fundamentally resolved." He promised to prevent the country's experiment in capitalism from spinning out of control, and he vowed to rein in the endemic corruption. He cited shortages in energy and raw materials and a decrease in grain output, called rising prices a problem and said economic controls -- while difficult -- must be enforced in the name of stability. "All these problems must be addressed appropriately. This presents an important challenge to the government," Wen said. "If we fail to manage the situation well, setbacks to the economy will be inevitable." The premier said he had recently met with Hong Kong Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa , who requested financial help from Bei-jing for the territory's economy. "The relevant agencies of the central government are seriously studying the suggestions he brought to us," Wen said. He encouraged Hong Kong residents to "unite and work together." He also reiterated his government's stance that Taiwan is a part of China. "Some people in the Taiwan authorities have been trying to push for a referendum on Taiwan independence based on the pretense of democracy," he said. "They have undermined this universally recognized principle of one China and threatened stability in the Taiwan Strait."

Reuters 18 Mar 2004 Tiananmen postings lead to closure of websites BEIJING - Officials have closed two websites used by tens of thousands of people to post online diaries known as blogs because their contents were deemed objectionable. Chinese Internet users said the sites were shut down because one or more personal Web pages talked about a doctor's letter to the Communist Party's powerful Politburo. Advertisement Dr Jiang Yanyong had asked for a reversal of the official verdict that the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protest was a 'counter-revolutionary rebellion'. The Blogbus site has been closed since March 11. A notice on the site said: 'Because content posted by certain individuals is against regulations, this website's server will be temporarily closed.' The Blogcn site was closed on March 14, the day the National People's Congress meeting ended.


www.milligazette.com Published in the 1-15 Feb 2004 [India Muslim's Leading English Newspaper] Gujarat carnage and Muslim women By Asghar Ali Engineer The Gujarat Carnage after the Godhra train burning incident in early 2002 brought disgrace to India. Such brutal communal carnage had never taken place before in the post-independent India. It attracted worldwide attention and number of countries including the European Union and United States sent its official representatives to find out what went wrong and why such carnage took place at all. From within India also several human rights groups, women’s groups and human rights activists rushed to Gujarat to express their sympathy and solidarity with the victims of Hindutva aggression against helpless minority victims. Never before so many activists had rushed to any communal violence scene in India. So many reports were prepared of the ghastly crime against humanity and still that work is going on. There are several aspects to be probed and every probe raises cries of shame. The crimes against women were really unspeakable. The women particularly those who are working for women’s rights and empowerment were greatly perturbed at what happened with them in Gujarat. Many women activists went and interviewed the victims in refugee camps. Yet so much needs to be explored. The wounds inflicted on minority women can hardly heal especially when they were subjected to such unspeakable crimes. Still they are living with sense of shame and agony. Recently a team of women activists from different countries like France, Germany, U.K., The Netherlands, Sri Lanka and India visited Gujarat and wrote a report Threatened Existence- A Feminist Analysis of the Genocide in Gujarat. This report comprising 244 pages is a must for all those who want to know of festering wounds two years after the carnage. The report has been written after months of pains-taking research. In the introduction to the report these anguished women say, “ The specific targeting of women, as part of a conscious strategy to terrorise the Muslim population of Gujarat, also particularly concerned the panellists (of women). According to Rhonda (one of the panellists), sexual violence played a fundamental role and was used ‘as an engine of the mobilisation of hatred and destruction.’ It further says, “The scale and brutality of the sexual violence unleashed upon women was new, or felt as it was new, to the panellists who could not be prepared for the testimonies they heard even though they were aware of the centrality of this method in the violence of 2002.” Meera, who lives in Gujarat and was acutely conscious of what had happened in Gujarat in February-March 2002 described it as follows: “Many doubts arise in your mind [about the erosion of citizenship] particularly when you come face to face with women who have undergone brutal sexual attacks and mass rape. For first time married women broke their silence on the sexual attacks they suffered. A mother spoke of her two daughters but did not say that she herself was a victim….testimonies were often given with young children looking on, punctuated with long silences. None of us could sleep that night; a community was being held to ransom – accept your citizenship or….We exchanged experiences of Bosnia, Palestine, Israel but the extent, brutality and the varied methods of Gujarat were unheard of.” Thus these women panellists Sunila Abeyeskera of Sri Lanka, Rhonda Copelon of City University of New York, Anissa Helie of France, Gabriela Mischkowski of U.K., Uma Chakravarti of Delhi University and Wahida Nainar of the Netherlands, Farah Naqvi of Delhi and Meera Velaydan of India came to conclusion that sexual violence that took place in Gujarat was really unheard of and such things were not to be found even in places like Bosnia, Palestine and Israel. On their Gujarat wide tour these women heard story after story of sexual crimes at the hands of supporters of Hindutva. Yasmin, a woman survivor from Panchmahal district told the panellists “They cut off breasts of her (neighbour’s) daughter, it is difficult to forget, it still swims in my vision. I have lost my mental peace.” Another woman survivor Sabah from the same district said, What had those kids done to them? I cannot forget those girls [who were raped]. We have to try and arrest them [the rapists]. Quoting Sabah’s testimony the report says, “We ran in different directions and hid in the field. But the mob found some of us and started attacking….I recognised two people from my village Gano Baria and Sunil – pulling away my daughter. She screamed, telling the men to get off her and leave her alone. The screams and cries of Ruqayya, Suhana, Shabana, begging for their izzat [honour] could clearly be heard. I could do nothing to help my daughter from being assaulted sexually and tortured to death." In Tanika Sarkar’s words, “The pattern of cruelty suggests three things. One, the woman’s body was a site of almost inexhaustible violence, with infinitely plural and innovative forms of torture. Second, their sexual and reproductive organs were attacked with a special savagery. Third, their children, born and unborn, shared the attacks and were killed before their eyes.” And despite such sexual savagery perpetrated against Muslim women in Gujarat, the NDA Government at the Centre, not to speak of Narendra Modi Government in Gujarat not only remained silent spectator but occasionally justified it. Remember Defence Minister Mr. George Fernandese justifying this in a debate in Parliament on Gujarat said that this is nothing new, it has been happening in India for ages. Even the Prime Minister, though a poet and claiming poetic sensitivity remained silent, if not justified it a-la Fernandese. The panellists in the report make one very pertinent point about Muslim women being sexually assaulted to such a degree as in Gujarat. The report says, “The women of the community suffer attacks in two ways. In the first case they are members of the collective, like any other, and are liable to be attacked. At the same time, they are the biological and cultural reproducers of the community and their bodies symbolize the body of the community and its boundaries. In the Hindutva project, the control of the Muslim mother through gender and sexual domination is at the forefront of the political strategy in Gujarat and elsewhere.” Thus it would be seen that sexual assault is not simply fulfilment of ones lust; it is much more than that in such cases. By sexually violating the women of the ‘other’ you are destroying their honour and humiliating them as a community and treating body of women as body of the community. Woman’s honour must be destroyed to destroy the honour of the community. Thus supporting this view the report says that the sexual assault incidents were not just random or isolated incidents. They were widespread and pre-planned. For many cases – Gujarat, Rawanda, the former Yugoslavia – such wide scale violence could not have been conducted without a significant measure of complicity, if not participation, by the State. In Gujarat, it is clear that all events, including the mass use of rape and sexual assault, occurred with the knowledge of highly placed State actors, and in many instances, were carried out with full participation and support of the police. There are many witnesses to the fact that the police often hit the stomachs of pregnant women in so called combing operations. A police officer of the rank of DCP himself entered the house and beat up small girls and women. One woman who was six month pregnant had an abortion. He said to these women “We will keep all your men and make you prostitutes.” Besides this there was lot of suggestive sexual violence, hitting women on breasts, targeting private parts and targeting pregnant women. Unfortunately RSS and VHP women themselves were participating in this violence against Muslim women. Safia, a woman from Ahmedabad testified that the daughter of a Bajrang Dal leader was pulling women by hair and throwing them in fire. Other eyewitnesses also alleged that another woman was catching Muslim women and passing them on to the VHP and Bajrang Dal men to be raped. This writer has also visited Gujarat number of times and heard similar testimonies which are indeed hair raising. The idea of recounting these stories is not to ignite fire of revenge but to understand what the Hindutva agenda is and what counter measures to fight this menace are required. India is a secular nation and it is duty of all of us to keep it secular and to promote peace and harmony. The secular forces have to draw up their own strategies so that Gujarat like events do not repeat and we are able to keep violence away from our secular democracy. We will have to remember Gujarat to ward off fascism from our land. Unfortunately the communal forces are united and secular forces are divided thus giving enough opportunities to communal forces to play havoc with our secular system. It is for the secular forces to keep Gujarat violence before their eyes so that the consequences of allowing political space to communal forces remain before them. All of us who believe in secularism and humanism should spare no efforts to unite secular forces in the country.

www.milligazette.com Published in the 1-15 Feb 2004 [India Muslim's Leading English Newspaper] RSS-Jamiat meet Thaw in Hindu-Muslim relations By Andalib Akhter New Delhi: With the elections round the corner, hectic activities are on throughout the country. Hindu and Muslim religious bodies too have become active along with political parties. Meetings, talks, dialogue and negotiations have begun between religious representatives of both the communities. The most important one is the recent talks between leaders of the RSS and Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind (JUH). Leaders of the two organisations met on January 14 to discuss wide-ranging issues that have created 'differences' between Hindus and Muslims. The meeting held at the JUH headquarters here was termed "successful." Maulana Niyaz Farouqui and Abdul Hameed Nomani represented JUH, while Indersen Kumar represented the RSS. Pandit NK Sharma, who heads Universal Association of Spiritual Awareness, was also present. He is said to be instrumental in arranging the talks. Though JUH maintained that the meet was meant to remove mistrust between the two communities, indications from RSS and government suggest that the talks are being held to ‘remove hurdles’ in the way of construction of the proposed Ram temple on the Babri site at Ayodhya. The joint statement issued after the latest meet said: "In our discussion, we found that our country, ancestors and culture are common. The basis of patriotism or nationalism is the place of birth, not religion." Talking to The Milli Gazette, Maulana Abdul Hameed Nomani of JUH said: "The meeting aimed at removing misconceptions from each other's minds. There are misconceptions about terms like jihad and kafir mentioned in the holy Qur’an. We tried to explain to them the real meanings of these words and their context." He added that this was just the beginning and many more such discussions were required to create a healthy relationship between the two. "Ordinary Hindus have no problems with Muslims. The suspicion is in the minds of the RSS. Therefore we are talking to them." Indersen Kumar of RSS expressed happiness over the meet and said it was held in a ‘cordial atmosphere’. "We got to know each other well. The talks will continue further." He, however, added that the Ayodhya issue also came up for discussion during the meeting. Earlier RSS spokesman Ram Madhav in an interview said that talks with Muslim leaders are moving positively and in the right direction. He said that: "We are ready to talk to anybody for the construction of Ram temple. We want to remove all hurdles in the way of Ram temple". It was the second such meeting between the two religious groups. The first meeting was held secretly on December 20 last year, and was attended by RSS leaders K S Sudarshan, Vishnu Hari Dalmiya and Ram Madhav. From JUH's side, Maulanas Mahmood Madni, Niyaz Ahmed Farooqui and Abdul Hameed Nomani were present. The general impression among Muslim masses is that these leaders are discussing to find a formula to solve the Ayodhya temple-mosque row. "It is election time and a dialogue like this will go on for some time" commented Jamal Ahmad, a common man in Delhi. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board, fighting the legal and political battle on Ayodhya, has criticised the JUH-RSS meeting. "We are looking for a possible solution to resolve the dispute. We are trying to find a formula that will satisfy both sides. There will be no loser or winner," said a leader involved in the negotiations. JUH is also an important constituent of AIMPLB. The AIMPLB criticised the meeting saying JUH had no right to negotiate unilaterally on the Ayodhya issue. All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat’s president Syed Shahabuddin regretted that the JUH has fallen into ideological trap set by the RSS. In a statement he cautioned the JUH against accepting the RSS as the representative of the entire Hindu community which is overwhelmingly secular. He added that neither is the JUH the sole representative of the entire Muslim community. A dialogue, therefore, limited to them cannot bring about Hindu-Muslim reconciliation, he said. “The AIMMM once again requests the JUH leadership to reconsider the need for a dialogue, on the eve of the general election, with the RSS, which is fully and publicly committed to work for the return to power of its political front, the BJP. The AIMMM cannot believe that the JUH shares this political objective of the RSS when it is fully aware of the anti-Islamic ideology and anti-Muslim activities of the RSS, nor can it expect that the RSS shall secure the longstanding demands and aspirations of the Muslim community accepted by the BJP and included in its manifesto. The AIMMM is apprehensive that the real objective is a ‘deal’ on Babari Masjid site, which is not negotiable, and asks the Muslim community to remain vigilant against any such deal,” Mr Shahbuddin said in his statement. "We have started from JUH because it is a very progressive group among Muslims. It is part of the Muslim board and Jamiat leaders are trying to convince the board members on the issue" a source in the RSS said. Maulana Nomani, however, said: "We are meeting RSS leaders not only to discuss Ayodhya. It involves talks on various issues". According to sources, the idea of bringing JUH and RSS leaders to sit across the table came up during the visit of Pakistan's opposition leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman to India last July. He was invited by JUH. "Since then, we were discussing Ayodhya with both the sides," the source involved in fixing the meeting said claiming that the initiative had the full backing of the government. Deputy prime minister LK Advani said in Hyderabad that negotiations were going on for the construction of a temple at Ayodhya.

The Telegraph Calcutta 3 Mar 2004 www.telegraphindia.com Minorities seethe at ‘turncoat’ Arif BASANT RAWAT Ahmedabad, March 3: Muslims in Gujarat are disenchanted with Arif Mohammed Khan’ s “opportunistic move” to join the BJP and some of his well wishers have advised him to stay away from the state. “It is a matter of shame for us,” says Hanif Lakadawala, a leading human rights activist who had tried to persuade the former Union minister not to join the BJP. When Gujarat was burning, Khan was the only known minority leader who was the most vocal critic of chief minister Narendra Modi. For days together he had camped in the state, campaigned against Modi and blasted the Sangh parivar for the “genocide” going on in the state. Khan also quit the Bahujan Samaj Party after Mayavati shared the platform with BJP leaders in Gujarat. Because of his stand, Khan gained respect and goodwill during the post-Godhra riots, though he has no following among Muslims in Gujarat. Now, all those who held him in high esteem call him a “blot”, a “black sheep” and say they would not forgive him for his “betrayal”. Raeeshkhan Pathan, a social activist who has been helping riot victims, says no Muslim in Gujarat will forgive any minority leader who is seen sharing a platform with the BJP or any organisation supported by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad or the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Pathan describes Khan as a “ traitor” because he joined the BJP after having witnessed the riots. To Muslims, Khan has joined the company of Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Shahnawaz Hussain, two Muslim faces of the BJP “who are not taken seriously by the minority community”. But it is not that every Muslim in Gujarat hates Khan. A small section of the community, which has “vested interests”, is happy with his decision, says Nisar Ahmed Ansari, the state general secretary of the organisation Jamiat-e-Hind. “He can open communication channels between Muslims and the BJP,” says Ansari, denying that the Jamiat is backing Khan — a rumour that is doing the rounds in political circles.

Mid-Day Mumbai, India 2 Mar 2004 ww1.mid-day.com Wounded civilisation By: Shanta Gokhale March 2, 2004 Newspapers appear to have decided it is passe to picture actors, writers and painters in their true environments. If you want to grab the reader’s attention, a visiting writer must be put by a five-star swimming pool, a painter posed on a rock jutting from the sea, and a British actor coaxed to pretend he is “checking out” bhel puri at Chowpatty in full costume. That’s what they did to Pip Utton, the British actor who was in the city last week to perform two shows of his one-person, multi-award-winning play “Adolf.” The picture was comic. The play is not. It is a searing analysis of fascism, and the arguments Hitler used to justify genocide to educated, cultured, reasonable people like us, making them collectively responsible for the deepest, most enduring scar on the 20th century. Adolf is structured to lull us first into believing we are on the “right” side vis-a-vis Hitler. Once we are feeling comfortable, it unsettles us by worming its way into our minds to tease out prejudices we hold consciously or unconsciously against people of other religions, regions, caste, colour or sexual orientation, whose elimination by hook or by crook would assure us, we believe, of our utopias. The first half of the play is set in Hitler’s bunker on the last day of his life. Here he addresses his military staff as near equals and his civilian staff patronisingly, setting them free from his service with injunctions to go away. Anybody who divides humanity into gods and demons believes, in the ultimate analysis, that he himself is a god apart. Hitler certainly does, and supports the belief by underlining the fact that he has chosen to stay in Berlin till the bitter end and shoot himself when the time comes rather than go away as his staff will be doing. In the course of his speech, he elucidates once again the principles on which his ideology is based and the techniques of lies and manipulation that have helped him further the great cause for which he lived and will soon die. The ordinary men and women out there who believed fanatically in him and in the glorious utopia he dreamed up for them are fools to be taken for a ride. Repeat lies to them enough number of times and they will believe them as the truth. His voice and language, both verbal and gestural, throughout these harangues are quiet and intensely reasonable. But when he speaks of the Jews, he moves from his simple table and chair to the centre of the stage. Gradually his voice rises, his body grows tense and his gestures become violent. Standing against the eeriely lit backdrop of the Swastika on its bloodred background, he is suddenly the very epitome of demented, murderous intolerance. You can see how this figure of an avenging angel who repeatedly told his people that he was determined to give them “the German people,” their rightful place in the world, must have hypnotised them into following him like sheep. Hitler’s farewell speech to his staff ends on a note that sounds like a reassuring promise. Even after he is dead, he will still be alive amongst them, helping them to carry on with his work. Whew! What a piece of theatre. But of course we are wiser now. We know better. Therefore our applause is loud and long. But the play isn’t over. Pip Utton now throws off his jacket and begins talking to us as man-to-man. He asks someone in the front row to give him a fag. As he lights up, he begins an agreeable conversation with us, creating in the process a genial, unthreatening persona of a present day Englishman who assumes we share his beliefs. Do we? We aren’t sure. Yes, if he’s talking about keeping out immigrants, some of us see his point. Also, homosexuals aren’t the best thing that happened to our world according to others. And certainly wars must be fought to annihilate those who do not subscribe to our worldview. Somewhere along the way, however, Utton slips in his belief that the British Empire was a good thing for India. How else would we have been civilised? That’s when the audience becomes suddenly wary. A dissenting murmur goes up. Suddenly it becomes clear to us that this genial Englishman’s earlier statements, some of which we laughed at so heartily, are all of a piece with this one about India! It is this second half of “Adolf” that makes it a truly political play. No wonder Pip Utton has once been punched in the face by a member of the audience and had stink bombs hurled at him another time. A political play treads dangerous ground because it confronts us with our own situation and the questionable roles we play in it. It does not present us with the simple black and white of propaganda, nor does it rouse us emotionally to make our irrationality appear rational in our eyes. It demands instead that we look at ourselves in a mature way and take note of the grey areas within ourselves. Hitler’s spirit, says Utton at the end, is knocking at our door. All we have to do is to open it to him and he will do the rest. It is a chilling end to a powerful, provocative play.

www.kanglaonline.com 22 Mar 2004 Protest against killing spate continue The Imphal Free Press IMPHAL, March 22: Sit-in-protest against the recent spate of killing carried out by the security forces in the state are still continuing. Women vedors of the three markets of the Khwairamband Keithel belonging to Khwairamband Keithel Sinpham Amadi Saktam Kanba Lup and Khwairamband Keithel Semgat Sagatpa Lup along with Kwairamband Dukan Stalls Union staged a one day sit-in-protest today. The protestors while condemning the atrocities committed by the security forces to civilians also appealed to the central security forces to stop practising genocide. The protestors also held placards with writings like “Manipur is not killing field”, “Go back Indian Army”, “Do no kill civilian” “Punish security forces who killed civilian”.

New Kerala, India 23 Mar 2004 Congress manifesto bundle of contradictions: BJP Bangalore, March 22 (IANS) : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Monday denounced the Congress manifesto as "stale, pale and nothing new", saying the party had nothing new to offer to the people except apologies for its 45 years of misrule. Commenting on the Congress manifesto, released earlier in the day in New Delhi by party president Sonia Gandhi, BJP president M. Venkaiah Naidu dubbed it a "bundle of contradictions, full of confusion and lacking conviction". Terming the promises made in the manifesto as "hollow and shallow", Naidu said: "The Congress is solely responsible for all the ills of the nation. "The problems faced by the people in Kashmir, Punjab, the northeast and other parts of the country are offshoots of the party's misrule during the last five decades." "Illiteracy, poverty and regional imbalances are a gift of the Congress to the nation. They cannot claim credit for the tackling of these problems by the government led by (Prime Minister) Atal Bihari Vajpayee. "The people knows who has been providing solutions to these problems created by the Congress," Naidu said. Referring to the opposition party's assurances on creating employment, Naidu accused the Congress of creating unemployment. "Many public sector undertakings have become unviable and they had to be closed down due to the outdated policies followed by the party," he alleged. He expressed "surprise" that the Congress is talking about centre-state relations. "It was responsible for misusing Article 356 of the constitution 93 times to dismiss popularly elected non-Congress governments in the states," he said. Naidu ridiculed the Congress for stating in its manifesto that the party had prepared the ground for the Pokhran nuclear tests in May 1998, and noted it had criticised the BJP government for successfully conducting the tests. He also criticised the Congress for talking about communal harmony at a time when it was still "aligned with the Muslim League" and responsible for "hundreds of communal tensions created in the country during its reign", especially the Sikh genocide in 1984 after the assassination of prime minister Indira Gandhi. India was rocked by anti-Sikh violence after Gandhi's Sikh bodyguards gunned her down. "The BJP will soon release its manifesto for the coming election containing its vision document for the next five years," Naidu said, adding there would be a separate National Democratic Alliance manifesto..


AFP 1 Mar 2004 Eight people killed in Indonesia's restive Aceh BANDA ACEH, Indonesia, March 1 (AFP) - Eight people, including at least six separatist rebels, were killed on the weekend in the latest violence to hit Indonesia's Aceh province, the military said Monday. Five Free Aceh Movement (GAM) members were killed during a clash at Reseh Teungoh in North Aceh district on Sunday, said Aceh military spokesman Asep Sapari. Four automatic rifles and ammunition were seized after the incident which erupted when a marine patrol encountered about a dozen armed rebels, he said. In another incident, troops shot dead a man believed to be a GAM area operational commander in Jeumpa, Bireun district, and captured two rebels alive, Sapari said. Another rebel was captured in Southwest Aceh district on Sunday. Meanwile villagers found the body of a man showing signs of torture in the Julok area of East Aceh on Sunday, Sapari said. And a 22-year-old woman guerrilla surrendered to a military outpost in South Aceh. The officer said three guerrillas in fatigues shot dead a civilian at his home in Samalanga, Bireuen district, late on Saturday while other rebels abducted a civilian in West Aceh on Sunday. GAM military commander for East Aceh Ishak Daud, in a statement sent to AFP in Jakarta, said that between February 10 and February 29 only one rebel had been shot dead in the district while two others had been injured. He said television cameraman Fery Santoro, who has been held hostage by GAM since June, was well and recently escaped injury in a gunbattle with government forces. A senior reporter from the same private television channel was killed during a clash between his captors and troops in North Aceh last year. Their driver escaped the rebels while two army wives who were captured at the same time as the TV crew were freed last month. Indonesian authorities say GAM is still holding around 80 civilians hostage, mostly village chiefs. The military says it has killed some 1,300 rebels and some 2,000 guerrillas or sympathisers have been arrested or have surrendered since a massive military campaign was launched against them in May last year.

Laksamana.Net 8 Mar 2004 Tommy Suharto to Testify in Massacre Trial Former president Suharto’s youngest son Hutomo ‘Tommy’ Mandala Putra will be summoned to testify in the trial of military officers accused of massacring at least 33 Muslim protesters at North Jakarta’s Tanjung Priok district almost 20 years ago, following a claim he donated Rp400 million ($46,650) to relatives of the victims. Indonesia’s special human rights court on Monday (8/3/04) heard that Tommy presented the money to massacre survivor Beni Biki in 1999, a year after Suharto was forced to resign amid mass protests, riots and financial turmoil. Beni, whose brother Amir Biki was killed in the 1984 massacre, said he later gave about Rp5 million each to about 70 relatives of the victims. Agence France-Presse quoted Beni as saying he held four meetings between 1998 and 1999 with Tommy, who asked him to help quell protests by students outside Suharto’s house. Beni said he rejected the request. The court then ordered prosecutors to summon Tommy, who is now serving a 15- year jail sentence for ordering the murder of a judge, to testify in the next trial session on Monday. Captain Sutrisno Mascung and 10 of his junior officers from the North Jakarta- based Air Defense Artillery Battalion are accused of crimes against humanity for allegedly opening fire on a crowd of about 1,500 unarmed Muslim protesters outside a police station in Tanjung Priok on the night of September 12, 1984. Three senior officers are also on trial for their alleged responsibility for the massacre, including Major General Sriyanto Muntarsan, who is now chief of the Army’s Special Forces (Kopassus). Prosecutors have said the killings were authorized by the military, but Mascung has denied ordering his officers to shoot the protesters. He claimed the shootings started when one soldier fired his gun during the demonstration, prompting the other troops to follow suit. Former armed forces commander Try Sutrisno, who has also donated funds to survivors of the massacre and relatives of the victims, has said the shootings were justified because the protesters had attacked the officers. But survivors have said none of the protesters were armed. They also refute the military’s claim that warning shots had been fired before the massacre commenced. Exactly how many people were killed in the massacre is unclear. Some human rights groups have claimed up to 400 people were killed, with the corpses secretly trucked away and buried in unmarked mass graves. Others have said corpses were put in fishing nets and thrown into the sea. The National Commission on Human Rights has said at least 33 people were killed. In September 1984, Muslims in Tanjung Priok, one of the poorest areas of Jakarta and well known for the Islamic fervor of its residents, had spoken out against Suharto’s policy that required all political, social and religious organizations to adopt the Pancasila state ideology as their founding principle. Many Muslim groups felt they were being ordered to place Pancasila above Islam. Others felt Pancasila was being redefined to mean absolute loyalty to the corrupt Suharto regime. The protest outside North Jakarta Police headquarters was held after authorities detained four Muslim clerics for “subversion” due to their criticism of Suharto’s policies.

BBC 10 Mar 2004 Jailed Indonesian cleric defiant Ba'asyir criticised the US and Australia at a news conference in jail Jailed cleric Abu Bakar Ba'asyir has vowed to continue fighting for Islamic law for Indonesia once he leaves jail. Giving a news conference a day after his sentence was cut in half, Ba'asyir also criticised the US and Australia for "warring" with Muslims. Ba'asyir could be released within weeks after the courts threw out his subversion conviction. The US still believes he led militant group Jemaah Islamiah (JI), and was involved in planning terrorist acts. They absolutely cannot accept that Islamic figures whom they have slandered are being released Abu Bakar Ba'asyir At the news conference in Jakarta's Salemba jail, Ba'asyir described the US as an enemy of Islam. "They absolutely cannot accept that Islamic figures whom they have slandered are being released," he said. Ba'asyir, who appeared relaxed and joked with reporters, said that the US despised his championing of Islamic Sharia Law "because America is afraid of Islam." Earlie, a State Department spokesman in Washington had expressed "extreme disappointment" over Ba'asyir's expected release. The subject was also raised by the US Homeland Security Secretary, Tom Ridge, who is visiting Indonesia. "Hopefully in due time, at least from our country's point of view and appreciation of the intense and deep involvement of Ba'asyir in both the execution and planning of terrorist activities... he will be brought to justice," Mr Ridge said. Australia has also objected to his proposed early release. Most of the 202 people who died in the 2002 Bali bombings - blamed on Jemaah Islamiah - were Australian. At the news conference Ba'asyir said that Australia also intended to "wage war against Islam." "They have the mentality of colonialists. All white people are like that," he said. Convictions Ba'asyir was jailed for four years in September 2003 for subversion and immigration offences. But an appeal court threw out his subversion conviction in December and reduced his sentence. The Supreme Court has now decided that the reduction was not enough, given the relatively minor convictions which remain in place. Ba'asyir has said he expects to be released in early May, because his detention officially started on 2 November. At his original trial Ba'asyir was cleared of charges that he was leader of JI. His acquittal on that charge was criticised by some foreign governments, who believe that Ba'asyir is or was the spiritual head of JI. As well as the 2002 Bali attacks, JI is also suspected of being behind the bombing of the Marriott hotel in Jakarta, which killed 12 people in August.

HRW 11 Mar 2004 Indonesia: Justice Denied in East Timor Church Massacre - Acquittal of Five Officials Highlights Need for U.N. Mechanism (New York, March 11, 2004) — The acquittal of five Indonesian officials implicated in the 1999 massacre of civilians in an East Timor church underscores the need for a United Nations mechanism to bring to justice those responsible for atrocities in East Timor, Human Rights Watch said today. Last week, the Supreme Court upheld the August 2002 decision by Indonesia’s ad hoc court on East Timor to acquit the five defendants. The five were accused of involvement in the September 6, 1999, Suai church massacre, during which up to 200 civilians, including three priests, were killed. “The Indonesian judicial system has failed to prosecute the East Timor cases seriously, and now the highest court in the land has applied the final coat of whitewash,” said Brad Adams, executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia Division. “Victims and family members still await justice for this massacre.” The five defendants were Indonesian military officers Lieutenant Colonel Liliek Kusardiyanto, Captain Ahmad Syamsudin, and Lieutenant Sugito; a police official, Colonel Gatot Subiaktoro, and a district head, Herman Sedyono. The five were also among 16 men named in an April 2, 2003, indictment filed by the U.N Serious Crimes Unit located in Dili, East Timor. The U.N. indictment comprises 27 counts of crimes against humanity—including murder, extermination, enforced disappearance, torture and deportations. The charges relate to crimes committed in the Covalima District of East Timor, including the Suai church massacre perpetrated by the Laksaur militia along with members of the Indonesian Armed Forces, Indonesian Police, and Indonesia’s Mobile Police Brigades. The Indonesian government has vowed not to extradite anyone to the U.N.-backed courts in Dili. Therefore, the Indonesian Supreme Court decision effectively ensures that there will be no judicial accounting of the massacre in Indonesia. The Jakarta ad hoc court on East Timor has tried 18 men, 12 of whom have been acquitted. The six convicted defendants received only modest or nominal sentences, and none have served a day in prison. “Indonesia should be embarrassed at its failure to successfully prosecute one of the worst crimes in a catalogue of atrocities while at the same time the U.N.-backed court in Dili is pursuing prosecutions against the same men,” Adams said. “The Indonesian Supreme Court’s decision underscores how the international community needs to ensure a credible mechanism to bring justice for crimes committed in East Timor.” Human Rights Watch called on U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to commission a group of experts to examine all options for justice for crimes committed in East Timor, Human Rights Watch said. The commission should examine the failure of the ad hoc court in Jakarta and recommend means of solving those problems, and it should suggest means of extradition and trials of key suspects. It should also consider ways to strengthen the capacity of East Timor’s Serious Crimes Unit to continue its investigations and prosecutions, and discuss the creation of an ad hoc international tribunal. In September 1999 the Indonesian Armed Forces and Timorese militias embarked on a campaign of murder, arson, and forced expulsion after the people of East Timor voted for independence in a U.N.-administered referendum. After a quarter century of brutal occupation, an estimated 1,000 to 2,000 East Timorese civilians were killed in the months before—and days immediately after—the vote in 1999. Approximately 500,000 people were forced from their homes or fled to seek refuge. Human Rights Watch has long maintained that Indonesia has failed in its efforts to bring to justice high-ranking perpetrators of crimes committed in East Timor. For details, please see “Justice Denied for East Timor: Indonesia’s Sham Prosecutions, the Need to Strengthen the Trial Process in East Timor, and the Imperative of U.N. Action” at http://www.hrw.org/backgrounder/asia/timor/etimor1202bg.htm.


Los Angeles Times 29 Feb 2004 www.latimes.com The U.S. Is Brewing Up a Disaster for the Kurds 29 February 2004 LA Times - By Brendan O`Leary Proposed constitution’s strong centralized government ignores 13 years of autonomy. By Brendan O’Leary Los Angeles Times February 29, 2004 Brendan O’Leary is Lauder professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania and is a constitutional advisor to the Kurdistan National Assembly. IRBIL, Iraq — The Bush administration wants to impose an extremely centralized interim constitution on Iraq. That’s a recipe for disaster. The plan of L. Paul Bremer III, the U.S. civilian administrator, will not fly, except perhaps in Arab Iraq. The reason is that Iraq is not one nation but at least two. Some Arabs on the U.S.-appointed Governing Council are making a deal with the Coalition Provisional Authority. Nothing surprising about that, but the deal would be at the expense of the Kurds and of Iraq’s other nation, the semiautonomous region of Kurdistan. It would sacrifice secular principles, women’s rights and meaningful federalism, so Americans should pay close attention to what is being done in their name. The proposed Iraqi transitional administrative law is the "Pachachi" draft. Quotation marks are needed because its authors — a nephew of Ahmed Chalabi, a Shiite Muslim, and an advisor to Adnan Pachachi, a Sunni and a member of the Governing Council — mostly transcribed, word for word, passages from Bremer’s papers. The draft is no home-grown interim constitution that can subsequently be blamed on the natives. It was composed via the White House — and betrays the promises made by President Bush to the Kurdish leaders who organized the sole indigenous military support for the liberation of Iraq. The Pachachi draft would create a "federation" far more centralized than what we have in the United States, reflected in its persistent use of "central" to refer to the interim government. It would make federal law supreme in all matters the central government deems within its sphere. So much for states’ rights. It would make Kurdistan a subordinate level of government — not a co-equal partner in a voluntary union. It would give the central government exclusive competence in security, military and defense matters (ignoring Kurdistan’s determination to have its own national guard). The central government also would control natural resources and determine fiscal, monetary and wage policies. It would eliminate Kurdistan’s judiciary and prevent separate judiciaries in the federation’s units. Imagine California having no separate state judges. These provisions would extinguish 13 years of Kurdistan autonomy, established after the U.S. failed to support the Kurds’ uprising against Saddam Hussein in 1991. Is Kurdistan compensated for the proposed destruction of its autonomy? Not a bit. The draft envisages a weak presidential council of three — with no guarantee of one being from Kurdistan — and a prime minister with more powers than a U.S. president. Powerful national minorities typically insist on two demands if they forgo independence: territorial autonomy and guaranteed power-sharing in the federal government. The Kurds are guaranteed neither, which is why they have rejected the draft. Kurdistan wants five provisions incorporated in the interim constitution to defend its autonomy. First, the protection of its existing territory and powers, except those appropriately delegated to a federal government. These rights must include the ability to opt out of federal laws — for example, laws that don’t uphold the rights of women. Second, the expansion of its territory to include contiguous Kurdish-majority areas, either through a census or fairly conducted referendums. Third, local control over security, including the right to veto the deployment of Iraqi armed forces and intelligence services. (Eighty years of oppression, torture, forcible expulsion and genocide by Arab-dominated armies and police dictate nothing less.) Fourth, local control over unexploited natural resources. Finally, full fiscal autonomy, but with cooperative arrangements with the rest of Iraq. Kurdistan seeks full recognition as a constituent co-nation of Iraq, which should be acknowledged in language laws. A fair share of political power is mandatory in the federal government — in the collective presidency, in the allocation of ministerial portfolios and in bureaucracies. Its judiciary must preside over its own bill of rights, a situation more progressive than any contemplated by elderly Muslim men in Baghdad, and have the capacity to block intrusions on Kurdistan’s autonomy. Finally, Kurdistan must separately ratify the future federal constitution. These are not unreasonable requirements for a people who prefer independence. The Baathist regime pursued Arabization, which included expelling Kurds from Kirkuk, moving Arab settlers from the south to the north and genocidal gassing. Kurds resisted, and don’t want soft Arabization instead. They will accept federation only if it guarantees no repeat of their historical mistreatment and the substantive capacities associated with independence. Bremer is mistaken if he thinks Kurdistan’s leaders can accept some version of Pachachi’s draft. If they did, they would lose their jobs — and perhaps their lives. If Bremer presses this draft interim constitution, Kurdistan will reject it. In return for a deal with some unrepresentative Arab politicians, he would alienate the one pro-American community in Iraq — and its armed peshmerga. Quite an achievement. But Bremer has no reputation as a diplomat. Visiting Kurdistan, he asked, "Who is that?" on seeing the portrait of Mustafa Barzani, the late Kurdish freedom fighter. This is analogous to a foreign diplomat asking, "Who is that?" on seeing the portrait of George Washington. What guides Bremer’s thinking? Oil management is part of the story. Despite widespread criticism of centralized rentier-oil regimes, he believes that a federal government with monopoly jurisdiction over oil production and its revenues is the best model available. Politically, Bremer feels driven to appease Iraqi Arabs and wider Arab public opinion. Instead of building on Kurdistan as the most democratic unit in Iraq, he has sided with those anxious for a quick exit and whose focus is on the U.S. presidential electoral clock. The administration’s deference toward Turkey, Iraq’s neighbor, also constrains him. But why it defers to a largely unreformed Turkey in the post-Soviet world, especially when Turkey didn’t back the U.S.-Iraq war, defies understanding. However, what may ultimately be driving Bremer’s Coalition Provisional Authority to recentralize Iraq is a bad idea: that binational federations don’t — and can’t — work. The fact is, some do, provided they are voluntary pacts and they combine effective self-government for nations within their territories and power-sharing for all within the federal government. The Canadian federation is binational and bilingual. It has a distinctive society in Quebec — both in its legal system and ethos — but divides up English Canada symmetrically. It permits differences in its provinces’ policies. It leaves provinces in charge of natural resources but has formulas for revenue-sharing. Canada has had no civil war and has been self-governing since the United States survived its Civil War. Bremer rejects such analogies without argument, though his officials mutter, "What about Quebec?" Indeed. Quebec has not seceded from Canada, yet. And if it did, it would happen peacefully, and Canada would have had a remarkable 150 years of cooperation. Bremer has deliberately sought to preclude the discussion of alternative models of federation. Closed minds usually trap themselves.

AFP 1 Mar 2004 Iraqi leaders agree on basic law, amid mounting casualties BAGHDAD, March 1 (AFP) - Iraqi leaders reached agreement early Monday to draw up a basic law, a major step on the road to winning back sovereignty, as Polish troops shot dead a bus driver and wounded several others at a checkpoint. "We just broke out (of the meeting). The Fundamental Law has been concluded. An agreement has been concluded, there is consensus on every single point," said Entifadh Qanbar, representative of Iraqi National Council head Ahmad Shalabi. The 25 council members, with guidance from US overseer Paul Bremer, have been working day and night to finalise the law, aimed at seeing Iraq through a period of transition ahead of elections and into next year. The temporary constitution -- made up of about 60 articles -- will enshrine a bill of rights, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and civilian control of the military. It is also an important step in clearing the way for a June 30 transfer of sovereignty from the US-led coalition to an Iraqi interim authority. The discussions have forced contentious issues into the spotlight such as whether Islam should be the main source for the basic law; a priority for many ordinary Iraqis to give the document legitimacy in their eyes. "We started to learn a new trade and that is called compromise and this is new for us and that is all about democracy," council member Muwaffaq Rubaie told reporters earlier. Meanwhile, a donor conference in Abu Dhabi left Iraq with commitments for just one billion dollars for 2004, despite arriving with a list of urgent rebuilding projects totalling four billion dollars. Japan's ambassador to Baghdad, Masamitsu Oki said Australia, Canada, the European Commission, Finland, Greece, India, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Qatar, Spain, Sweden, Britain and the United States had "confirmed their binding initial commitment of around one billion dollars for 2004" to the International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq. Beijing, however, said it was ready to forgive a big part of the estimated 5.8 billion dollars owed to it by the former Saddam Hussein regime if Chinese companies are allowed into major reconstruction projects in Iraq. Switzerland announced Sunday it had identified between eight and 10 million Swiss francs (five to 6.3 million euros, 6.2 to 7.8 million dollars) in frozen funds as belonging to blacklisted Iraqis and will earmark them for Iraqi reconstruction. Amid the political progress, the security situation in Iraq showed little sign of improvement as fresh casualties added to what has been the bloodiest month since the end of major hostilities last April. Near the southern Shiite holy city of Karbala, Polish coalition soldiers shot and killed a bus driver, wounding several other people at a checkpoint in what appeared to be a freak accident. The troops opened fire on the bus Sunday after a Polish soldier became entangled in a length of barbed wire that had caught on the bus near the checkpoint and was dragged down the road, Iraqi police sergeant Faris Issa said. The bus, which had only two people aboard, and a nearby van were riddled with bullets, he said. Checkpoints blocked streets in the Shiite Muslim city Sunday as tens of thousands of pilgrims arrived for a religious festival commemorating one of their most revered religious figures. Earlier, military officials said the bus had slammed into the checkpoint after the troops opened fire on it when the driver failed to obey an order to stop. Elsewhere, an Estonian soldier serving with coalition forces was shot in northwest Baghdad, dying later from his wounds, while on a patrol investigating a homemade bomb. Estonia's prime minister later reaffirmed his country's continuing commitment to peacekeeping in Iraq. In the northern oil city of Kirkuk, a second police officer was killed in as many days when shots were fired at his patrol. The attackers fled after an exchange of fire with police. On Sunday, however, Iraq's biggest daily total oil production since Saddam's fall last April occurred -- some 2.5 million barrels of oil, a US-led coalition official announced. The official said that oil revenues were expected to climb to 14 billion dollars this year. In Australia, Prime Minister John Howard agreed Monday to launch an independent investigation into how Australia's intelligence agencies assessed pre-war reports that Iraq possessed and was ready to use weapons of mass destruction. A bipartisan committee, releasing its report Monday after months of hearings, cleared Prime Minister John Howard's government of charges it knowingly misrepresented the threat posed by Baghdad's weapons program before committing 2,000 troops to last year's invasion of Iraq. In Britain, controversy over the Iraq war further haunted Prime Minister Tony Blair. The British government played down claims its chief legal counsel changed Blair's advice on the legality of the Iraq war due to army concerns that troops could be prosecuted for fighting in an illegal conflict, according to a report in the Observer newspaper. The BBC also reported Sunday Britain was facing possible legal action over the deaths of a dozen Iraqi civilians. Lawyers representing families of the victims wrote to Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon asking him to set up an inquiry into the deaths, it said.

NYT 1 Mar 2004 Sunni Clerics Call for End to Attacks on Iraqis By DEXTER FILKINS RAMADI, Iraq, Feb. 27 — With a guerrilla war simmering around them, a group of Muslim clerics gathered together the other day and invoked God's name to call for peace. A kind a peace, anyway. In one of the first acts of its kind, the Iraqi religious scholars drafted a fatwa, a holy admonition, against staging attacks inside the country. But the document, drafted earlier this week, calls on Iraqis to stop killing Iraqis only. It makes no mention of stopping the killing of American soldiers. The Sunni imams offered differing explanations for why the Americans were left out of the single-page text, ranging from the apologetic to the dismissive. "You want me to write a fatwa for the Americans?" snapped Fadil al-Kubaisy, imam of Al Dawla al Kabeer mosque. "I'll write one that tells them to get out of the country." The anger expressed by Imam Kubaisy reflects a deeper ambivalence about the American occupation in the largely Sunni towns west of Baghdad, like Ramadi, where many people benefited directly from Saddam Hussein's government. Those feelings were brought into sharp relief in the drafting and publication of the fatwa, signed by 21 clerics representing more than 500 mosques in Al Anbar Province. The text and the interpretations offered by Anbar's imams encapsulate the two-sided feelings that Iraqis here have for the occupation and the creation of a new Iraqi state. While saying nothing about the Americans themselves, the document declares unqualified support for the Iraqi institutions the Americans are trying to build. Furthermore, while it presumably speaks with great religious authority, the imams who wrote it say they cannot be sure that anyone out there will heed its call. The diminished self-image of the Sunni clerics in Ramadi stands in contrast to that of their Shiite counterparts, who, with much more hierarchical leadership structure, command the allegiance of millions of Iraqis. The minority Sunnis were favored in the Hussein era while the majority Shiites were persecuted and powerless. "Dear sons of our nation, we call upon you to close ranks and elevate yourselves above your grudges so that we may open a new chapter in the life of our country," the fatwa begins. "We condemn any act of violence against Iraqi state government workers, police and soldiers, because it is aggression under Islamic law." The document issued in Ramadi declares that killing fellow Iraqis not only runs counter to the idea of holy war, but also constitutes what is known in the Muslim world as haram, the unpardonable act of killing another Muslim. "Targeting any Iraqi organization, is not holy war but aggression," it continues. "Everyone should be warned against staining their hands with Muslim blood." In the West, fatwas are commonly associated with a call for jihad, or holy war. But they can be issued by a religious authority to address any number of issues in public and private life. The idea for this one came about after the fatal attack on the Falluja police station two weeks ago. That attack, staged by insurgents in the middle of town in the middle of the morning, resulted in the deaths of 15 Iraqi police officers and 3 civilians. The day after the attack, the clerics in Falluja got together and issued the fatwa. Word spread quickly throughout the province, and the idea caught on. Within a week, imams from all over Anbar, an arid region the size of Wyoming, had signed up. The clerics printed up 3,000 copies and have begun distributing them at mosques and kebab houses around the province. "We tried to focus on the important things," said Khalid Sulaiman, one of the clerics who drafted the document. "We are trying to start a new government. On June 30, it will be ours." The attack on the police station in Falluja highlighted a shift over the last several months in the nature of the war here: While attacks against American soldiers have diminished, those against Iraqi civilians and government officials, who are more easily hit, have risen sharply. In February alone, more than 200 Iraqis died in a string of suicide bombings. The big question, of course, is how much influence the fatwa will have. "The people don't listen to us anymore," said Imam Sulaiman, director of the Islamic Affairs Department for Anbar Province. The clerics' uncertainty illustrates the divided nature of the population here. Across Anbar Province, many people have declared their support for the new Iraqi government either by taking part in local government meetings or by volunteering to become police officers. Yet at the same time, the insurgency goes on. Nevertheless, the Sunni imams of Anbar say they are encouraged. It has been a quiet week across the province. The fatwa received a warm reception all over the country, even among Shiites. Some of Anbar's clerics are thinking of trying to persuade their fellow clerics across the country to sign on. After a long discussion with an American visitor, Imam Kubaisy posed a question about how his counterparts might fare in the West. He thought for a moment and then allowed a small smile to grow across his face. "If I were the pope," Imam Kubaisy said, "would people be any more obedient than they are to me?"

AP 2 Mar 2004 Coordinated Blasts in Iraq Mar End of Shiite Religious Festival By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Filed at 5:44 a.m. ET KARBALA, Iraq (AP) -- A series of coordinated blasts struck major Shiite Muslim shrines here and in Baghdad on Tuesday as thousands of pilgrims converged on the climactic day of the sect's most important religious festival. Scores were killed and wounded, witnesses said. Arab television stations reported at least 25 dead in Karbala. One hospital reported 18 killed in the Baghdad blast, but an unknown number of victims were also taken to other facilities. Stunned witnesses believed the attacks were carried out by suicide bombers or planted explosives. U.S. intelligence officials have long been concerned about the possibility of militant attacks on the Ashoura festival, and coalition and Iraqi forces bolstered security around Karbala and other Shiite-majority towns in the south during the pilgrimage. Last month, U.S. officials released what they said was a letter by a Jordanian militant outlining a strategy of spectacular attacks on Shiites, aimed at sparking a Sunni-Shiite civil war. Also Tuesday, insurgents threw a grenade into a U.S. Army Humvee as it drove down a Baghdad road, killing one 1st Armored Division soldier and wounding another. The death brings to 548 the number of U.S. service members who have died since the United States launched the Iraq war in March. Most have died since President Bush declared an end to active combat May 1. In Karbala, 50 miles south of Baghdad, five large blasts went off shortly after 10 a.m. near two of the most important shrines in Shiite Islam, hurling bodies in all directions and sending crowds of pilgrims fleeing in panic. An Associated Press reporter saw 10 bodies that appeared to be dead being loaded onto wooden carts and taken away. Bodies ripped apart by the force of the blasts lay on the streets. There were varying accounts on the cause of the explosions in Karbala, where Polish troops are in charge of security. An Iraqi police spokesman said the blasts were caused by suicide attackers, wounding at least 300 people, the Polish news agency PAP reported. But Col. Zdzislaw Gnatowski, a military spokesman in Warsaw, blamed a series of mortars but officials were uncertain if they were fired or detonated in place. At about the same time, three explosions rocked the inside and outside of the Kazimiya shrine in Baghdad. Panicked men and women, dressed in black, fled screaming and weeping as ambulances raced to the scene. Angry mobs hurled stones at U.S. troops who later arrived in Humvees and an armored vehicle. Crowds of enraged survivors swarmed nearby hospitals, some blaming Americans for stirring up religious tensions by launching the war, others blaming al-Qaida or Sunni extremists. Some witnesses at Kazimiya said the blasts were carried out by suicide bombers. The Kazimiya shrine in northern Baghdad contains the tombs of two other Shiite saints, Imam Mousa Kazem and his grandson Imam Muhammad al-Jawad. The Ashoura festival, which marks the 7th century killing of Imam Hussein, is the most important religious period in Shiite Islam and draws hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and other Shiite communities to the Iraqi shrines. In Beirut, a spokesman for Iraq's leading Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani, blamed American soldiers for the attacks, saying they were responsible for the security. Sheik Hamed Khafaf said U.S. officials had ignored repeated requests to bolster security for the pilgrims. The Karbala blasts struck near the golden-domed shrine where Imam Hussein is buried, in a neighborhood of several pilgrimage sites. After the blasts, Shiite militiamen tried to clear the terrified crowds, firing guns into the air. Two more blasts went off about a half-hour later. "We were standing there (next to the mosques) when we heard an explosion. We saw flesh, arms legs, more flesh. Then the ambulance came," said Tarar, an 18-year-old, giving only one name. Two armed Iraqi policemen broke down in tears as they walked through the bomb site. Iraqi militia initially tried to control the crowd and arrested two men the crowd attempted to lynch. One witness said a bomb was hidden near the mosque. "It was hidden under rubbish," he said, identifying himself only as Sairouz. "Many Iranians were killed." The Kazimiya blasts went off inside the shrine's ornately tiled walls and outside in a square packed with street vendors catering to pilgrims. The street outside Kazimiya was littered with picnic baskets brought by pilgrims and thousands of shoes and sandals belonging to worshippers who had been praying inside the shrine. The courtyard inside the shrine was strewn with torn limbs. Hundreds of gunmen swarmed inside and outside the walled shrine. A U.S. helicopter hovered over the shrine. Black mourning banners traditional in Ashoura celebrations hung in tatters. Posters of prominent Shiite clerics were stained with blood. "How is it possible that any man let alone a Muslim man does this on the day of al-Hussein," said Thaer al-Shimri, a member of the Shiite Al-Dawa party. "Today war has been launched on Islam." In the southern city Najaf, near Karbala, police Monday night found and defused a bomb hidden near the shrine of Imam Ali, the most important Shiite saint, Iraqi Police Capt. Imad Hussein said. On Aug. 29, a massive car bomb detonated at the Imam Ali shrine as worshippers emerged from Friday prayers, killing more than 85 people, including Shiite leader Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim. In the letter released by the U.S. military last month, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, an extremist believed linked to al-Qaida, wrote that stepped up attacks were needed to disrupt the planned handover of power to the Iraqis on June 30. Mouafak al-Rubaie, a Shiite member of the Iraqi governing council, told CNN that Tuesday's attacks bore al-Zarqawi's fingerprints. "This is a message from Zarqawi to the Iraqi people and we recieved the message. It is written in blood now," al-Rubaie said after visiting the Baghdad shrine. "We will not respond in a sectarian way." Also Tuesday, a land mine exploded in the Abu Nawas neighborhood of Baghdad, damaging a car used by the Arab television station Al-Jazeera and lightly wounding several staffers. Associated Press reporter Lourdes Navarro in Karbala contributed to this report.

AP 3 Mar 2004 Iraqis put Shiite bombing toll at 271 By TAREK AL-ISSAWI AND JIM KRANE, ASSOCIATED PRESS KARBALA, Iraq (AP) - Shiite Muslim mourners chanted slogans against the United States Wednesday, venting their anger at Iraq's instability after a series of suicide bombings against pilgrims. As the country began three days of mourning, officials said 15 people, some possibly Iranians, were detained in the attacks. Iraq Governing Council President Mohammed Bahr al-Ulloum said 271 people were killed and 393 wounded in Tuesday's near-simultaneous bombings at Baghdad's Kazimiya shrine and holy sites in Karbala. U.S. officials, however, put the combined death toll at 117, down from 143 that they reported Tuesday. It was impossible to reconcile the discrepancy immediately. The draft constitution drawn up this week by Iraq's leading politicians and the U.S.-led administration will be signed Friday as the national period of mourning comes to an end, al-Ulloum said. American forces have intelligence connecting the bombings to Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a militant also linked to al-Qaida, the U.S. military commander in the Middle East said Wednesday. "The level of organization and the desire to cause casualties among innocent worshippers is a clear hallmark of the Zarqawi network and we have intelligence that ties Zarqawi to this attack," Gen. John Abizaid, head of the U.S. Central Command, told a Congressional committee. In a letter purported to be from al-Qaida, the terror network led by Osama bin Laden issued an unusual denial that it was responsible. Tuesday's bombings - using suicide attackers and bombs brought in on wooden carts - struck pilgrims from Iraq, Iran and other Shiite communities who had gathered to mark Ashoura, the holiest day of the Shiite calendar. Iran said at least 22 of its citizens were among the dead. Deputy Interior Minister Ali Asghar Ahmadi urged Iranian pilgrims Wednesday to put off visiting Iraq in the wake of the blasts. U.S. Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt said 15 people were detained in Karbala after being pointed out by witnesses. Some had been seen with wooden carts used to bring in explosives. "We think these people were involved, and that's why they're being interrogated," Kimmitt said. Among those detained were five Farsi speakers, he said, a suggestion that they were Iranians. Kimmitt said the 10 others appeared to be Iraqis. An estimated 100,000 Iranians were believed to have come to Iraq for Ashoura. Three suicide bombers carried out the blasts at Kazimiya, one inside the shrine's courtyard and two outside, Kimmitt said. Early reports that a would-be fourth suicide bomber was caught proved incorrect, he said. The Karbala attack involved one suicide bomber and cart-borne bombs set up on nearby roads. Mortars may also have been fired on the city outskirts, he said. As authorities slowly identified the dead, relatives picked up their slain loved ones from Karbala's Al-Hussein hospital Wednesday. Others wept as they scanned handwritten lists of names posted on the hospital walls. Iranian pilgrims, speaking in Farsi, struggled to communicate with the Iraqi hospital officials. Several thousand joined a funeral procession in the afternoon, taking three bodies to the tombs of Islamic saints Imam Hussein and Imam Abbas for blessings before heading to bury then at the cemetery in this city 50 miles south of Baghdad. "No, no, Americans! No, no Israel! No, no, terrorists!" they chanted, carrying red, black and green flags, symbols of martyrdom traditionally used for Ashoura ceremonies. Iraqi leaders have worried about Shiite revenge attacks against Sunnis and pleaded with the public to maintain unity. Many Iraqis, including Shiites, have also blamed foreigners - throwing suspicion on al-Qaida. But the focus of Shiite anger has been directed more at the U.S.-led occupation. Some, including the top Shiite cleric, accused U.S. officials of not doing enough to protect the 10-day Ashoura ceremonies; others simply vented resentment over the country's continuing insecurity. U.S. and Iraqi officials pointed to al-Zarqawi, as a "prime suspect" in the attacks, saying he aims to spark a Shiite-Sunni civil war in Iraq. A letter purported to come from al-Qaida denied responsibility for the bombings, blaming American troops instead - but it also called Shiites infidels. "The American troops have carried out a massacre to kill innocent Shiites in Karbala, their (Shiites') infidel city, and in Baghdad," the letter, received on Wednesday via e-mail by the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper and shared with The Associated Press in Cairo. Also Wednesday, three rockets hit a telephone exchange building in Baghdad, knocking out international phone service for much of the country only days after the system was put back in service. One Iraqi worker was killed and another injured, Iraqi officials said. Restoring telephones knocked out during the U.S. invasion last year has been a priority in U.S. efforts to bring back a sense of normalcy for Iraqis. It appeared that other attacks had been planned for Tuesday. In Kirkuk, police found and defused a 22-pound bomb alongside a road where Shiites had planned to march Tuesday, said Anwar Amin, the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps chief in Kirkuk. In Najaf, police arrested two people carrying explosives near the Imam Ali shrine, police Col. Saeed al-Joubri said Wednesday. Police in Basra said they found a car packed with 550 pounds of explosives and two women who were apparently planning to set explosives in Shiite mosques. But Kimmitt denied those reports, calling them only rumors. "None of them have borne out to be correct," he told reporters. AP correspondent Scheherezade Faramarzi contributed to this report from Basra, Iraq.

WP 3 MAr 2004 Column: Islam's Civil War By Jim Hoagland Wednesday, March 3, 2004; Page A27 Vietnam taught that Rule 1 of getting involved in foreign civil wars is famously and simply: Don't. But the United States today is caught in a civil war within Islam. Al Qaeda's murder by airliner of nearly 3,000 people on American soil in one September day in 2001 leaves Americans without any other option. Tuesday was another day of religiously inspired atrocities, in Iraq and in Pakistan this time. The latest waves of holy murders should shake from their fantasies the Islamic political leaders and religious authorities who deny that a war for control of Islam is raging around them. The war will claim many more lives if Muslim society does not face up to the cancerous growth feeding on Islam and lead -- not join, but lead -- the fight against that cancer. The Arab summit to be held at the end of March in Tunis is an important moment for a meaningful recognition of the nature of this struggle, which has been made blindingly clear in the past two days: Peacemakers and killers have each sketched out their paths to the future. On Monday in Baghdad, the much-maligned Iraqi Governing Council negotiated and agreed to an interim constitution that sets new standards for political freedoms and religious tolerance in an Arab country. Tolerance becomes a fundamental right and condition for Iraqis. Islam is a source, not the only source, for legislation under this basic law. The right to convert from one branch of Islam to another, or to another religion, is protected. After agonizing debate over whether it could discriminate against Iraqi citizens on the basis of religion, the council agreed that Iraqi Jews can reclaim citizenship and properties taken from them in Saddam Hussein's reign of terror. (Tip to U.S. Special Forces: Get a copy of this document to Osama bin Laden. Al Qaeda's uberfuehrer will choke to death on his own rage if he reads it.) These provisions were written and blessed by 25 Iraqi politicians who were chosen by the occupation authority. But these Sunni Arabs, Shiite Arabs, Kurds and others must answer to constituents soon to be empowered with the right to vote. The head U.S. administrator, Paul Bremer, wisely stayed on the sidelines as the Iraqis wrestled over the substance of the law, according to U.S. and Iraqi accounts of the deliberations. It will be modest progress if the autocrats, dictators and monarchs planning to meet in Tunis do not sneer at the interim constitution for not having been produced by a more "representative" group. Hypocrisy has never been an inhibited force at these gatherings. But King Abdullah of Jordan, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and their cohorts must do more than that. They can no longer avoid dealing forthrightly with the words and bloody "religious" deeds proclaimed by al Qaeda and its associates in terror. These leaders must delegitimize religious murder, whether practiced against Shiites, Christians or Jews. They must take away the religious sanctuary the extremists claim. They must validate the spot-on sentiment voiced recently by one professional U.S. analyst of the war against global terrorism: "The jihad will vanish only when the Muslim world sees terrorists as heretics, and not as holy warriors." The American role will then be to "shield moderate Muslims from intimidation and violence" as the struggle progresses. Iraq is now the center of this epochal conflict. Scarcely 24 hours after the Governing Council finished its deliberations, suicide bombings and other explosions devastated Shiite religious shrines in Baghdad and Karbala and killed at least 143 people. This coincided with a shooting attack on Shiite worshippers in Quetta, Pakistan, where at least 42 people died. Quetta authorities continue to let Sunni extremists use Shiite shrines as shooting galleries. The reasons why Sunni extremists target all Shiites as "the lurking snake, the crafty and malicious scorpion, the spying enemy" were spelled out in chilling detail in a recently captured document believed to have been written by Abu Musab Zarqawi, who ran an al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan before going to Iraq. Zarqawi is now suspected of having staged the car bombing that killed Shiite Ayatollah Mohammed Bakir Hakim and about 100 of his followers last August as an initial step in the holy war Zarqawi plans for Iraq. President Bush has repeatedly said the war on terrorism is not a war on Islam. This has to be the case. But Americans cannot shy away from treating this struggle as a religious civil war, one that will be won or lost within Islam. More important, neither can Muslims.

BBC 3 Mar 200 Al-Qaeda denial - statement excerpts Bomb attack in Karbala: al-Qaeda deny any role A letter purporting to come from al-Qaeda denied on Wednesday any role in anti- Shia explosions in Iraq that killed scores of people. The letter, signed "Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades (al-Qaeda)", was sent to the London-based al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper. Following are key excerpts: Today a great misfortune has happened and is part of the US conspiracy to ignite the fire of sedition between the Muslims in Iraq. The US forces today perpetrated a massacre to kill the innocent Shias in their polytheist city of Karbala and in Baghdad. The Americans are trying to attribute these actions to the mujahideen of al- Qaeda who have inflicted pain and suffering on the United States in Iraq and elsewhere. The United States wants to distort the image of the mujahideen. And we are today telling all Muslims that we disassociate ourselves from this action and disassociate ourselves from what the Shia Muslims worship other than Allah. So that our aims are clear to everyone, we are striking the American crusaders and their allies. We are striking the Iraqi police, the agents and lackeys of the United States and the club with which it is striking the mujahideen in Iraq. We are striking the agents of the United States in the council of unbelief that is called the Governing Council and the Sunnis and Shias in their orbit. Oh heroic people of Iraq. The mujahideen are a people who love Allah and His Messenger and only do what pleases Allah, and they do not slay such life as Allah has made sacred, except for just cause. This includes the heretic Shia groups that do not insult the companions of Muhammad, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and do not contravene the Koran and do not tamper with Allah's shari'ah... Beware!! The United States wants you to help it against the mujahideen and the mujahideen want you to turn the tables against it and to declare war on the United States. Come on, rise with your brother mujahideen against the idol of the age, the United States... BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

AFP 8 Mar 2004 US legal team leaving for Iraq genocide trials WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States is dispatching a large team of prosecutors and other criminal justice experts to Iraq to prepare for likely genocide trials of Saddam Hussein and his closest associates, a justice official said late Saturday. The move marks the first specific step by the administration of President George W. Bush toward a practical resolution of the fate of the ousted Iraq leader blamed for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of his own citizens as well as those of neighbouring countries. "We are just literally there as advisers to the Iraqi special tribunals," said the official on condition of anonymity. "We are joining the other nations of the coalition -- the Spanish, the British, the Australians, the Polish, and several others, who are also going to be contributing the same types of personnel." The first members of the US team, which includes about 50 prosecutors, investigators, legal and forensic experts, were scheduled to leave for Baghdad this weekend. The rest were to join the so-called Regime Crimes Adviser's Office being set up within the Coalition Provisional Authority, the US-led occupation government of Iraq, "in the next few weeks," according to the official. The group will comprise specialists from most key branches of the Justice Department, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and regional prosecutors' offices. The justice official declined to speculate on when the trial of Saddam was likely to begin, saying that this will be "up to the Iraqis." Saddam, however, may not be the first member of the deposed regime to be put on trial for crimes of genocide and other atrocities. Salem Chalabi, an Iraqi lawyer in charge of war crimes issues, told the New York Times that a lower-ranking official was likely to face justice first because his conviction will make it easier to successfully prosecute Saddam himself. Ali Hassan al-Majid, or "Chemical Ali," a Saddam cousin accused of being the main organizer of the Halabja massacre, was taken into US custody in August and is seen as the prime candidate to be among the first to face a genocide tribunal. Charges against Saddam, captured by US troops in December, were likely to include the use of chemical weapons against the Kurdish town Halabja in 1988, when as many as 5,000 people, mostly civilians, were killed, according to legal experts.

WP 12 Mar 2004 'Selfless' Spirit Killed In an Ambush in Iraq By Sewell Chan and Caryle Murphy Washington Post Foreign Service Friday, March 12, 2004; Page A01 BAGHDAD, March 11 -- Fern L. Holland was tough, passionate and anything but predictable -- leaving a secure job at a Washington law firm to work in Africa, then going to Iraq to help local women assert their rights in the postwar political process, her friends and colleagues recalled Thursday. On Tuesday night, Holland and Robert J. Zangas of Trafford, Pa., became the first American civilian employees of the Coalition Provisional Authority to be killed in Iraq. Gunmen wearing Iraqi police uniforms stopped their vehicle at a makeshift checkpoint near Hilla, 60 miles south of the Iraqi capital, and shot the two Americans and an Iraqi translator to death, according to U.S. and allied military spokesmen. Holland, 33, was based in Hilla and spent much of her time with the occupation authority promoting women's political empowerment. She helped draft sections of the Iraqi interim constitution intended to ensure a role for women in the country's evolving system of governance, relatives and colleagues said. "She was fearless and selfless," Molly A. Elkin, a partner at Woodley & McGillivary, a labor law firm in downtown Washington that employed Holland in 2002 and 2003, said in a telephone interview. Michael Dannenberg, an aide to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) who was Holland's roommate for 18 months on Capitol Hill, called her "one of the bravest people I've ever known." "She walked away from the trappings" of a Washington law firm, Dannenberg said, "to work to extend human dignity to women and men in different parts of the world." Five Iraqis were arrested in connection with the killings after Polish troops, who are responsible for security in the sector around Hilla, caught them in Holland's car with the bodies of the three victims still inside. A spokesman for the Polish military initially called the slayings "practically an execution" carried out by insurgents masquerading as policemen. But U.S. military and occupation officials said Thursday that they had not ruled out the possibility that the attackers were Iraqi police, not impostors. "We're very concerned about it," said Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the commander of U.S. ground forces in Iraq. Just as the attack near Hilla underscored the dangers faced by the roughly 3,000 Americans working for the occupation authority, a similar slaying demonstrated that Iraqis who assist the occupation are a target of insurgents. Officials said Thursday that two Iraqi women employed as laundry workers under a contract with Kellogg Brown & Root -- a unit of Halliburton Co., which is repairing oilfields and providing support to U.S. troops in Iraq -- were shot dead Wednesday near the southern city of Basra. Also Thursday, two U.S. soldiers were killed and one wounded when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb, a military spokesman said. The soldiers, part of the 82nd Airborne Division, 1st Brigade Combat Team, were escorting a convoy northeast of the town of Habbaniya, about 50 miles west of Baghdad. Born in Miami, Okla., Holland received a psychology degree from Oklahoma University in 1992, according to her brother, James Holland, 37, of Kansas City, Mo. She worked for a year at children's hospitals in Siberia and Africa and aspired to be a physician, he said, but "decided she could do more good by getting a law degree." She graduated near the top of her class at the University of Tulsa law school in 1996 and took a job with a Tulsa law firm. "She had a very lucrative career . . . but she wanted to make a difference," Holland said. So she joined the Peace Corps in 1999 and traveled to the southern African country of Namibia, where she spent 16 months helping to build schools. Holland returned to the United States in late 2001 and spent nearly a year on the staff at Woodley & McGillivary before returning last year to Africa -- this time to run a legal assistance clinic for victims of sexual abuse in Guinea. She then went to Iraq as a human rights consultant to the U.S. Agency for International Development, subsequently taking a full-time job with USAID specializing in women's rights for the occupation authority. James Holland said his sister found her work in Iraq extremely rewarding and made many friends. "She loved the people there," Holland said. But, he added, "I guess at the end of the day, Fern knew what the risks were and she was prepared to take them. . . . She paid the ultimate sacrifice for something she dearly believed in." She said as much in an e-mail sent on Jan. 21 to Stephen Godolf, a partner at the Tulsa firm where Holland worked as a law clerk and junior lawyer from 1993 to 1999. "If I die," she wrote, "know that I'm doing precisely what I want to be doing." Zangas, a computer software salesman in Pittsburgh and a Marine reservist who was in Iraq as a civilian, acted as the liaison for the multinational division. His wife, Brenda Zangas, said in a telephone interview that Zangas, 44, prepared his family for the worst and that they talked about the way they would respond if something happened to him. The Zangas family lived for 13 years in Gaithersburg while Zangas, a helicopter pilot and lieutenant colonel, was on active duty in the Marine Corps. They moved back to Brenda Zangas's home town in 2001 with their children, a daughter who is now 10 and two sons, 3 and 5. Murphy reported from Washington. Staff writer Petula Dvorak contributed to this report.

www.timesheraldonline.com Vallejo, California March 23, 2004 nomadic Iraqi Marsh Arab refugees lead their water buffalo herds along the banks of the Karun River. Saddam Hussein drove many of the Marsh Arabs out of their homelands after the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Photo: Photo courtesy of U.N. Environment Program Iraq marshland expert visits By MATTHIAS GAFNI, Times-Herald staff writer Lost in the bloody legacy of fallen dictator Saddam Hussein is the environmental massacre he conducted on the Mesopotamian Marshes in southern Iraq. Dr. Michelle Stevens will discuss the "ecocide" that drained almost 7,500 square miles of marshland, where many believe the Bible's Garden of Eden existed, in a free Benicia lecture today at 7:30 p.m. at Heritage Presbyterian Church. Stevens, a Sacramento State professor, is an invited guest of The California Native Plant Society-Willis L. Jepson Chapter. She spent a year as project manager for the Iraq Foundation's Eden Again Project, finishing up her work in October 2003. She still volunteers her time to the organization, which aims to bring democracy and human rights to Iraq. "I've been doing a lot of public outreach and public education," said Stevens, who's spoken to groups and media around the world to spread word of the disaster. Stevens is organizing a symposium on the marshes in July in Seattle. She hopes to bring numerous Iraqi scholars to speak on the situation. The ordeal began in 1991, shortly after a truce was reached in the first Persian Gulf War and U.S. troops began leaving the country. Iraqis who rose up against Hussein, at the urging of the U.S. government, Stevens said, were punished by Hussein. "Saddam Hussein drained the marshes from 1991 to 1994 as an act of cultural genocide and ecocide," Stevens said. "Hussein and his Baathist armies and Republican Guard in March of 1991 killed 3,000 people alone in the marshes," she said. "He drained the marshes, poisoned the fish and water buffalo. "Saddam Hussein was an evil man and he realized that if he killed the marshes, he would kill the people," Stevens said. The largely Shiite Muslim Marsh Arabs, or Ma'dan, were most affected by the dictator's actions. Hussein went so far as to build a one-mile wide drainage canal to divert the water from reaching the marshlands. The once fertile land, on the border of Iran and Kuwait, originally covered about 7,500 square miles at the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. It's similar to the Bay Area Delta, but much larger, Stevens said. "It was a big sea of reeds, but these reeds were bigger than what they have in the Florida Everglades," Stevens said. The area teemed with shallow lakes, wetlands, riparian areas and date palms. It was a flyway for migratory birds who would winter in Iraq and summer in Russia. Marsh Arabs lived along the winding waterways with herds of water buffalo. Only about 10 percent of the original marshland remains. Most of the areas are now parched, desert land with dried up reeds. Many of the Marsh Arabs have returned from Iranian refugee camps or other areas they fled to, Stevens said. Since Hussein's regime fell, the marshes have seen somewhat of a renaissance. "Here's the good news - as soon as the Baathist regime was out, Iraqis took shovels and took matters into their own hands. You have to remember, this marsh was like their Statue of Liberty," Stevens said. Iraqis dug out the dirt drainage diversions and "doubled the size of the marsh that's left. It went from 5 percent (of the original marshland) to 10 percent." "It's hard to understand how much they love their marshes, it's such a cultural icon," she said. The largest remaining marshland is the Al Hawizeh Marsh, along the Iran-Iraq border, which international workers hope to make into a park. The future of the marshes may not depend solely on the Iraqis. The watershed of the Tigris and Euphrates originates primarily in other countries, Turkey, Syria and Iran. All three of those countries have plans to dam various parts of the rivers, which could significantly cut off water leading to the marshes, Stevens said. Stevens was unable to visit the marsh area due to safety concerns, but said she hopes to one day kayak through the twisting marshlands.

Israel / Palestinian Authority

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs Mar 2004 www.wrmea.com March 2004, pages 19-20 Special Report What Does Israel’s “Demographic Balancing Act” Hold in Store for Palestinians? By Samah Jabr Various odd phrases are being used to describe the perfectly natural desire of Palestinians to procreate: “demographic threat,” “biological bomb,” “fertility weapon,” and “growth cancer” are just a sampling of the paranoid phrases emanating from the mouths of some Israeli politicians and their foreign supporters when referring to a normal and healthy Palestinian fecundity. The Palestinian woman’s womb is the only womb I know of that has been inhumanely described as a “dormant explosive bomb.” These and similar descriptions are being applied to Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, as well as to those with Israeli citizenship. The “birth clock is ticking,” Israeli leaders and their advisers repeatedly warn. This obsession constitutes a unique element in the debate about the future of the two nations and the prospect of peace in the holy land. For Palestinians, as for other cultures, childbearing is a sensitive issue. It is regarded as a very private matter, to be discussed only in close family settings. In democracies, talk of racial, ethnic or religious purity, or of demographic preference, is viewed as a racist outlook damaging to the fabric of any civilized society. Attempting to influence the Palestinians’ natural population growth, therefore, appears to be a genocidal ideation, a desire for ethnic cleansing. Perhaps that is indeed the wish underlying the behavior of the Israeli occupation forces when they deny women in labor access to medical care, often shooting at them as they try to reach the nearest hospital. It may also explain why Israeli snipers target so many of our children, aiming at their heads and vital organs with a clear intent to kill. From Ideology to Implementation In fact, Israeli planners and decision makers have moved from the stage of ideology to that of implementation. Today, the laws and strategies formulated to combat Palestinian natural human growth appear designed to facilitate turning these concepts and wishes into concrete actions aimed at “defusing the Palestinian demographic bomb.” Such strategies are even more vicious than the daily violence we experience—yet so insidious and subtle that they don’t make international headlines. Palestine is neither China nor Bangladesh. The 3.3 million people who continue to live in Palestine comprise 40 percent of the Palestinian nation. Palestinians used to have one of the highest fertility rates in the world. Today, the fertility rate has dropped to 7 in Gaza, and 4.7 in the West Bank—double or triple that of the Israelis. Israeli statistical projections suggest that if this pattern continues into the next decade without any “management,” Palestinians are likely to outnumber the Jewish population in the land. For years foreign non-governmental organizations have been working, in the name of women’s rights, to promote family planning in Palestine. Of the many reproductive problems and women’s health issues they addressed, their singular significant achievement has been a decreased fertility rate. Despite their efforts, little, if any, success has been achieved in combating the high and increasing incidence of maternal mortality, maternal cancers, women’s anemia and poor general health, post-natal complications or any of the other challenging problems. Nor has “managing the Palestinian growth problem” been restricted to these tactics. The Israeli Supreme Court has legalized discriminatory laws concerning residency, citizenship and marriage for non-Jews. One example is that, for Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, living outside the city jeopardizes their residency and denies them their basic rights to health insurance and social security—and, at a later stage, their right to enter Jerusalem. Another recent measure stipulates that Palestinians with Israeli citizenship cannot pass their citizenship on to their children and spouses. Furthermore, Palestinians living in Israel “proper” who marry Palestinians from the West Bank or Gaza run the risk of not being able to have their families live with them. By contrast, Jewish Israelis can live wherever they want for as long as they want and still retain their citizenship; they can pass their Israeli citizenship on to their non-Jewish or international spouses, and the latter will have more rights and access to the land they come to than its own indigenous people—the Palestinians. Under the pretext of giving the Palestinians a state and allowing them some level of self-determination, the Israeli agenda includes creating ghettos that consist of small, overcrowded and isolated geographical areas. These bantustans contribute to the strangulation of the economy and of the ability to find employment to the point where the average Palestinian will have one of only two choices: to leave “voluntarily,” or to starve in his own land under an illegal occupation. So far, many have chosen the latter, which naturally leads to an even greater dwindling of resources, to increased competition and conflicting interests, and to the undermining of Palestinians’ fabled steadfastness. Since the beginning of the current intifada, the decline in Palestinian well-being has been rapid and profound. This is directly linked to the violence and restricted mobility we experience daily—including death and injury to family and friends, damage to our property, and the frustration, humiliation and poverty we endure through stifling closures, curfews and confinement. Those conditions will worsen in the coming three to five years as a result of Israel’s monstrous wall that is fast nearing completion. Officially, the Jewish population in the land today is nearly 6.2 million. This does not include foreigners who hold Israeli citizenship and live abroad—those who are willing to live in the land during periods of ease but who leave for gentler climes during times of hardship. Over the past 55 years Israel has denied our refugees the right to return home, while welcoming Jewish immigrants with open arms. Crucially, if it were not for the flood of immigrants, the Jewish population in occupied Palestine would be only a mere fraction of what it is today. While “peace-loving Israelis” feel compelled to cede land and isolate the Palestinians in order to avoid the demographic “threat,” Jewish settlers in the territories have called for government policies to encourage Jewish births, promote religious conversions, and stimulate Jewish immigration. They insist that Israel should not relinquish its hold on the land, but should keep alive the dream of a Greater Israel reaching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. They openly speak about the forced expulsion of “Arabs” to Jordan and the Sinai should the Palestinians try to resist. What can the Palestinians do against the rising tide of pro-transfer sentiment being freely expressed in Israeli Jewish society, and against the ongoing plans to suffocate them? We will, of course, steadfastly remain in what they perceive to be their exclusive homeland. In order to resist and counteract Israel’s genocidal strategies, the Palestinian community at home and in the Diaspora should be aware of the challenges facing them and should work to raise international awareness of Israeli intentions and actual criminal practices. We should campaign for assistance to meet Palestinians’ basic survival needs and enhance their economic independence and natural population growth in the occupied land. I am not suggesting that Palestinians should have dozens of children, but we should know our reproductive rights and be aware of all components of reproductive health care, including giving people choices and the necessary education to hold them responsible for their choices. It is not natural growth and development that we should fight, but poverty, disease, ignorance, oppression, and gender and racial differences. This means we should pay special attention to Palestinian orphans and the children of prisoners who are increasing in number as Israeli violence mows down more and more of our fathers and mothers. Those children are our children, and we should find the appropriate channels to link them with adoptive parents from within or from the Diaspora who can finance their education, provide their daily sustenance and try to build an emotional connection with them across time and distance. This kind of project also can help to mobilize the national commitment of the Palestinians in the Diaspora and improve the moral qualities of our people—which might be as important as our numbers. Israel’s Pathological Fear As I reflect on Israel’s fear of our mere existence, I understand that Israel’s pathology lies in its claims of democracy as much as its Jewish exclusivity. If it were not for the former, our presence wouldn’t be perceived as threatening. Democracy, in theory, is understood as a system to protect the basic rights of minorities from the tyranny of the overwhelming majority. In the case of Israel, however, democracy is manipulated to maintain the power and privilege of the Jewish majority, not to protect their cultural identity, heritage and religious practice, which might be equally protected and enhanced in a multiethnic, pluralistic society where freedom of religion, speech and association are guaranteed to all. Israeli “democracy” has been used as a ploy to gain acceptance by the international community. It is always evoked to consolidate a superior Jewish position and to preserve Jewish supremacy—the reason behind and the tool used to attain the goal of our expulsion. Today, Israel is taking advantage of international ignorance and apathy. As it quietly executes its plans, it proclaims to the world that our presence is a threat from which it has the right to defend itself. In so doing, Israelis are propagating their own ethno-nationalist views on the world, while at the same time labeling people of similar mentality in Europe as “neo-Nazis” and ”anti-Semites.” Dr. Wouter Basson, a well-known South African chemical and biological warfare specialist during the apartheid years, described plans to poison the water supply to black townships in order to curb the birthrate of black South Africans. Today I hold my breath in horror at what Israelis are capable of doing in the name of “demographic balancing acts” as the tipping point in the land of my birth approaches. Samah Jabr, M.D., a native of Jerusalem, is currently studying psychiatry at the Cité Universitaire de Paris.

NYT 3 Mar 2004 Killing of Arafat Aide Jolts Palestinians By GREG MYRE AZA, March 2 — The creeping chaos in Palestinian areas has been evident throughout the last three years of intifada: brazen crimes by masked gunmen, economic meltdown, periodic internecine killings. But the killing early Tuesday of Khalil al-Zebin, a longtime associate of Yasir Arafat, the Palestinian leader, seemed to crystallize the growing lawlessness. It jolted the Palestinian government into declaring a crackdown on the internal anarchy that had largely been ignored. Mr. Zebin, 59, who edited a magazine on human rights and often criticized various Palestinian groups, was gunned down as he left his office after 1 a.m. on Tuesday. No one has claimed responsibility, but Palestinian officials suspect that the attackers are Palestinians. Mourners gathered on Tuesday afternoon under a tent next to the bomb-damaged compound on the Mediterranean seafront that used to serve as Mr. Arafat's headquarters here. Tayeb Abdel Rahim, a senior aide to Mr. Arafat, said in a eulogy to Mr. Zebin that "the hand which dared to shoot you will be cut off." Earlier, Mr. Arafat was at his similarly ravaged compound in the West Bank city of Ramallah, leading an emergency cabinet session on how to restore order. He called the shooting of Mr. Zebin an assassination that "targeted a great Palestinian figure who was working for the national interest." "He was not involved whatsoever in political or family disputes," Mr. Arafat added. The cabinet meeting in Ramallah produced an agreement on one long-debated reform for the security forces, according to the Palestinian prime minister, Ahmed Qurei. Mr. Arafat agreed that Palestinian security forces would have their pay deposited directly into their bank accounts, Mr. Qurei said. That system will replace an arrangement under which security chiefs received large bundles of cash to distribute individually to officers on payday. The old system is widely viewed as riddled with corruption. Mr. Arafat, who has always maintained ultimate control of the security forces, has come under pressure from Western governments and Palestinian reformers to abandon the practice. The move could bring renewed international aid, which the Palestinians desperately need, though Mr. Arafat is still facing calls to make additional reforms in the security forces. Mr. Zebin had worked with Mr. Arafat since the 1960's in media-related posts and remained an adviser to the Palestinian leader. He spent years in exile with Mr. Arafat, and they were among the Palestinians who returned in 1994, after an interim peace agreement with Israel. In response to the intifada, or uprising, Israeli troops have been posted in or near most Palestinian cities in the West Bank for nearly two years, keeping the Palestinian Authority from functioning normally. Meanwhile, Mr. Arafat has been confined to his compound in Ramallah, and other Palestinian leaders have made only rare and fleeting visits to Gaza. Still, many Palestinians are increasingly critical of the Palestinian Authority. They say that corruption is endemic, and that the authority has failed to perform fundamental governmental duties, like protecting Palestinian citizens from Palestinian criminals. In Gaza City, the streets are patrolled by Palestinian security forces, but neither they nor the legal system inspires confidence. On Monday, several thousand Palestinians staged a protest to demand the death penalty for four men arrested on suspicion of raping and killing a 15-year-old schoolgirl last year. In the past week in Gaza, masked men burst into the Palestinian broadcasting offices and demanded jobs. Another group of gunmen entered the Land Authority, insisting that property be transferred to their names. Those incidents ended without bloodshed. But last month, gunmen entered a police station and opened fire, killing a policeman and wounding 10 while also roughing up a senior police chief. The act was seen as part of a continuing feud among rival branches of the security forces. Last week, Ghassan W. Shakah, the mayor of Nablus, the largest city in the West Bank, resigned and took out a newspaper advertisement complaining about the disintegration of government authority. The mayor's brother was killed several months ago in a shooting that was believed to have been linked to infighting among armed militias in the city. "Israel bears a great deal of responsibility, but I blame the Palestinian Authority for not doing what it should," said Ziad Abu Amr, a Palestinian legislator who holds a doctorate in political science from Georgetown University. "We see almost daily violations of public order, and the authority does nothing. There is no accountability." Israel says it has deployed its troops in Palestinian cities and towns because the Palestinian leadership has failed to curb violent groups. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has refused to deal with Mr. Arafat, saying he encourages terrorism. Israel says it is willing to work with Mr. Qurei, but the two prime ministers have yet to meet, even though Mr. Qurei has been in office since October. Some hard-line Israelis have called for the dismantling of the Palestinian Authority because it has been unable or unwilling to rein in armed Palestinian factions. But moderate Israeli politicians have cautioned that the complete collapse of the authority could result in an even greater chaos in Palestinian areas, which could spill over into Israel.

ICG 4 Mar 2004 Middle East Report N°25 : Arab/Israeli Conflict Identity Crisis: Israel and Its Arab Citizens Prospects for Israel's long-term stability will remain uncertain unless the systemic inequities facing its Arab citizens are addressed. Mistrust between Israel's Jewish majority and its Arab minority, who make up roughly 20 per cent of the population, runs deep. Jewish Israelis question the willingness of their Arab counterparts to come to terms with the state, often perceiving them as a security and demographic threat. Arab citizens feel neglected and discriminated against, particularly on issues of land ownership, resource allocation and political representation. Israel's political system faces a critical test of proving to the Arab minority that it is capable of delivering equality. Further failure would only deepen already volatile tensions. Immediate steps are needed to redress discriminatory practices, lessen inter-communal tensions, and launch an inclusive process to define the state's long-term attitude towards its Arab citizens. Excerpt: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS . . . The problem is not easily resolved because it goes to the heart of Israel's self-definition as both a Jewish and a democratic state and because of the multi-layered nature of inter-communal relations -- an Arab minority living in a Jewish state in conflict with its far more populous Arab neighbours. Mutual perceptions are characterised at best by indifference, at worst by total misunderstanding, mistrust and hostility. Many Jewish Israelis question the willingness of their Arab fellow citizens to come to terms with the existence of the state. Arab Israelis often are perceived as a security threat and a political/demographic time bomb. With allegations of cooperation between Arab Israelis and Palestinian militant organisations since the intifada, such perceptions have further solidified. Conversely, Israel's Palestinian citizens perceive a state that for the most part is unwilling either to respect their individual rights or to recognise their collective identity and seeks instead to limit their political weight and demographic presence. Increased tolerance within the Israeli polity for extremist rhetoric, combined with hostile legislation and participation in the government of parties openly advocating the transfer of Arab citizens beyond Israel's borders has further heightened tensions. . . RECOMMENDATIONS To the government of Israel: 1. Take measures to abolish discriminatory laws and practices inter alia by: (a) formally adopting and implementing the recommendations of the 2003 report by the Or Commission, established in response to the October 2000 clashes; (b) revoking the Nationality and Entry into Israel Law (temporary order) of 31 July 2003, which prohibits Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza married to Israeli citizens from acquiring Israeli residency permits; (c) pursuing a multi-year plan to eliminate discrimination in allocation of state resources to the Arab community through legislative and budgetary means, including by implementing the existing NIS 4 billion (U.S.$986 million) plan and abolishing the June 2002 amendment to the National Insurance Law, which cuts child allowances for families without relatives serving in the army; (d) categorising the poorest Arab areas as national priority zones and extending services accordingly; (e) establishing for Arab citizens the option of performing either military or alternative community service and providing that fulfilment of either would generate the same status and benefits; (f) increasing Arab representation at all levels in the public sector and planning bodies; and (g) implementing racism awareness training in schools and in all branches of government, beginning with the police. 2. Enhance educational opportunities for Arab citizens by equalising proportional funding for Jewish and Arab public education and compensating for past deficits in education spending for the Arab community. 3. Ensure more equitable land distribution and planning and zoning regulations, in particular by: (a) ending the official roles assumed by statutory bodies, such as the Jewish National Fund, that fulfil government functions in a discriminatory fashion; (b) providing for representation of Arab Israelis in all relevant state planning bodies; (c) implementing a comprehensive plan for unrecognised Bedouin villages in the Negev to be developed in consultation with legitimate representatives of the affected community; and (d) suspending destruction of illegal homes and structures until a more equitable land policy is in place. To the Arab Israeli communal leadership: 4. Implement a broad outreach strategy to the Israeli public, articulating a clear vision of citizens' rights and responsibilities. 5. Use exclusively peaceful means to promote political objectives and avoid inflammatory language. 6. Seek at the local level to dismantle family-based and similar patronage and client networks that undermine effective, representative local governance. . . ICG reports and briefing papers are available on our website: www.crisisweb.org .

Jerusalem Post 4 Mar 2004 JPost.com Staff Mar. 4, 2004 Extreme-right settlers in Kiryat Arba and Hebron will commemorate over the weekend a decade to the death of Dr. Baruch Goldstein, who murdered 29 Muslims during a prayer service in Hebron's Tomb of the Patriarchs in Purim 1994. Signs were posted in Jerusalem announcing the memorial service in Kiryat Arba. Goldstein's grave has become a site of prayer for many who support his actions. People come from all over the country to attend the grave. The gravestone is inscribed to "the holy Dr. Baruch Kopel Goldstein who gave his soul for the People, Torah, and Land of Israel and was murdered for sanctifying God's name." Goldstein's supporters speak of his murder by Palestinians, not noting that it was Goldstein who entered the Tomb of the Patriarchs and opened fire on Palestinian worshipers. Several years ago the IDF demolished the "shrine" surrounding the grave - although not the grave itself, which is located in the Meir Kahane Park.

Arutz Sheva 5 Mar 2004 Lobbying Against Genocide Then and Now by Dr. Rafael Medoff The holiday of Purim celebrates the successful effort by prominent Jews in the capital of ancient Persia to prevent genocide against the Jewish people. What is not well known is that a comparable lobbying effort took place in modern times -- in Washington, D.C., at the peak of the Holocaust. In late 1942, the Roosevelt administration publicly confirmed that Hitler had embarked on a campaign to murder all of Europe’s Jews, and that at least two million were already dead. But FDR was not prepared to go beyond a verbal denunciation of the genocide. He did not want to upset the British by pressing them to open Palestine to refugees. He would not even permit immigration to the U.S. to the full extent of the existing quotas. The quotas from Axis-controlled countries were 90% unfilled during the period from late 1941 through early 1945 -- 190,000 quota places that could have saved lives were left unused. The man whom FDR had hand-picked to handle refugee matters, Breckinridge Long, instructed U.S. consular officials abroad to “postpone and postpone and postpone the granting of the visas.” In ancient Persia, a Jewish activist named Mordechai responded to Haman’s genocide decree by staging a protest demonstration. Donning sackcloth and ashes, he “went out into the midst of [the capital city, Shushan] and cried loudly and bitterly.” (Esther 4:1) He then marched right up to “the front of the King’s gate” -- not exactly the sort of polite behavior in which Persian Jews normally engaged. In the United States during the Holocaust, there was a Mordechai of sorts: a young Zionist emissary from Jerusalem, Peter Bergson (real name: Hillel Kook) led a series of protest campaigns to bring about U.S. rescue of Jews from Hitler. The Bergson group’s newspaper ads and public rallies roused public awareness of the Holocaust -- particularly when it organized over 400 rabbis to march to the front gate of the White House just before Yom Kippur in 1943. But protests from the outside were not sufficient, by themselves, to change the policies of either President Roosevelt or King Ahashverosh. An insider was needed as well. In Persia, there was one Jew with access to the King. Esther, Mordechai’s adopted daughter, had been chosen to become the king’s wife. Keeping her Jewish identity a secret, Esther found herself elevated to First Lady of Persia precisely at the moment that her people needed her most. But her first reaction was one of caution -- “greatly distressed” by the spectacle of Mordechai’s boisterous protest, she tried to persuade him to remove the sackcloth. When Mordechai urged her to go to the king and plead for revocation of the genocide decree, Esther hesitated, pointing out that to go without being summoned would violate the palace rules and possibly result in her execution. The Esther in 1940s Washington was Henry Morgenthau, Jr., a wealthy, assimilated Jew of German descent who (as his son later put it) was anxious to be regarded as a “one hundred percent American.” Downplaying his Jewishness, Morgenthau gradually rose from being FDR’s friend and adviser to his Treasury Secretary. In late 1943, just as the Bergson activist campaign was reaching its peak, several of Morgenthau’s senior aides discovered that State Department officials had been secretly obstructing rescue opportunities and blocking transmission of Holocaust-related information to the U.S. The State Department did not want them to be rescued, because that would increase pressure on the Allies to give them shelter. Although his aides urged Morgenthau to take the matter directly to the president, he hesitated, hoping that polite appeals to the Secretary of State might suffice to change U.S. policy toward Europe’s Jews. Mordechai’s pressure finally convinced Esther to go to the king; the pressure of Morgenthau’s aides finally convinced him to go to the president, armed with a stinging 18-page report that they titled “Report to the Secretary on the Acquiescence of This Government in the Murder of the Jews.” Esther’s lobbying succeeded. Ahashverosh canceled the genocide decree and executed Haman and his henchmen. Morgenthau’s lobbying also succeeded. A Bergson-initiated Congressional resolution calling for U.S. rescue action quickly passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee--enabling Morgenthau to tell FDR that “you have either got to move very fast, or the Congress of the United States will do it for you.” Ten months before election day, the last thing FDR wanted was an embarrassing public scandal over the refugee issue. Within days, Roosevelt did what the Congressional resolution sought--he issued an executive order creating the War Refugee Board, a U.S. government agency to rescue refugees from Hitler. Here, unfortunately, is where the parallels end. While Esther triumphed before Haman could harm her people, Morgenthau’s intervention came very late, after millions of Jews had been murdered. Still, there is no gainsaying the fact that the War Refugee Board played a key role in the rescue of some 200,000 Jews and 20,000 non-Jews, in part by facilitating and financing the life-saving work of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg in Budapest. The claim that nothing could be done to help Europe’s Jews had been demolished by Jews who shook off their fears and spoke up for their people -- in ancient Persia and in modern Washington. Dr. Medoff is director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, which focuses on issues related to America’s response to the Holocaust. www.wymaninstitute.org

BBC 10 Mar 2004 Israel ends Arab worker 'marking' Red cross marking were for security reasons, said Knesset officials Israeli security officials have been told to stop making Arab construction workers at the Knesset wear distinctive identifying marks on their hard hats. Israeli parliamentary speaker Reuven Rivlin, ordered an end to the controversial policy. The Arab builders had been made to wear helmets with red crosses on top so they were identifiable to marksmen guarding parliament, the daily Maariv reported. The practice outraged local politicians and human rights groups. "Even though Israel is dealing with various security issues... it must not use any signs that are liable to be interpreted as distinguishing people on the basis of race, nationality or religion," Mr Rivlin said in a statement. Of the 200 or so labourers employed to build a new wing at the Israeli parliament building, 25 are Israeli Arabs. Security checks Knesset spokesman Giora Pordes said only Arab workers who had not yet completed the lengthy security checks wore marked helmets. Arabs who had been cleared wore plain helmets, he said. The markings enabled the Arab labourers to start work immediately, rather than wait the three to four months before checks are completed, he added. But the practice sparked outrage. The Israeli office of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) - founded to combat anti- Semitism - described it as discriminatory and ironic. "While it is understandable that all workers at sensitive sites such as the Knesset have full and thorough security checks, it is both discriminatory and insensitive to visibly mark certain individuals based on race, religion or nationality, regardless of security concerns," it said in a statement. Ahmed Tibi, an Arab legislator, told Reuters news agency it was symptomatic of a "virus of racism" that has infected Israeli society.

Jerusalem Post 8 Mar 2004 15 Palestinians killed in IDF Gaza raid By MARGOT DUDKEVITCH Fifteen Palestinians were killed, among them two children, in an IDF raid on the El-Bureij and Nuseirat refugee camps in the central Gaza Strip on Sunday morning. More than 80 Palestinians were wounded in the operation, which began late Saturday night, and which was aimed at nabbing perpetrators of Kassam rocket attacks and bombings. Advertisement While Hamas and Islamic Jihad vowed to avenge the deaths, senior Palestinian Authority officials described the operation as a massacre, and called for international intervention. In response, Lt.-Col. Ofir Winter of the Givati Brigade told The Jerusalem Post that the soldiers shot "without a doubt" at armed men only. "They received instructions prior to the operation not to shoot at children," he said. "However, many of the gunmen hid behind hundreds of children and youths, who were called to participate in clashes with soldiers as we prepared to pull out." Winter said the gunmen threw grenades and shot at soldiers from behind rows of children. "We also saw two explosions within the crowd – possibly bombs that terrorists planned to use against us and that blew up prematurely," he said. "I believe that a number of the casualties stemmed from [those explosions]." PA Negotiations Minister Saeb Erekat said on Gaza radio that "Israel talks in English about potential withdrawal, and orders its troops in Hebrew to invade Palestinian cities, towns, villages, and refugee camps – to kill as many Palestinian civilians as possible." Late Saturday night, Givati forces, supported by armored and engineering units and two Apache helicopters, entered the area between the two camps and the settlement of Netzarim. Soldiers surrounded two buildings where they believed fugitives were hiding, Winter said. "As soon as we were seen entering the area, Palestinians used loudspeakers to call on 'martyrs' to take to the streets and fight," he said. Groups of Palestinians then began to shoot at the soldiers, firing RPGs and light weapons, Winter said. As the soldiers prepared to leave, roughly 1,000 Palestinian children and youths, Palestinian gunmen mingled among them, clashed with soldiers. At mid-morning, the troops pulled out of the area, Winter said. Palestinians said two children and a teenager were among those killed. El-Bureij camp Mayor Kamal Baghdadi told reporters, "These 'Zio-Nazis' know only the language of bloodshed. Murder is an inherent characteristic of Zionism." Nabil Abu Rudaineh, a spokesman for PA Chairman Yasser Arafat, declared: "This is a terrorist massacre by the Israeli government. It shows the whole world that the Palestinians are subjected to the worst kind of terror by the Israeli government." Hamas claimed in a statement that nine of the dead were Hamas members, including local commander Hassan Zahot, 44. Also on Sunday, during a visit at the Erez crossing following Saturday's thwarted terrorist attacks, IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Ya'alon told reporters that he could not rule out the possibility that the recent escalation in terrorism is due to talk of a possible withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. The Erez industrial site remained closed on Sunday and officials did not say when it would reopen, in light of the recent spate of attacks at the site. "Everything that is happening here leads me to the conclusion that we care about employing the Palestinian families in Gaza more than the terrorist organizations do," Ya'alon told reporters. The two PA policemen who were killed Saturday, when a Palestinian taxi exploded near their post as they prevented it from crossing to the Israeli side, were identified as Bashir Abu Omrein, 28, and Hussam Aliwah, also 28. The four terrorists who were killed attempting to carry out the attack were identified as Hatem Tafesh and Amru Sayed of Fatah, Muhammad abu Diyeh of Hamas, and Mouhatadi al-Moudid of Islamic Jihad. Elsewhere, soldiers in the village of Anza, south of Jenin, blew up a bomb factory found early Sunday morning. Officers said troops found empty mortar shells, pipes, gunpowder, fertilizer used to manufacture explosives, and fuses stored inside the factory. There were also scattered incidents throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip: In the morning, shots were fired at soldiers in Burka, northwest of Nablus. Shots were fired at soldiers in Yabed, south of Jenin. Two anti-tank rockets were fired at soldiers patrolling the Karni-Netzarim road in the northern Gaza Strip; later, shots were fired at an IDF post on the road, causing no damage..

AFP 8 March 2004 14 Palestinians killed as Israeli troops target Gaza refugee camps GAZA CITY : At least 14 Palestinians were killed and some 81 others wounded as scores of Israeli troops targeted two refugee camps in the Gaza Strip, hours after a failed elaborate Palestinian suicide mission. Hospital officials said three boys, aged eight, 12 and 15, were among those killed in the operation at the al-Bureij and neighbouring Nuseirat refugee camps while Hamas said three of the dead were members of its radical Islamic movement. Witnesses said around 30 tanks and jeeps, with aerial cover from two Apache helicopters, secured the entrance of the Bureij camp in central Gaza at around 3:00am (0100 GMT). After taking over several buildings at the entrance to the camp, the army then announced by loudspeaker that it was imposing a curfew and ordered residents to stay indoors. An Israeli army source said troops had refrained from entering the center of Bureij as "the area where we are operating in is where the terror cells are located". Residents told AFP that some 1,500 people then surged to the entrance where fierce clashes broke out. They were joined by residents from Nusseirat who also pelted the troops with missiles and explosives, triggering exchanges of fire. Palestinian and Israeli sources said anti-tank missiles, rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), Molotov cocktails and stones were hurled at the troops, without causing injuries on the Israeli side. The Palestinians were all killed by live Israeli fire, the medical sources said. Those injured were either hit by live bullets or shrapnel. The nearby hospital at Deir al-Balah was soon overrun with casualties and victims had to be packed up to four at a time into ambulances sent from Gaza City's Al-Shifa hospital some 12 kilometers (more than seven miles) north. Appeals for blood were made over loudspeaker in both camps. The Israeli military's chief of staff, General Moshe Yaalon, said that "other offensive operations" would be launched as part of a recent decision to intensify operations against armed groups. "Our troops are carrying out a combing operation against terrorists at Bureij and we intend to launch other operations in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and Gaza as long as the terrrorists continue their attacks," Yaalon told public radio. The operation follows an abortive twin attack using mock Israeli jeeps on the Erez crossing point between Israel and the Gaza Strip on Saturday in which four bombers and two Palestinian policemen were killed. The three main Palestinian armed factions -- Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades -- claimed responsibility for the attack in a joint statement Sunday which they said was partly in response to an Israeli air raid just south of Gaza City on Thursday in which three Hamas leaders were killed. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has announced his intention to evacuate nearly all the Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip but his government insists that will not mark an ease-up in the fight against militants. Palestinian negotiations minister Saeb Erakat condemned Sunday's operation as "a dangerous escalation". "The Israeli government is continuing its policy which is aimed at destroying the peace process. The issue is not withdrawal from Gaza Strip but destroying the Gaza Strip," he said. The violence brought the overall death toll since the start of the Palesitnian intifada, or uprising, in September 2000 to 3,819, including 2,865 Palestinians and 886 Israelis.

AP 14 Mar 2004 Double Palestinian bombing at Israeli port kills 10; Israeli helicopters hit Gaza workshops PETER ENAV, ASHDOD, Israel (AP) -- Two Palestinian suicide bombers blew themselves up at this closely guarded Israeli port, killing at least 10 Israelis in the first deadly attack on a strategic installation in more than three years of Israeli-Palestinian fighting. After the Sunday attack, police ordered increased security at all Israeli seaports, airports and train stations, and Israel Radio reported that the overall terror alert was at its highest level. Some confusion remained Monday over the number of people killed. Authorities initially said 11 Israelis were killed, but the Israeli Foreign Ministry put the final toll at 10, listing names of the victims on its website. Early Monday, Israeli helicopters fired missiles at three workshops in Gaza City, residents said, causing damage but no casualties. The Israeli military said the workshops were used by Hamas to make weapons, including mortars and rockets. Also Monday, Palestinian militants fired an anti-tank missile at an armored bus carrying Israeli settlers in Gaza, the army said. The missile tore through the bus, causing heavy damage, but no one was hurt. In the hours after the bombing, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon consulted with his army chief of staff over an Israeli response to the bombing. Sharon is waiting for the return of Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz from a U.S. trip later Monday to decide on possible larger-scale retaliation, a security official said. The attackers were the first Palestinian bombers from Gaza to infiltrate into Israel during the current round of violence. The volatile coastal strip is surrounded by a fence and subject to stringent security. The bombing had immediate political consequences. Sharon canceled a meeting with his Palestinian counterpart, Ahmed Qureia, that had tentatively been set for Tuesday. Preparatory talks set for Monday were also called off, a Sharon aide said. Palestinian Cabinet minister Saeb Erekat condemned the attack on behalf of the Palestinian Authority and expressed regret that Israel canceled the talks. Police said the bombers may have intended to blow themselves up near chemical tanks to try to cause far greater loss of life. The bombings raised serious questions about Israel's vulnerability; Israel has been fearing a so-called "mega attack" on a chemical depot or fuel storage facility. Israeli security officials said the bombers apparently used high-grade explosives, indicating a deadly upgrade. Such explosives were used once before, in a suicide attack on a Tel Aviv pub in 2003 that killed three Israels. In that attack, the assailants were two British Muslims who used their British passports to get through the Israeli crossing between Gaza and Israeli. Sharon aide Raanan Gissin said the target was no surprise because terrorists had long been trying to carry out a massive bombing, "and today was another effort to carry out such an attack." A major power station was also nearby. Government officials said they would investigate how the attackers were able to get into such a sensitive facility. Palestinian militants had previously targeted a fuel depot, in 2002, but that attack did not kill anyone. A plot to blow up skyscrapers in Tel Aviv was foiled. The bombings Sunday happened before 5 p.m. local time, one outside the perimeter fence and one inside a workshop inside the fence. "One of our workers who was lightly wounded told me that the terrorist came in and asked for water and the moment he showed him where there was a tap he blew up," said Sami Pinto, a port worker. Morris Rima, who works at a nearby haulage company, ran toward the scene. "When I arrived here I saw body parts strewn around, some of them hanging on the barbed wire," he said. Ten people were killed, in addition to the bombers, and 18 were wounded, according to the Israeli Foreign Ministry. Until Sunday, all Palestinian bombers since 2000 came from the West Bank, which has a much more porous border with Israel. Israel is building a barrier in the West Bank aimed at stopping attackers, but Palestinians object to the planned route, which cuts deep into territory they claim for a future state. Hamas and the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, militants with links to Yasser Arafat's Fatah party, claimed joint responsibility for the attack. The Ashdod bombers were identified as Nabil Massoud, 17, and Mahmoud Salem, 17. They were classmates in the 11th grade of a high school in the Jebaliya refugee camp, a large shantytown near Gaza City and a hotbed of militancy. The teens' fathers said they were proud of their sons. The violent groups said the attack came in response to Israeli killings of Palestinian militants. After evening prayers, worshippers streamed out of mosques on along the road from Jebaliya to Gaza City, celebrating on the streets and shouting Hamas slogans. Abu Qusay, an Al Aqsa leader in Gaza, said Sunday's attack was meant to show that "we can reach any place in Israel, even the heavily protected places, such as a port or airport." Sharon said last month that in the absence of peace moves, Israel will implement his "disengagement plan," which includes the evacuation of Gaza Strip settlements. In preparation for the possible withdrawal, the Palestinian Authority has drawn up a security plan for Gaza that would ban militants from carrying arms in public, according to a copy obtained Sunday by The Associated Press. The plan, finalized March 4 after discussions with Egyptian officials, would also leave Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's cousin, Moussa, as head of a new security force of 700 soldiers that would maintain order on the border of Egypt and Gaza, Palestinians security sources said. Early Monday, Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian man not far from the Gaza-Egypt border, Palestinian security sources said. The circumstances of his death were not immediately clear, and the Palestinians did not identify the body. An Israeli military official speaking on condition of anonymity, said forces on an arrest operation shot at a fleeing fugitive after calling on him to stop and firing in the air. The official said the dead man was a fugitive, but declined to say what militant group he belonged to.

JTA 17 Mar 2004 Ashdod Strike May Have Been Attempted Chemical Attack Posted 3/17/2004 By Dan Baron (JTA) TEL AVIV – With this week’s suicide bombings in Ashdod, Palestinian terrorists may have hoped to see a toxic cloud hanging over an Israeli city – the embodiment of a new, higher level of terrorism. Although luck and security spared Israel a chemical cataclysm, Sunday’s double suicide bombing at Israel’s second-largest port devastated scores of families, killing 10 people. The attack wounded at least 16, and raised alarm in the Israeli government. The two teenage bombers came from the Gaza Strip, and their attack marked the first successful terrorist strike launched by Palestinian infiltrators from the fenced-in strip during the current intifada. Palestinians said the bombers may have tunneled into Israel under the Gaza Strip security fence, then broke through tight Israeli security at the port. “This comes to show that resistance will continue until the enemy leaves all of occupied Palestinian land,” said Hamas founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin, whose group is sworn to the destruction of the Jewish state. The Al-Aksa Brigade, the terrorist wing of Yasir Arafat’s mainstream Fatah movement, claimed joint responsibility for the attacks along with Hamas. In response, Israel launched a predawn raid Monday, destroying two metal foundries in Gaza that Hamas used to produce weapons. Israeli officials also said they would step up their hunt for terrorist leaders and resume the policy of targeted assassinations. One official told Reuters that a strike against Hamas spiritual leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin would not be ruled out. On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ruled out peace talks with the Palestinian Authority, saying it had done nothing to confront terrorists, as required by the U.S.-led road map peace plan. Shortly after the Ashdod attack, Sharon canceled a planned meeting for Tuesday with the PA prime minister, Ahmed Qurei, despite the customary PA condemnation issued after Sunday’s bombing. “We are not looking for a photo opportunity,” said Sharon’s spokesman, Ra’anan Gissin. “We want a real undertaking from the Palestinians to crack down on terrorism.” Speaking at a news conference Monday, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said Israel would not “negotiate by night and bury its dead by day.” The government’s announcements also raise the possibility that Sharon’s contingency plan for disengagement from the Palestinians – a plan Sharon said he would pursue if there appeared no genuine Palestinian partner for peace – would proceed. Nevertheless, Sharon won only narrow support for the plan Monday, surviving a vote of confidence in the Knesset by a 46-45 vote. Some members of Sharon’s coalition who oppose the proposed withdrawal refused to vote. The prime minister will be going to Washington later this month to secure U.S. support for the plan, which involves the dismantlement of most Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip and some unilateral moves in the West Bank. Meanwhile, security officials said Monday they would beef up security around Israel’s ports, including using sniffing dogs and installing electronic fences, news agencies reported. Israeli security sources said Sunday’s bombers, carrying sophisticated plastic explosives, were headed for the port’s tankers of ammonium and bromine. If ignited, the chemicals would have thrown up a lethal cloud over Ashdod one mile in radius. As it happened, the first bomber, who had worked nearby as a construction worker, apparently got cold feet. “He stopped to ask for a glass of water, and one of the guys recognized him as a local laborer. As he was led away, he blew up,” a stevedore told reporters. Seconds after the first explosion, which tore apart a warehouse for heavy machinery, the bomber’s partner hit his detonator outside the port gate. The bombs used were more powerful than those used in previous suicide bombings, said Israel’s Southern region police chief, Moshe Karadi. The double blast, which threw body parts and mangled metal in the air, sent shock waves through a coastal town that has been largely untouched by more than three years of intifada, despite its proximity to the Gaza Strip. Indeed, authorities assumed the blasts were work accidents until they found two distinct bomb sites and assessed the situation. The bombers, both of whom died, were identified as 18-year-olds from the Jabalya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. The only other terrorist attack in Israel that emanated from Gaza during the current intifada was a suicide bombing by two Britons of Pakistani descent at Mike’s Place, a Tel Aviv nightclub, in April 2003. Those terrorists, posing as tourists who had traveled through Gaza, used the same plastic explosives as Sunday’s bombers, Israeli security sources said. Hizbullah is the main suspect in supplying the rare explosives, probably through tunnels linking the southern Gaza city of Rafah to nearby Egypt. “This was meant to be a strategic, mega-terror strike. Now we have to review our own strategy,” a Jerusalem official said, referring to efforts to discover how the two Palestinians got through the Gaza security fence. Israel Defense Forces officials believe the terrorists may have burrowed under the Gaza security fence. “They found a weak point and they exploited it,” Cabinet minister Yosef Paritzky said of Sunday’s assailants. “A port, by nature, is a very busy place,” he said. “There are many people coming and going. It is impossible to seal the entire country hermetically.” Amid the investigation, a Jerusalem official said, “What we learn from this incident will have to be implemented everywhere in the territories – and fast.” .


Asahi Shimbun 9 Mar 2004 www.asahi.com/english/opinion/ EDITORIAL: International court By Joining, Japan can help humanitarian causes. The International Criminal Court (ICC) is a U.N. tribunal charged with bringing to justice those who commit such inhumane acts as war crimes, genocide and maltreatment of citizens. No one, not politicians, soldiers or members of a militia, are exempt from standing trial for illegal acts. The ICC stands as the embodiment of people's desire to see the rule of law strengthened, if only incrementally, in a world where the law of the jungle and cruel deeds are all too common. About a year after its creation, the ICC is preparing to investigate a massacre of men and women last month by, allegedly, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), a rebel force in Uganda. The LRA's soldiers are accused of shooting up a refugee camp and indiscriminately killing more than 200 people, including women and children. The LRA is also suspected of having committed a number of other massacres, and forcing children to join its ranks as soldiers. Under normal circumstances, a case such as this should be handled by a Ugandan court. But for many years, Uganda has been ruled in effect by a single party. And under the present government, doubts would be raised about the fairness of the trial, whose outcome could trigger renewed violence. Politically neutral, the ICC has been given judicial authority by the international community. Significantly, the ICC has embarked on the case and taken steps to bring those responsible to justice with the cooperation of the Ugandan government. The ICC's chief prosecutor is poised to bring a formal charge against the leader who allegedly ordered his soldiers to commit the massacre. In itself, the court's taking such action will serve as a deterrent to further barbarous acts by the LRA. At the disposal of the ICC is a legal system composed of laws governing warfare and international conventions on inhumane acts, known collectively as international humanitarian law. The ICC is the major watchdog of such a legal structure and more than 90 countries-mostly in Europe, Latin American and Africa-have already taken part in its court system. But Japan is not yet a party to the ICC. One of the major reasons for the delay is that Japan has not yet ratified the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, relating to the protection of prisoners and victims of armed conflicts. Now, at last, the protocol is scheduled to be ratified during this Diet session. The domestic bills necessary for its ratification were finalized, along with other bills related to military emergencies, at the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, after which they were immediately submitted to the Diet. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi should take this opportunity to act promptly to join the ICC by upgrading domestic legislation, such as stipulating that genocide is a crime. Since the latter half of the 1990s, the Japanese government has defined human security, which respects, in particular, human life and human rights, as one of its major foreign policy objectives and appealed to the international community to do likewise. The ICC plays a very large part in promoting such an objective. Unfortunately, the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush has turned its back on the ICC for fear American military personnel overseas could be put on trial at this tribunal. But Japan should never drag its feet in taking part in the ICC out of deference to the United States. Hisashi Owada serves as a judge at the International Court of Justice, which adjudicates disputes between nations. Chikako Taya is also a judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, which puts individuals on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity. We want to see Japan take part in the ICC, which works to propagate the rule of humanitarian law, and see Japanese legal experts playing large roles on that court. It is by this means that Japan can make a proud contribution to the international community.


AFP 26 Feb 2004 Rebels end second round of peace talks with Myanmar junta by Michael Mathes BANGKOK, Feb 26 (AFP) - Little progress appeared to have been made towards ending half a century of insurgency Thursday as Myanmar's biggest rebel group said it had wrapped up three days of "frank" talks with the ruling junta. The Karen National Union (KNU), which has been fighting for autonomy for 53 years, met with military government officials in the Myanmar town of Moulmein, the headquarters for the junta's southeastern division command. The talks, which followed a ceasefire agreement reached last month, addressed the relocation of armed forces, delineation of KNU territory and the fate of some 200,000 Karen displaced by the years of bitter fighting. "We had frank discussions," KNU foreign affairs spokesman David Taw told AFP from a rebel base near the Thai border after returning from Myanmar late Wednesday. However he declined to describe the negotiations as successful. "I think we cannot say it's a failure, but it is in process. We will look at these results and decide whether there is progress or failure," he said. After a surprise December agreement to end hostilities, the commander of the KNU's military wing, General Bo Mya, led a delegation on an historic trip to Yangon in January which produced a provisional ceasefire deal. Although the deal fell short of the written settlement sought by the Karen, the red-carpet treatment extended to the delegation was seen as proof of a warming relationship. A broader arrangement is now being sought to conclusively end one of the world's longest-running insurgencies and bring the KNU an element of political legitimacy. The KNU spokesman said the two sides had tentatively agreed to meet again at the end of March or in early April. "From our point of view (the ruling generals) are eager to have a good understanding and would like to reach an agreement, so I think they are serious on this," he said. Bo Mya did not travel to Moulmein for the talks, but said he had been briefed about them. "We didn't reach any agreement," Bo Mya told AFP from KNU headquarters. "When we talked about delineation of the KNU border and armed forces relocation, the Yangon representatives asked for more time to look into the details." Bo Mya added that he was "satisfied" with the negotiations even though no breakthrough was reached. The peace talks are also seen as crucial to the junta as it attempts to line up support from ethnic groups for a democracy "road map" which is due to kick off this year with a national convention to draft a new constitution. This week's discussions were led by the KNU's joint first secretary, Htoo Htoo Lay, and the junta's deputy chief of military intelligence Major General Kyaw Win. Taw said the ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) proposed that the KNU place its central and battalion headquarters on official maps so that troops and civilians can be better aware of the delineation of territory. The Karen side also brought forward the issue of internally displaced civilians, many of whom are living in extremely harsh conditions. "Some of their villages have been totally destroyed, and some have been abandoned," Taw said. "We discussed allowing the villagers to return and the provision of accommodation for those whose homes were destroyed." The KNU is the largest of a handful of rebel groups still resisting Yangon's rule, with the junta estimating it has 7,000 members.

AFP 11 Mar 2004 Human rights in Myanmar deteriorate: UN expert by Peter Capella GENEVA, March 11 (AFP) - A UN expert warned Thursday that Myanmar's already troubled human rights landscape had deteriorated in 2003 and urged the military junta to lift restrictions on freedom and release all political prisoners. In a report on Myanmar, which is due to be submitted to the annual meeting of the UN Human Rights Commission beginning next week, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro noted that he was still highlighting the same issues that were raised when he was appointed in 2000. The UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar said the attack on pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi's entourage on May 30, 2003, and the ensuing crackdown on her National League for Democracy (NLD) party "have been a setback for human rights in Myanmar". Earlier progress "although encouraging, was not sufficient", he added. "In order to reverse the regression, all those who have been in detention or under house arrest since May 30, 2003 should be immediately and unconditionally released," Pinheiro said in the report. Freedom for Suu Kyi and other NLD leaders would allow them to participate in the early stages of the transition process laid out by the military rulers last year "and send a powerful signal that the SPDC (junta) is genuinely serious about democratic transition," he added. The NLD won a landslide 1990 election victory but was never allowed to rule. Pinheiro indicated that he was more guarded than the rest of the international community about the appointment of a new prime minister last August and the junta's seven-point roadmap for change to civilian government. He said it "must be accompanied by real and tangible changes on the ground towards a genuinely free, transparent and inclusive process, involving all political parties, ethnic nationalities and elements of civil society". "The most urgent and basic requirements today are the lifting of all remaining restrictions on freedom of expression, movement, information, assembly and association." In the same vein, Pinheiro demanded "the repealing of the related 'security' legislation, and the opening ... of all political parties' offices in the country". The Brazilian official also warned that a combination of boosted international sanctions in Myanmar and decades of "poor economic management" were adding to the country's hardship and factory closures. Women and girls, especially those who had left home villages to find work, were "particularly vulnerable" to the risk of exploitation and falling into smuggling networks, the report underlined. The senior UN envoy for the country, Razali Ismail, revealed last week that Suu Kyi was willing to work with Myanmar's prime minister, prompting cautious optimism among foreign observers. The International Labour Organisation said Tuesday that Myanmar had agreed to allow an independent mediator to assist victims of forced labour, thereby meeting one of Pinheiro's demands over the years. His latest report was based on a fact-finding mission to Myanmar in November 2003 and on information received up to mid-December.

North Korea

Xinhua 29 Feb DPRK refutes US accusation of human rights abuses The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Saturday condemned the United States' accusation of human rights abuses by the DPRK. Answering a question by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), a spokesman for the DPRK Foreign Ministry described the US accusation in its annual report on human rights released Wednesday as "disgusting behavior." "The US is an international strangler of democracy and the world's worst violator of human rights," the spokesman said. The United States is "committing genocide in various parts of the world, imposing economic sanctions and war upon those countries and advancing along the road of independence by fabricating false intelligence and hatching plots," the spokesman added. The spokesman said the US intention was to tar the DPRK's image by adding the human rights issue to the nuclear issue and isolate the DPRK.


WP 3 Mar 2004 Gunmen in Pakistan Kill Scores of Shiites By John Lancaster Washington Post Foreign Service Wednesday, March 3, 2004; Page A20 KARACHI, Pakistan, March 2 -- Men armed with automatic rifles fired on Shiite Muslim worshipers as they marched through the city of Quetta on Tuesday, killing at least 42 people and wounding more than 150 in an incident that underscored the continuing threat of extremist violence against religious minorities in Pakistan. The attack came as Shiites around the world marked the 7th-century death in battle of Hussein, a grandson of the prophet Muhammad. It is one of the most important and emotion-filled days of the Shiite calendar. The bombings in Quetta coincided with a series of coordinated bombings against Shiite worshipers in Iraq that left at least 143 people dead in Baghdad and Karbala, a Shiite holy city. The attack on Shiites in Pakistan was the worst in the country since July, when members of a Sunni Muslim extremist group blew themselves up at a mosque in Quetta, killing dozens of worshipers. Sunni Muslims constitute a majority in Pakistan. In recent years, hundreds of people -- most of them Shiites and other religious minorities -- have been killed in sectarian violence. The attack in Quetta, the capital of the southwestern province of Baluchistan, began when gunmen on an apartment balcony opened fire on hundreds of Shiites as they marched along a busy commercial thoroughfare in observance of Ashura, the holiest day of the holy month of Muharram, authorities said. Witnesses quoted by news agencies said the attackers also threw grenades and that two of the assailants blew themselves up before they could be captured. Some Shiite worshipers reportedly returned fire. "Normally the procession moves at a certain time, and there were some miscreants" in a building along the procession route, Interior Secretary Tasneem Noorani said in a telephone interview from Islamabad. Riaz Khan, the police deputy inspector, said: "Terrorists started firing from a balcony on the participants of the procession. When the terrorists saw themselves surrounded, at least two of them blew themselves up. I saw their bodies dangling from the balcony over the electrical wires." One or two people have been arrested, Noorani said, but no group has asserted responsibility for the violence. Shiites rioted after the attack, burning shops, several cars, a Sunni mosque and a television network office. Witnesses said the city echoed with the sound of explosions and fierce gun battles, according to news services. Security forces dispersed the crowds with tear gas, and police used loudspeakers to announce a curfew and order people into their homes. Citing hospital officials in Quetta, the Associated Press reported that at least 42 people were killed in the violence and that more than 150 were wounded. The Reuters news agency put the number of dead at 44. Noorani said that extra security had been deployed in advance of the march in Quetta, a bustling if somewhat austere city on a high, arid plain. He said, however, that with "literally thousands" of similar processions taking place across the country on the same day, "this kind of thing happens. Emotions are running high." To the north of Quetta, a shootout broke out as Shiites marched in the town of Phalia in Punjab province, the Associated Press reported. The fighting between Sunnis and Shiites left two people dead and at least 40 injured. The incidents will likely increase pressure on Gen. Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's president, to do more to fulfill his pledges to rein in extremist groups that maintain a formidable presence in the country. On several occasions over the last two years, Musharraf has announced bans on such groups, but some have simply reconstituted under different names. In October 2002, Azam Tariq, the leader of a banned Sunni extremist group, was even allowed to run for parliament, "despite more than 20 charges of terrorism registered against him in various courts," the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based research organization that monitors global conflicts, noted in a report in January. Tariq, who won a seat from Punjab province, had previously said it was permissible to kill Shiites because they were not true Muslims. Tariq was assassinated in October 2003 in an apparent retaliatory killing by Shiite militants.

BBC 3 Mar 2004 Pakistan probes assault on Shias -- Angry Shias responded to the killings with arson attacks Authorities in Pakistan have ordered an inquiry into an attack on Shia Muslims which left at least 43 people dead as they marked the holy day of Ashura. A curfew is in place in the city of Quetta where the attack took place, with soldiers patrolling its streets. Separately, 13 Shia women and children died in a stampede in north-western Pakistan late on Tuesday. Pakistan has a history of clashes between radical groups among its Shia minority and majority Sunnis. Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat condemned the Quetta attack. "These misguided extremists want to create chaos in the country," he said on Wednesday. "The government is aware of their designs and determined to continue its fight against extremism and sectarianism." Mass funeral The authorities in Quetta said one person injured in the violence had been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the attack. The man had been beaten by a mob and handed over to police. Automatic gunfire created chaos in the procession The Associated Press news agency reported that there were two other attackers, both of whom died. Homes, businesses and a mosque used by Sunni Muslims were torched by rioters following the killings. Security had been tight on Tuesday for Ashura, following a similar attack on a Shia religious gathering in Quetta last year that left 50 people dead. Tuesday's attack coincided with devastating explosions in the Iraqi cities of Baghdad and Karbala that left nearly 200 dead - these too targeted Shias who had been celebrating Ashura, the anniversary of the death of the Prophet Muhammad's grandson. I was present near the procession when we first heard an explosion and then some people fired shots Quetta Mayor Abdul Rahim Kakar Attack in pictures The BBC Islamabad correspondent says it is unlikely the two events were linked. Quetta's mayor said the inquiry there would investigate whether the attack was the work of a local extremist group or if foreign elements were involved. No group has said it carried out the attack. The city's chief Shia cleric, Allama Mahdi Najfi, said a mass funeral was being prepared on Wednesday at the main mosque. However, he said it would not take place until 25 Shia youths allegedly held by police for damaging public property were freed. Mob rampage Eyewitnesses to Tuesday's attack said that as the procession was passing through the city's shopping district, a grenade was thrown, followed by firing from automatic guns. Police at the scene say they were unable to tell whether the shots were being fired on the procession or by Shias in self-defence. At least five policemen are among those reported dead. SHIA FESTIVAL: ASHURA Annual Shia festival commemorating martyrdom of Imam Hussein Hussein, grandson of Prophet Mohammad, killed at Karbala by army of Caliph Yazid in 680 Faithful strike themselves with chains and swords to atone for Hussein martyrdom The murder 19 years earlier of Ali, Hussein's father, gave rise to the central schism in Islam between Sunni and Shia Who are the Shia? Afterwards groups of angry Shias attacked shops, vehicles and government property before security forces fired shots and tear gas to disperse them. Late into Tuesday night, firefighters tackled blazes set by rioters. About 60 shops, a cinema and a bank were burned. The exact number of dead remains unclear - some estimates put casualty figures higher, and doctors say they expect the death toll to rise. At least 100 people are in hospital receiving treatment. Short circuit The stampede that left 13 people dead took place in the town of Parachinar, 250km (155 miles) west of the capital, Islamabad. Local officials said a short circuit plunged a mosque into darkness, sparking panic. "Dozens of women and children crammed on a staircase which collapsed under the pressure," said Parachinar official Azam Khan. Another two people died in a shooting incident during a Shia procession in Punjab province, while 40 more were injured following clashes between Shias and Sunnis in the town of Phalia, 600km north-east of Quetta. Last July, Quetta was the scene of one of the worst outbreaks of sectarian violence in Pakistan, when attackers armed with machine guns and grenades stormed a Shia mosque, killing 50 people who were praying inside. About 97% of Pakistan's population is Muslim, and Sunnis outnumber Shias by about four-to-one.

BBC 6 Oct 2003, Pakistan's Shia-Sunni divide A policeman tends to an injured worshipper in Quetta Differences between Pakistan's Sunni majority and Shia minority go back to the Islamic schism following the prophet's death. But in the past two decades those differences have been manifest in repeated violence wrought by Sunni and Shia extremists. The violence, which worsened after 11 September and the expulsion of the Taleban from Afghanistan, led President Pervez Musharraf to ban a number of militant groups. However, the BBC's Zaffar Abbas in Islamabad says recent attacks show the extremists who were forced into hiding by the clampdown are now resurfacing. Tribal dimension Most of the violence has occurred in the province of Punjab and in Pakistan's commercial capital, Karachi, in Sindh province. But two of the worst recent attacks have taken place in Quetta, capital of Balochistan province. In June, 11 Shia police cadets were shot dead by motorcycle gunmen. Shias in the city blamed Sunni extremist groups for the attack. And in July Shia worshippers were killed during Friday prayers at a Quetta mosque. The Quetta attacks also add a tribal dimension to the conflict. Most of the Shia victims are Hazaras originally from Afghanistan but who have been living in Quetta for generations. However, Zaffar Abbas says senior security officials believe this is a case of domestic sectarian violence and the victims' Afghan origin is a coincidence. Zia's legacy General Musharraf was swift to condemn the mosque attack. "We have to act very strong against them," he said, describing extremists in Pakistan as being a "small minority... able to derail or undermine national feelings". Thus one military leader finds himself still beset with problems that originated during the rule of military dictator, General Zia ul-Haq. Most analysts agree the current hostilities began in 1979 when General Zia began Islamicising Pakistani politics to legitimise his military rule. As a result, hardline religious groups were strengthened. This coincided with a period when parts of Pakistan came to be awash with weaponry as a result of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in late 1979. US arms and Saudi funds allowed General Zia to mount a proxy war in Afghanistan with mujahideen, or holy warriors. Drawn from Pakistani as well as Afghan and Arab youths mostly educated at religious schools, the mujahideen and their patrons were to become influential actors in Pakistan. Because Sunnis form a large majority in Pakistan, most of the mujahideen were Sunni too. Radical Sunni Islamists were able to establish armed groups like the Sipah-e-Sahaba. Revolutionary zeal Shia fighters too joined the jihad, or holy war, against the Soviets in Afghanistan, although their bands were smaller. In Karachi, doctors have been targeted They received help from Iran where the Islamic revolution earlier in 1979 had boosted Shia confidence. The growth of Shia militancy led to the establishment of groups such as Tehrik-e-Jafria. Once the Soviets left Afghanistan, Pakistani militants returned home and began looking for a new jihad. Many were encouraged to take their combat skills to Indian-administered Kashmir. Others stayed home to begin a campaign against fellow-Muslims they considered heretics or against Westerners and Christians. After dozens were killed in sectarian attacks, General Musharraf launched a campaign against extremism in January 2002, banning the worst-offending groups. However, continuing attacks have shown the limitations of the government's policy. And violence in Balochistan puts a further strain on Pakistan's security forces which are faced with challenges from the Taleban and remnants of al-Qaeda, and have to deal with confrontations with India over Kashmir.

BBC 8 Mar 2004 Quetta massacre suspects arrested Reports from Quetta say Pakistani police have arrested at least 17 people in connection with the attack on a Shia procession on Tuesday in which at least 40 people were killed. No details of the suspects have yet been released. The Pakistani prime minister, Zafarullah Khan Jamali, on a visit to Quetta on Saturday, said progress was being made in the investigation. Mr Jamali said the possibility of foreign involvement in the attack could not be ruled out. In another development, families of some of the victims have asked police to arrest alleged leaders of a Sunni militant group, Sipah-e-Sahaba, whom they accuse of being behind the attack.

BBC 13 Mar 2004 Batting for unity in Pakistan By Crispin Thorold BBC correspondent, Wagah border crossing There can be few sporting events that evoke quite such passion. For India and Pakistan, Saturday's one-day cricket match in Karachi marked the first time in 14 years that either side's team has toured the other country. Despite their different cultures, the two countries also share a passion for ceremony, celebrated each day in a flag-lowering ritual at the Wagah border crossing. Indian and Pakistani soldiers perform an elaborate daily ritual "This is the clash of civilisations", my self-appointed guide exclaimed with rather too much glee. For Rajesh, the daily flag-lowering ceremony at the Wagah border, made perfect sense. Perhaps he had noticed my bewilderment. The display below us certainly called for clarification. Indian and Pakistani soldiers, kitted out in full dress uniform, were embarking on an elaborate and lengthy performance of staged aggression. After a traumatic life as a Hindu born in Indian administered Kashmir, Rajesh was on something of a personal pilgrimage. This was, he claimed, his 100th trip to Wagah. Soldier after soldier paraded to the border. The closed gates that mark that arbitrary line were thrown open. A carefully choreographed standoff followed, then another, and yet one more. On one side men and women are segregated. On the other, families sit together Each confrontation was greeted with cheers from the watching crowds. There are viewing stands on either side. After at least 20 minutes, with the sun fast descending, the Indian and Pakistani flags were finally lowered. This event has become something of a journalistic cliché. It makes great copy. Worlds apart Wagah is the only road border crossing between the two countries The differences between India and Pakistan are plain to see. On one side men and women are segregated. On the other, families sit together. In India the watching crowd is a riot of colour. Across the border, white robes dominate. The strains of the azan, the call to prayer, compete with Bhangra beats. And all of this is in the heart of the Punjab, the region that saw the worst violence of Partition. In 1947 Muslims fled through this area into what was then West Pakistan. Hindus and Sikhs travelled in the opposite direction. Trainloads of people were slaughtered. The soldiers sent to stop the carnage were often all too keen to join in. In the end, millions migrated, over 10 million by some estimates. Scores of thousands were left dead. The Wagah crossing is a legacy of those events. Wars, political tensions and severe restrictions on travel have only heightened the mystery and misunderstanding. Confusion Two Punjabi villages are nestled on either side of the border. They are sleepy and dusty. In Pakistan, locals settle down to tea. They were to a man - and there were only men - Muslims. A soldier quizzed me about the 'free sex' that was, he informed me, readily available in India Hajji, the eldest, remembered his childhood in what is now India, with affection. He was the only person in the teashop who had ever been. All the others were born after Partition, and have never had a chance to visit a village just a few miles away. A soldier quizzed me about the "free sex" that was, he informed me, readily available in India. My insistence that I had never come across anything of the sort was no disappointment. It merely proved to him my inadequacy as a man. Everyone wanted an easing of the tensions between the two countries, but when Kashmir was mentioned the conversation became heated. The Indian government is repressing the Muslims, all agreed. "Peace can never be possible", they argued, "until Kashmir is free", although there was no consensus on what that meant. On the Indian side of the border, people were intrigued about what Pakistan could possibly be like. "After all", one said, "I have never been to a theocracy run by mullahs." Indistinguishable They imagined a fierce state where clerics, or soldiers, or intelligence chiefs control every aspect of life. But, as in Pakistan, there was no animosity towards local people. The similarities were astounding. Bullock carts wheel through the villages. In this relatively fertile region, most live from the land. The shared grammar and vocabulary of street Hindi and Urdu meant my diabolical Hindi was as misunderstood in Pakistan as it is in India. PEACE TALKS TIMETABLE March 29 and 30: Talks on a bus service between Pakistan's Sindh province and India's Rajasthan state March or April: Border security officials to talk on smuggling and drug trafficking May: Experts discuss nuclear confidence-building measures May or June: Foreign secretaries to discuss Kashmir July: Talks on terrorism and economic co-operation August: Summit between foreign ministers Joint statement: Full text Above all else the Pakistanis and Indians I met that day were mainly Punjabis. Their shared language, cultural heritage and geography, which meant they had far more in common with each other, than many of their fellow countrymen. Back at the flag-lowering ceremony I was still scratching my head. Rajesh's catch-all phrase "clash of civilisations", borrowed from an American academic, seemed far too simplistic to explain the ritual unfolding below. Sure the Pakistani crowd chanted "Allah-u-Akbar" - "God is great" - and the Indians responded with "Vande Mataram", regarded by many as India's national song. But the biggest cheer of the afternoon came when an Indian and Pakistani soldier shook hands, a symbol one woman argues, of "what unites us rather than divides us". As the Pakistani and Indian governments crawl towards a rapprochement, the countries' leaders would be well served to listen to their people. In the words of an Indian immigration official: "Relations are very cordial between us. It is only the politicians who are bloody idiots."

Saudi Arabia

WP 17 Mar 2004 Saudi Arabia Detains Reformers Reuters Wednesday, March 17, 2004; Page A17 RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, March 16 -- Saudi Arabia detained several prominent reformers Tuesday in a move their supporters described as a major setback to democratic change in the conservative Islamic kingdom. An Interior Ministry source, quoted by the official Saudi Press Agency, said the men were being questioned for issuing announcements that "do not serve national unity or the cohesion of society based on Islamic sharia law." Sources close to the detainees said eight people had been taken in by police, including former university professors Abdullah Hamid and Tawfiq Qussayer. Hamid was one of more than 800 people who signed a letter to Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, Crown Prince Abdullah, urging that a timetable for political reforms be implemented in the Persian Gulf state, which is under pressure to open up its absolute monarchy. Also detained were Matrouk Faleh, a professor of politics at King Saud University in Riyadh, and Mohammed Said Tayyib, a retired publisher. Four others, including poet Ali Dumaini, were also being held. "This will make people lose trust in the government and their promises. It contradicts 100 percent what they have been promising," said one academic with ties among the detainees. Saudi Arabia has come under pressure from Washington to reform following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, which were carried out mainly by Saudis. The government has promised to hold municipal elections by October, and this month the country's first independent human rights organization won royal approval. The country has also introduced changes to its educational and religious institutions, which promote an austere version of Sunni Islam and are blamed by critics for creating a fertile environment for militants. On Monday, Saudi security forces killed a Yemeni man believed to be a leading al Qaeda figure in the kingdom, officials said. The Saudi Press Agency quoted an Interior Ministry source as saying Khaled Ali Ali Haj, reported to be a senior al Qaeda figure, was killed in a shootout in Riyadh along with another suspected militant, Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz bin Mohammad Muzainy. Haj had been wanted by Saudi authorities since May, when his name was published along with those of 18 other suspected al Qaeda operatives. Days later, suicide bombings blamed on the al Qaeda network killed at least 35 people in Riyadh, including several Americans.

Sri Lanka

BBC 3 Mar 2004 Sri Lankan rebels 'deny split' By Frances Harrison BBC correspondent in Colombo Any split could complicate forthcoming elections A pro-rebel website in Sri Lanka has run a story denying there is any major split in the Tamil Tiger rebel group. A spokesman quoted the senior rebel commander in the east, Colonel Karuna, as saying he would take orders in the future directly from the Tiger leader. There had been reports of a rift between Colonel Karuna and the Tiger chief in northern Sri Lanka. The news comes as Norwegian mediators and the Sri Lankan prime minister held emergency talks about the reports. Legitimacy hope It is not clear why Colonel Karuna has not spoken himself to deny reports of an internal rebellion, though his life would be in danger if he had really mounted a challenge to the Tiger leader, Vellupillai Prabakharan. Rebels loyal to Colonel Karuna spoke privately about a request from the Tiger leader for 1,000 rebels to be sent from the east of the island to the north. They said this order had not been obeyed by Colonel Karuna and suggested this was because of unhappiness about the fighting force predominately coming from the east of the island while the rebel movement was run by northerners. But it is not known why this long-standing grievance should erupt now, just as campaigning is underway for general elections. The Tigers are not directly contesting, but they are backing a group of Tamil parties - who are their proxies - in the hope the vote will give them political legitimacy. Norwegian peace envoy Erik Solheim said there was a new situation in the east that had triggered a crisis meeting involving the Sri Lankan prime minister and international ceasefire monitors. But Mr Solheim would not give details and it is still not really clear whether there is a major crisis within the rebel movement or not.

www.eurasianet.org 4 Mar 2004 TAJIKISTAN, RUSSIA PROBE MILITARY PARTNERSHIP Zafar Abdullayev: 3/04/04 The extradition of a former top Tajik government official to Dushanbe may be related to a battle of wills between Tajikistan and Russia that could determine the fate of Russian armed forces in the Central Asian country. Russia is pressing to establish a military base in Tajikistan to help prevent the further erosion of its regional influence. Tajikistan has delayed a decision, in part because of an apparent desire to explore closer security cooperation with the United States. Russian prosecutors on February 24 authorized the extradition of former Tajik interior minster Yakub Salimov, on condition that he not face the death penalty if convicted. Salimov, a one-time close political ally of Tajik President Imomali Rahmonov, was arrested in Moscow last June. He is accused of treason and other crimes in connection with a 1997 coup attempt. Salimov is in the custody of Tajikistan’s Security Ministry and his case is the subject of further investigation, one of his lawyers, Saidkomil Qurbonov, told the Asia- Plus news agency on March 3. Rahmonov had long pressed Moscow to hand Salimov over, but with little success. Tajikistan is scheduled to hold parliamentary elections planned in 2005, and some of Rahmovov’s recent actions, included an extensive government reshuffle, appear to have been aims at keeping potential opposition in check. [For additional information see the Eurasia Insight archive]. A February 26 commentary in the Russian daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta suggested there was a political motive behind Salimov’s handover. The paper characterized Salimov as "a bargaining chip" that Moscow gave Rahmonov with the aim of securing Dushanbe’s consent to a permanent Russian military base in Tajikistan. "Observers feel that the Russians have managed to obtain concessions from their Tajik counterparts on the military base issue in exchange for Salimov’s extradition," the commentary said. Russian diplomats have officially denied the existence of any quid pro quo involving Salimov. The commentary added that there was no guarantee that a Russian base deal would be struck. Russia’s dealings with Tajikistan and other Central Asian nations follow a "specific formula that does not provide for strict compliance with commitments, but is always rich in promise," the commentary said. Russia could well end up with no permanent base in Tajikistan, and nothing more than the "sincere gratitude" of Tajik authorities "for its help in catching a ‘dangerous criminal.’" According to Tajik reports, the Russian base issue is entering a decisive stage. Five days before Salimov¹s extradition, Tajik Defense Ministry spokesman Zarobbin Siroyev told the Asia-Plus news agency that "there can be no doubt that the base will be established in Tajikistan because both Tajikistan and Russian have an interest in it." Most of the outstanding issues concerning the troops’ deployment have been resolved, Siroyev said. The location of the base is reportedly the last question to be decided. No date for the final negotiations has been set yet. At talks in Dushanbe February 10-12, Tajik Armed Forces Chief of Staff Ramil Nadyrov met Lt. Gen. Albert Druzhinin, the Russian Defense Ministry’s chief of office, discussed terms for the establishment of a 37-acre base outside of the Tajik capital for Russia¹s 201st Motor-Rifle Division. A treaty providing for the base was signed in 1999, but ongoing wrangling over its terms has delayed its implementation. Talks on the transfer of border patrol responsibilities have proven more problematic. During discussions February 16-20 with Russian officials, Tajik military officials sent mixed signals. Lt. Gen. Abdurrahmon Azimov, chairman of the Border Protection Committee, stated that Tajikistan is prepared to take over the defense of the country’s lengthy frontier with Afghanistan. At the same time, the Interfax news agency quoted Azimov as saying: "Russian border guards have always been, and will remain on the Tajik-Russian border." Tajikistan already holds responsibility for patrolling its border with China. Tajik soldiers make up about 80 percent of the 14,000-member Russian border guard contingent in the country. In Russia’s push to obtain a base commitment, some Tajik observers allege that the Kremlin has engaged in a deliberate disinformation campaign. Among the reports stirring controversy in Dushanbe was one circulated by various Russian media outlets that Rahmonov was demanding that Russia write off Tajikistan’s $400 million debt in return for the military base. A more recent story in Noviye Izvestia charged State Border Defense Committee Chief of Staff Nuralisho Nazarov with involvement in the booming opiate trade between Tajikistan and neighboring Afghanistan. Another report, published by Nezavisimaya Gazeta, stated that the United States had offered Tajikistan $1 billion in aid if it would refuse Russia a permanent military base. Tajik officials have denied all these claims. The Tajik press has responded in kind. In recent months Tajik media has given extensive coverage to alleged mistreatment and discrimination against Tajik migrant workers in Russia. A recent article in the independent weekly Ruzi Nav characterized Russia’s extradition of illegal Tajik workers as a "genocide of the Tajik nation." Russian Ambassador Maksim Peshkov has demanded an official apology. A source close to Rahmonov told EurasiaNet that an ongoing war of words in the Russian and Tajik press had considerably soured relations between Moscow and Dushanbe. "There has never been such tension in Tajik-Russian relations before," the source said. For Moscow, much is riding on the Tajik base issue, as Russia is increasingly wary of the recent growth of US influence in Central Asia. Tajikistan is among the countries that has dramatically expanded security cooperation with Washington since the September 11 terrorist tragedy. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive]. Russia is keen to reverse the current trend, and sees the Tajik base as an important instrument for doing so. Speculation in the Tajik media has mounted about the future of Tajik-US strategic ties. Much of the speculation has centered on reports of American offers to rebuild Tajik airfields, as well as the construction of a US-built, $12- million bridge linking Afghanistan and Tajikistan. Official US military aid to Tajikistan in 2003 accounted for $1.1 million out of a total aid budget of $43 million. At a March 3 press conference, US Ambassador to Tajikistan Richard Hoagland downplayed the Russian-American competition for regional influence. He added that the possible establishment of a Russian base in Tajikistan would not affect relations between Washington and Moscow. "Tajikistan, as any other independent nation, has a right to decide what is in its national interests independently," the Russian Itar-Tass news agency quoted Hoagland as saying. Editor’s Note: Zafar Abdullayev is a Tajikistani journalist.

Fall River Herald News, MA, USA 8 Mar 2004 www.heraldnews.com Local judge finds pain and reward in East Timor LURDES C. DA SILVA 03/08/2004 DILI, East Timor -- Judge Phillip Rapoza says whatever difficulties he might experience living half a world away from his native Massachusetts, in a country debilitated by decades of brutal forced annexation and genocide, pale in comparison to the problems of the East Timorese people. Last November, the United Nations appointed the Massachusetts Appeals Court justice to serve as a judge on the Special Panel for Serious Crimes in East Timor, a former Portuguese colony for many years torn apart by Indonesian occupation forces. The panel, which is similar to international war crimes tribunals, was formed to deal with war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity, murder and torture during a campaign of terror by those opposed to East Timor’s independence. "There are some days when being away from family and friends is difficult, but the solution is to immerse yourself in the job you came to do and to give it your all for the time you are here," Rapoza said in an e-mail interview. In order to understand the "realidade Timorense," or East Timorese reality, the judge said one must realize that one-third of the population of 800,000 disappeared, fled or was killed in the years leading up to the independence in August 2002, when the country became the world’s newest nation. "Every family lost someone in the rampage of violence that pervaded the island," he said. "Behind every family there is a story. And that story is a tragedy." Just the other day he spoke with a man who lost 45 members of his family to murder or execution at the hands of those opposing independence for East Timor. "One cannot help wondering how the survivors of such carnage have found the strength to carry on," he said. The New Bedford native said life on the other side of the planet can be complicated. "There are elements that are very familiar, such as the prevalence of the Portuguese language," he explained. "On the other hand, there are aspects of life here that take some adjustment, such as the equatorial climate. There are basically two seasons in Dili: hot and dry, and hot and wet. But it is always hot. Temperatures over 100 are routine. The higher elevations and the inland mountain areas are much cooler and nighttime temperatures can approach freezing at certain elevations." Due to a number of health issues, there are precautions he must take. "Malaria is very common and I take a daily medication to prevent infection, which is transmitted by mosquitoes," he said. "Mosquitoes carry other illnesses as well, such as dengue fever, which has killed over 100 people in neighboring Indonesia within the last several weeks." He describes the East Timor capital of Dili as a city that has suffered greatly. "Everywhere you see the crumbling remains of buildings gutted by fire during the fighting at the time of the 1999 referendum on independence," he said. "Commercial buildings, residences, schools and even the former courthouse now lie in ruins. They bear silent witness to the rampage of violence that the Timorese people experienced." In his opinion, the city is relatively safe, although there is a certain amount of petty property crime, which is not surprising in an area where there is extensive poverty. "Concerns have been expressed with respect to the anticipated withdrawal of most U.N. police and peacekeeping forces at the end of May 2004," he said, adding that from that point on public safety will entirely be in the hands of the recently trained national police force. Rapoza stated there have been an increased number of incidents in the region bordering Indonesia. "Anti-government militia have made several raids in the area and efforts to intimidate the local population have increased," he said. "Consequently, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan has requested that 310 mobile U.N. peacekeeping troops be maintained in East Timor after the general withdrawal of such forces in May." Despite the devastation and violence experienced by the East Timorese in 1999, the judge said there is a tremendous energy in the country. "There is a strong desire fostered by leaders, such as President Xanana Gusmao, to move beyond the horrors of the past and to plan for the future while building a better society," he said. To serve on the Special Panel, Rapoza requested a one-year unpaid leave of absence from his state court duties, as permitted under state law. He currently serves with other judges from Germany, Italy, Brazil, Burundi, Cape Verde and East Timor. The judicial system created by the U.N. does not use a jury; instead, a three-judge panel hears the evidence and serves as a jury. "The cases we hear involve extremely serious allegations and the most tragic examples of man’s inhumanity to man: mass killings, torture, shootings, mutilations, beheadings and beatings," he said. "The work of the court is both challenging and extremely rewarding." Rapoza, a Dartmouth resident, was first appointed to the Massachusetts bench in 1992, and he is fluent in Portuguese. He has extensive experience in the legal procedures of the Portuguese-speaking world, including Portugal, Mozambique and Cape Verde. The editor of the bilingual "Guide to Criminal Law and Your Legal Rights," he also authored the "Legally Speaking" column that appeared in O Jornal for several years. The Yale University graduate is also the grandson of immigrants from Santa Cruz and Água de Pau, in Lagoa, Sao Miguel, Azores. In 2002, President Jorge Sampaio of Portugal bestowed on him Portugal’s highest civilian award, naming him a Comendador, or Commander in the Order of Prince Henry the Navigator. According to Rapoza, the Southeast Asian country still faces great challenges -- problems that he says it will continue to struggle with long after he is gone. "East Timor is new in another sense as well," said Rapoza. "So many of the older generation died or were forced to flee, that East Timor is now a relatively young country. This fact is emphasized by an average life expectancy of only 50 and the fact that a staggering 25 percent of the population is under the age of 12." Crucial to the country’s future, he said, will be its ability to provide both education and opportunity to its people. "Illiteracy is at 60 percent and unemployment exceeds 50 percent of the adult population," he added. "Many of those who are employed remain significantly below the poverty line. They can be seen selling firewood on the side of the road or selling coconuts along the seashore. Ensuring East Timor’s economic development is crucial to the country’s future." There is a reconciliation process going on nationwide, he added. "Working along the lines of a similar initiative in South Africa, the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation conducts public sessions in localities throughout the country in which victims are encouraged to describe their experiences and to vent their sorrow," he said. "Those who served in the pro-Indonesian militias who seek re-entry into their local community are expected to show remorse and to accept responsibility for their actions before their assembled neighbors. Low-level offenders are provided amnesty and receive acceptance by the community. More serious perpetrators must still go through the judicial process and the courts." He portrays East Timorese people as humble and caring. "It is hard to imagine the impact on survivors of the violence and devastation that they suffered," he said. "Only the natural kindness and the strong religious faith of the people of East Timor can explain the many smiles that you see all around you, in this country that has produced so many tears."


ICG 11 Mar 2004 Asia Report N°76 : The Failure of Reform in Uzbekistan: Ways Forward for the International Community International engagement with Uzbekistan's regime has resulted in continuation of extensive human rights abuses and encouraged economic decline. There has been no real progress towards meeting either EBRD reform benchmarks or the commitments to political and economic liberalisation in bilateral agreements with the U.S. and EU. Torture remains systemic, and the corrupt, non-transparent economy continues to be controlled by an elite while 80 per cent of the population live in poverty. The regime has been given too free a ride because it is seen as a partner against terrorism and Islamist extremism but engagement must become more critical and investment increased to civil society in order to stem long-term damage to Western credibility in this predominantly Muslim region. ICG reports and briefing papers are available on our website: www.crisisweb.org



AP 8 Mar 2004 Far-Right Austrian Is Victor in His Province By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS IENNA, March 7 — Jörg Haider, the far-right political leader, brought his party an unanticipated victory in his home province Sunday, increasing the odds for a national comeback. Most analysts had predicted a loss for his Freedom Party after a string of defeats elsewhere over the past two years. In recent polls, it was more than 10 percentage points behind the Socialists. In final results, the Freedom Party had 42.4 percent of the vote, and the Socialists 38 percent. Beyond assuring Mr. Haider's reappointment as governor in the province, the victory increased chances that he would be able to revitalize his party. Many blame Mr. Haider for the party's national demise. He has been notorious for past remarks that sounded sympathetic to the Nazis and contemptuous of Jews, a visit with Saddam Hussein on the eve of the Iraq war and a friendship with Libya's leader, Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi. Such tactics have scored points in the past, when Mr. Haider and his party exploited disillusionment with more established political rivals. His party became part of the national government in 2000, but he stepped down as party leader in 2000 to ease the diplomatic pressure on Austria. His subsequent attempt to run things from the sidelines provoked early elections in 2002, alienating huge numbers of supporters.

BBC 8 Mar 2004 Haider's enduring appeal By Clare Murphy BBC News Online Austrian pollsters are scratching their heads. Joerg Haider, the charismatic nationalist associated with controversial causes like Saddam Hussein and Nazi employment policy, was meant to have slipped from power in local elections at the weekend as part of the general plummet in popularity of his far-right Freedom Party. Haider's charm and populism remain a winning formula But he looks likely to hang on to his job as governor of the southern Austrian province of Carinthia. He managed not just to maintain the share of the vote he won in 1999, when Carinthians last held regional elections, but even to marginally increase his party's standing. Five years ago, that poll success was followed by an upsurge in popularity for his anti-immigrant, anti-Europe Freedom Party around the country, climaxing with its inclusion in the national government. This prompted the European Union to take the unprecedented step of imposing diplomatic sanctions on a member state. The party's star has subsequently faded. But as Sunday's vote makes clear, the perma-tanned politician's combination of populism, charm and high-necked shirts remains a winning formula - fuelling speculation that the party which once prompted European uproar could be set for a comeback. Different tune At one level, Mr Haider appears to have changed his electoral tune. The anti-immigration slogans, the inflammatory remarks about Nazis and prominent Jews played no part in this election campaign, which focused on staples such as pensions and jobs, tourism and taxes. Indeed the man whose party once used posters in an election campaign warning of Ueberfremdung - a word last used by the Nazis to describe the country being ''overrun with foreigners" - has been busy trying to strike a deal with Carinthian minority groups which would see their language and identity protected. Analysts, however, do not see his latest manoeuvres as inconsistent. At the heart of Mr Haider's successes over the years, they say, is an innate sense of the issues which touch the working classes and a canny ability to play at being both establishment and anti-establishment. Haider's claim on the leadership is beyond question Michael Voelker Der Standard Observers have noted with varying degrees of admiration how Mr Haider has skilfully claimed credit for popular initiatives like tax cuts proposed by conservative Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel's government, in which Mr Haider's Freedom Party serves as a junior partner. At the same time he has successfully distanced himself from widely hated reforms of the pension system - and indeed used the unpopularity of the measures to his own advantage. "This 42% who voted for Haider - they aren't all right wingers. They are people who feel let down by the federal government, and are unhappy with the reform of the social security system," says political analyst Josef Haslinger. Polling organisations are explaining the inconsistency between their predicted Social Democrat victory and Mr Haider's triumph by reference to an increasing number of what they describe as "last-minute voters". Mr Haider may have lost many voters over the years, but he has made up for these losses by poaching other peoples'. In this election, according to the Sora Institute, some 24,000 voters crossed from Chancellor Schuessel's conservative People's Party to cast their ballot for the Freedom Party. "Haider has always been able to gather protest voters," says Mr Haslinger. "When he speaks to the workers, he speaks like a Social Democrat, but he can also speak very conservatively, and maintain this nationalist touch. Above all, he is a political opportunist." Regional sway What Mr Haider's Carinthian successes will mean for the party at large is as yet unclear. Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel may be relieved that Mr Haider - whose interference brought down the government in 2002 - will remain busy in his southern stronghold, and unable to meddle much in federal affairs. However, some observers warn Mr Schuessel against premature celebration, cautioning that Sunday's showing will have strengthened the hand of Mr Haider, who handed over the party leadership in 2000 in a bid to abate international hostility to his party's presence in government. "Haider will stay in Carinthia - but he will once again take over the reins of the party," says Michael Voelker, a columnist at the Austrian daily Der Standard. "His claim on the leadership is beyond question - none of the Freedomites can really contest it, least of all the lightweight cabinet members in Vienna." Even if Mr Haider does not succeed in reviving the Freedom Party's flagging fortunes - to many observers he has already left a lasting legacy. The Freedom Party was at the cutting edge of a rise of the right across Europe. Despite their electoral successes, few of these parties have been able to maintain prolonged periods in government, if they have entered office at all. But whether within government or kept far from it, they have frequently seen their policies absorbed by the mainstream, ruling parties, anxious to stave off what they see as the threat of the far-right. .


BBC 4 March, 2004 Nato arrests former Karadzic aide Nato has been trying to capture Mr Karadzic for years Nato peacekeepers in Bosnia have detained a close aide of former Bosnian Serb leader and indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic. General Bogdan Subotic was arrested at his home in Bosnia on Wednesday, a statement from the Nato-led peacekeeping force, S-For, said. He is suspected of providing assistance to Mr Karadzic, wanted by The Hague on charges of genocide in the Bosnia war. He is being questioned at an unknown location, S-For officials said. Two men suspected of aiding Mr Karadzic were held in January but then released. The arrests form part of increased efforts by Nato to hunt down Mr Karadzic and his supporters, including his former army chief, Ratko Mladic. "This is part of S-For's continued assistance to the Bosnian authorities in the apprehension of persons indicted for war crimes and their supporters," the statement said. "We will continue to act on the information gathered over the last few weeks as it brings us closer to the breaking of the support network and ultimately to the apprehension of the persons indicted themselves." General Subotic briefly held the post of Bosnian Serb defence minister during Bosnia's 1992-95 war.

www.errc.org 4 Mar 2004 For Immediate Release: Contact: Claude Cahn, ERRC: (+36) 20 98 36 445 Miriam Anati, EUMAP: (+36) 30 2748533 ERRC and EUMAP Welcome UN Findings on Discrimination against Sinti and Roma Women in Germany Budapest and New York, 1 March 2004 - The European Roma Rights Center (ERRC) and the EU Monitoring and Advocacy Program (EUMAP) welcome the Concluding Observations of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women expressing concern at the treatment of Sinti and Roma women in Germany. The Committee, in its regular review of Germany's compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), concluded that Sinti and Roma women in Germany "suffer from multiple forms of discrimination based on sex, ethnic or religious background and race." An ERRC/EUMAP shadow report, submitted to CEDAW in the run-up to the Committee's review, outlined Germany's failure to provide legal protection for Sinti and Roma women, who often face both gender and ethnic discrimination. The report argued that many Sinti and Roma women and girls in Germany are excluded from a range of protections guaranteed by the Convention, notably in the areas of education, employment, health and participation in public and political life. "In every area of life Sinti and Roma women bear a double burden of discrimination, as women and as a minority," said EUMAP's researcher Alphia Abdikeeva. The ERRC/EUMAP report noted that since little information existed on Sinti and Roma women and girls living in Germany, there was no basis for the German government to create policies that address the discrimination they experience. In its Concluding Observations, the Committee similarly criticised Germany for its lack of data on migrant and minority women, including Sinti or Roma women. The Committee urged Germany to "eliminate discrimination against migrant and minority women, both in society at large and within their communities, and to respect and promote their human rights, through effective and proactive measures, including awareness- raising programmes." It recommended that Germany continue to conduct research on issues of discrimination, as well as trafficking and sexual exploitation. "We welcome the Committee's attention to these matters and look forward to the German government's next actions in the field of Romani women's rights," said Dimitrina Petrova, Executive Director of the ERRC. The Concluding Observations of the Committee on Germany's compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women are available at: http://www.ohchr.org/tbru/cedaw/Germany.pdf The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) is an international public interest law organisation based in Budapest, Hungary, which monitors the human rights situation of Roma and provides legal defence in cases of human rights abuse. The ERRC has monitored the human rights situation of Roma in Germany since first opening offices in 1996, and has been involved in litigation in a number of cases involving Roma rights in Germany. Further information on the European Roma Rights Center is available on the web at www.errc.org. The EU Monitoring and Advocacy Program (EUMAP), formerly the EU Accession Monitoring Program, monitors human rights and rule of law issues in Europe. A program of the Open Society Institute (OSI) in Budapest, EUMAP has published a series of reports on Minority Protection, including a comprehensive report on the situation of Sinti and Roma in Germany. EUMAP reports on Minority Protection and on other topics may be accessed on the web at www.eumap.org

AFP 9 Mar 2004 NATO releases ex-Bosnian Serb general detained over links to Karadzic SARAJEVO (AFP) Mar 09, 2004 NATO-led peacekeepers have released a former Bosnian Serb general arrested on suspicion of helping top war crimes fugitives including Radovan Karadzic evade capture, the peacekeepers said Tuesday. Bogdan Subotic, arrested last week in the Bosnian-Serb half of Bosnia, was released and escorted to his home late Monday, NATO-led Stabilisation Force (SFOR) said in a statement. "SFOR will continue to investigate Subotic's possible links to (the war crimes suspects') support network," it added. He was suspected of forming part of an underground network of powerful Serbs who protect Karadzic, the former Bosnian Serb political leader who is wanted for genocide by the UN tribunal at The Hague. Subotic briefly held the post of Bosnian Serb defence minister during Bosnia's 1992-95 war. He was the third Bosnian Serb arrested and questioned by SFOR this year over alledged links to war crimes suspects. "SFOR's investigations this year have resulted in important intelligence that will be used in the continued search for persons indicted for war crimes and their support network," the statement said. SFOR and the international community have stepped up theikr efforts to track down fugitive war crimes suspects over the past eight months, particularly Karadzic and his military commander Ratko Mladic. The NATO peacekeepers are preparing to hand over their responsibilities to a European Union military force by the end of this year. In January two former Bosnian Serb special police members, also suspected members of the indictees' support network, were arrested when NATO raided Karadzic's wartime stronghold of Pale. The European Union and the United States last month imposed financial and travel sanctions against a number of Bosnians suspected of protecting Karadzic. Subotic's assets were frozen last year on the order of international High Representative Paddy Ashdown, the overseer of the 1995 Dayton peace accords.

AdvocacyNet News Bulletin - Number 14, March 24, 2004 NEWS FROM THE ADVOCACY PROJECT SREBRENICA WEAVERS BRING A MESSAGE OF HOPE TO WASHINGTON Washington DC, March 24, 2004: Survivors from the notorious 1995 massacre at Srebrenica, Bosnia, are using hand-woven carpets (kilims) to bring their message of hard work and reconciliation to Washington. A public exhibition of carpets from Srebrenica will be hosted on April 1, 2004 in Washington by the Advocacy Project (AP), a Washington-based non-profit that employs graduate students from Georgetown and works with civil society in Srebrenica. The carpets were woven by members of Bosfam, an organization of women who were widowed or displaced during Bosnia's three-year war (1992-1995). Many of the weavers lost male relatives after the town of Srebrenica fell to the Bosnian Serb Army on July 11, 1995. Women, old people and children were bussed across the lines to the town of Tuzla. Over 7,000 men and boys over the age of 15 were slaughtered. Srebrenica itself has been largely shunned by aid agencies, and remains physically and spiritually desolate. According to the United Nations, only 2,300 Muslims have returned, out of the town's pre-war Muslim population of 28,000. Most of the massacre survivors live in refugee shelters in Tuzla, traumatized and impoverished. Bosfam is one of the very few organizations that offers them real support. Since it was founded, in 1994, Bosfam has trained hundreds of women to weave kilims, sweaters, knitted wool socks and even fashionable dresses. In addition, the organization seeks to promote ethnic reconciliation by opening its doors - and its looms - to both Serb and Croat women who also suffered during the war. As well as offering an opportunity to work, the Bosfam center provides members with psychological support. In the words of Beba Hadzic, the founder of Bosfam, many of the Srebrenica survivors live in a state of "permanent desperation" because they do not know the fate of their lost relatives. For most, the uncertainty may never end. After eight years, only 1,252 victims from the massacre have been identified and buried, according to a spokesperson from the International Commission on Missing Persons, a body that was set up by the 1996 G-7 Summit at the urging of former US President Bill Clinton. The Commission has 3,600 body bags still in storage, each bearing human remains, and it could be years before they are identified - even though the use of DNA has speeded up identification. Mass graves are still being uncovered in Eastern Bosnia. Making matters worse, the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague has only indicted 13 persons in connection with Srebrenica, of whom only six have been arrested and charged. The architect of the massacre, the former Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic, remains at large. Some known killers have even been spotted in Srebrenica itself - further discouraging the return of refugees. Bosfam has now extended its weaving project to Srebrenica, where 45 women are now at work. The first carpet was produced in March by Hajra Djozic, a former refugee who lost a brother in the massacre. The hope is that the Bosfam center will not only help the town's devastated economy but also attract back more refugees. Twenty kilims will be displayed in Washington. All were individually woven, and bear the name of their weaver. As well as rich in color, they also use traditional Bosnian patterns that have been handed down from mother to daughter. The largest kilims, which measure nine square meters, can take up to three months to weave. Weaving provides the only source of income for many Bosfam members. The April 1 exhibition will promote Bosfam's inspiring message of reconciliation and take orders for carpets. Any profits will go to Bosfam's weaving centers in Tuzla and Srebrenica. A short film about Bosfam - shot and edited by Georgetown students - will also be shown. The Advocacy Project has supported Bosfam for two years. During 2003, AP helped Bosfam design a website, and raised over $4,000 for Bosfam's weavers. AP will be sending a graduate student from Georgetown's Business School, Pia Schneider, to work with Bosfam this summer. Pia will help Bosfam to prepare a business plan and market carpets on its own. * Location: The Chastleton Ballroom, 1701 16th St. NW, Washington D.C. 20009. Date: April 1, 2004. Time: 6 p.m. - 10 p.m (refreshments). Film presentation: 7 p.m. For further information contact Evelina: 202 468-6474, or 202 332 3900. * To read about civil society's role in the rebuilding of Srebrenica visit http://www.advocacynet.org/cpage_view/srebrenica_01aintro_18_85.html


b92.net National send-off for Croat Hague defendants | 12:18 | Beta ZAGREB -- Thursday – Retired Croat army officers Ivan Cermak and Mladen Markac left for Amsterdam this morning at about 8.30 a.m. They were to be met by Dutch police and transferred to the Hague Tribunal’s detention unit. They will be required to plead tomorrow on charges of crimes against humanity and violation of the rules and customs of war. Croat news agency Hina reports that Cermak and Markac were farewelled from Zagreb airport by hundreds of people including plainclothes police from the state’s special units. The farewell included the playing of the Croatian national anthem and military salutes.

Reuters 11 Mar 2004Indicted Croatian generals arrive in The HagueBy Paul Gallagher THE HAGUE, March 11 (Reuters) - Two retired Croatian generals flew to the Netherlands on Thursday to face ethnic cleansing charges at The Hague war crimes tribunal, in the first concrete sign of the new government's compliance with the court. The Croatian government has expressed concerns about the men's indictment but cooperation with the tribunal is vital for advancing Croatia's European Union membership bid. Mladen Markac and Ivan Cermak voluntarily boarded a scheduled flight in Zagreb for Amsterdam to face charges linked to a 1995 offensive that drove Serb rebels from the southern Croatian region of Krajina. The accused, facing seven counts of crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war, are expected to appear in the U.N. court on Friday to enter pleas to charges, including murder and wanton destruction of towns or villages. The Croatian army launched its "Operation Storm" offensive to recapture the Krajina region in August 1995 at the tail end of Croatia's 1991-95 war of independence against Serb rebels backed by the Yugoslav army. The operation prompted some 200,000 Serbs to flee their homes in Krajina, the largest exodus of the 1991-95 wars in the Balkans. Some 200 war veterans and friends gave the generals an emotional send-off at Zagreb airport, culminating in a rendition of the national anthem before the pair boarded the plane for their flight to the Netherlands. "They are in the detention unit now and will be undergoing the usual check-in procedures," tribunal spokesman Jim Landale said after Markac and Cermak arrived in The Hague. According to the indictment, Cermak and Markac participated in a "joint criminal enterprise" with the late President Franjo Tudjman, with the aim of driving the ethnic Serb population from Krajina in 1995. "Ivan Cermak and Mladen Markac had the power, authority and responsibility to prevent or punish serious violations of international humanitarian law committed by Croatian forces during and after Operation Storm," the indictment said. Cermak, 54, a wealthy oil businessman, ran the former rebel stronghold of Knin after its capture. Markac, 48, commanded special police units that took part in the offensive and later combed the area. Prime Minister Ivo Sanader, whose government is under pressure to cooperate fully with the tribunal or face damaging delays in getting EU candidate status and starting entry talks, said some parts of the indictments were unacceptable "and we are looking for the most effective way to dispute those in court". He did not elaborate but said some parts of the indictments distorted the nature of Croatia's 1991-95 war of independence. President Stjepan Mesic said he was willing to testify on Cermak's behalf, saying Cermak had been in charge of restoring civilian life in Knin and its surrounding area and had no control over military activities. Mesic visited the area as an opposition politician at the time. Croatia also received an indictment for General Ante Gotovina, who was first indicted in 2001 and went underground. Croatia's bid to join the EU, submitted last February, is heavily dependent on its ability to prove it is making every effort to locate and arrest the fugitive general. (Additional reporting by Nikola Solic in Zagreb.

AFP 17 March 2004 Sanader condemns 'Croatia's Auschwitz' ZAGREB : In a significant gesture, Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader condemned his country's World War II atrocities and paid tribute to the victims of the notorious Jasenovac concentration camp. The leader of a reformed nationalist party, the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), said Croatia had to face up to the crimes of the pro-Nazi regime which ruled the Balkan republic during the war. He was speaking during a visit to the site of the Jasenovac camp, 100 kilometers (60 miles) southeast of Zagreb, where a ceremony was held to mark the end of restoration works on a memorial to the victims of Croatia's fascist WWII regime. "No goal, political or any other, could justify crimes. That is a principle defended in modern Europe, and Croatia, on the path of integration, is also part of that," Sanader told state television. "I condemn all forms of extremism and racial, ethnic or religious hatred as well as intolerance." Jasenovac, set up in 1941 by the Ustasha regime of Nazi sympathisers, was the most notorious concentration camp in Croatia. The Wiesenthal Centre estimates that some 600,000 people -- Serbs, Jews, gypsies and anti-fascists -- were murdered in the camp, while the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum puts the figure at up to 100,000. The camp is still a cause of intense bitterness between Croatia, where some historians claim only 50,000 people were killed there, and neighbouring Serbia, which puts the toll at around 750,000. Croatia and Serbia established diplomatic relations in 1996 at the end of Croatia's 1991-1995 war of independence from the former Yugoslav federation. Sanader warned against manipulations with number of victims on both sides, encouraging independent historians to conduct inquiries into the matter. "Lies of 700,000 Jasenovac victims and thesis about the genocidal nature of Croatians served as the basis for aggressive policy of carving up Greater Serbia," Sanader said. His words were echoed by Jasenovac memorial council head, historian Slavko Goldstein. "The tragedy of Jasenovac is of two sorts -- it concerns suffering of its victims and manipulations with their number. We cannot get over Jasenovac tragedy without the truth," he stressed. "As a result of the blowing up the number of victims the Serb population was 'infected' with wrong assumptions and became an easy prey to criminal political propaganda," of then Yugoslav strongman Slobodan Milosevic, he added. Milosevic is on trial at the UN war crimes court in The Hague facing several charges, including genocide, for the 1990s wars in former Yugoslavia which claimed more than 250,000 lives. Serb rebels backed by Belgrade fought against Croatian forces during the independence war, partly out of fear of the nationalist HDZ-led government of then-president Franjo Tudjman. Israel accused Tudjman of failing to adequately denounce the mass murders committed by the Ustasha and many Serbs saw his policies as a dangerous return to the past. But ties between Zagreb and Belgrade have improved since Tudjman's death in 1999 and Sanader, who brought the HDZ back into power in elections last November, has been eager to show that the party has shed its nationalist skin. His reforms designed to bring the HDZ into the mainstream of European conservatism are seen as necessary for Croatia's progress into the European Union, which the country hopes to join by 2007. [ See public.srce.hr/sakic/jasenovac/ ]


BBC 7 Mar 2004 French mosque fires draw protest Seynod's prayer room was devastated by fire About 250 people have held a protest rally in the south-eastern French town of Annecy after two local mosques were damaged in suspected arson attacks. One fire ravaged a mosque in the Alpine town itself while the other burned a prayer room in nearby Seynod. French President Jacques Chirac condemned the "odious acts". In Paris, the issue of the Islamic veil in schools resurfaced as thousands of feminists marched in support of the new state ban on religious symbols. Kamel Kabtane of the French Council of the Muslim Faith said in Annecy that the suspected cases of arson were "not an act of vandalism... [but] an attack" and complained that no senior French politician had joined the protest. The Paris march comes ahead of Women's Day on Monday "We are in a pre-electoral period and many politicians did not dare come, fearing perhaps a backlash from voters," Mr Kabtane said, presumably referring to regional polls later in March. The organisation's president, Dalil Boubakeur, warned the arson could "only worsen the sensitive religious climate" in France. The Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France also "strongly condemned" the attacks, expressing solidarity with the Muslim community. No group has said it started the fires, and police have made no comment about the investigation. No-one was injured in either blaze. Women's rights Many of France's estimated five million Muslims are outraged at a new law which will ban religious symbols such as the headscarf from schools from the start of the new school year in September, in line with France's secularist tradition. But in the French capital, about 7,000 feminists marched on Saturday in support of greater rights for women and in support of the ban on symbols. At the same time a group of about 30 women in Islamic veils demonstrated against the law during the march which was organised by women's groups, trade unions and leftist political parties. Prominent at the march were members of Ni Putes Ni Soumises (Neither Whores nor Slaves), a group which campaigns for the rights of women of North African origin in France which strongly opposes the headscarf. "It's years since I demonstrated but today I am here to support those Muslim women who do not have the same rights as us," one marcher, Jeanne Chevalier, told the AFP news agency. [ www.niputesnisoumises.com ]

WP 8 Mar 2004 Le Pen Sees His Cause Catching On French Far-Right Leader's Party Predicted to Fare Well in Regional Ballots By Keith B. Richburg Washington Post Foreign Service Monday, March 8, 2004; Page A12 PARIS -- Two years after he shocked the French political establishment with a second-place finish in the country's presidential election, the far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen is once again hoping to embarrass the elite and confound the pundits with a stronger-than-expected showing by his National Front party in regional elections later this month. "The National Front is going to reach 20 percent nationally," a beaming Le Pen predicted, in the sitting room of his palatial home in the suburban hills of Saint-Cloud, west of Paris. "Everybody is opposed to the National Front," he said. "Everybody is hostile. But despite that, we continue to grow." Pollsters and political analysts do not disagree, though most estimated the National Front's strength at around 15 or 16 percent of the vote. Analysts here are wary of making predictions, since the National Front in the past has demonstrated an ability to surprise; it usually makes its gains in the final weeks of campaigning, and voters who favor the far-right are often reluctant to identify themselves in opinion polls. Le Pen himself will not be on the ballot, the first round of which will be on March 21. He had sought to run for the governor's post in the southern region called Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, or PACA, but was disqualified because of a technicality. The far-right leader, however, is hoping to turn even his disqualification into electoral advantage, saying it shows how the elite so fears him that it is willing to use any means to block his political ascent. "I am a victim," he said in an interview. "I was prevented from presenting myself" as a candidate. After coming in second in the first round of the 2002 presidential race, Le Pen went on to a crushing defeat in the two-man runoff, as President Jacques Chirac became the consensus choice for voters across the political spectrum anxious to block Le Pen. There were massive anti-Le Pen demonstrations in most major cities, and unions, business groups and the news media urged a huge turnout to show that France rejected his anti-immigrant, extreme-right views. Chirac won the runoff with more than 80 percent of the vote. But in the past two years, the popularity of Chirac's government has tumbled. Initially buoyed by its opposition to the U.S.-led war against Iraq, the government led by Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin has been battling a sense of malaise. Unemployment has remained stubbornly high. The government was also widely blamed for failing to act quickly enough -- or even return from vacation -- when a devastating heat wave hit the country last summer, causing the deaths of thousands of elderly, weak and incapacitated people in government nursing homes, hospitals and apartments without air-conditioning. Then came the renewed whiff of corruption. In late January, former prime minister Alain Juppe, Chirac's longtime political protégé and the leader of the governing party in parliament, was convicted in a political fundraising scandal and barred from politics for 10 years. He continues to keep his party leadership job while he appeals the conviction. Raffarin has urged voters not to "nationalize" the upcoming regional elections and to instead focus on local concerns. But an opinion poll by the Ipsos group published this month in the newspaper Le Figaro found that 47 percent of surveyed voters said they would use the elections as an opportunity to express their opposition to Chirac's government. The regional governments were created in the 1980s by the government of President Francois Mitterrand as a bid to decentralize this country, where most authority still rests in Paris. The powers of the regional governments remain limited to oversight of infrastructure, tourism and the environment. But with presidential and national parliamentary elections now synchronized on a five-year cycle, the regional elections in 22 regions and four overseas territories -- along with upcoming elections for the European Parliament in June -- offer voters the only chance to voice their opinions at the ballot box before the next presidential vote due in 2007. Le Pen, for his part, is making the most of the two issues he sees as vote-winners: corruption among the ruling elite and immigration. He sees the latter as responsible for a host of ills, from rising crime to social tensions highlighted by last week's passage of a law banning Muslim girls' veils from public classrooms. Le Pen, in the interview, said he opposed the law -- which bans all "ostensible" religious symbols -- because it fails to address what he calls the core problem. "It's not a problem of the veil," he said. "It's a problem of immigration." "Immigration is out of control," Le Pen said. "We aren't managing the problem." The former paratrooper said he regularly meets with Frenchmen of North African descent who tell him, "It's crazy to let in everybody." Oddly, the immigration issue this year seems less of a concern even in the area where the National Front appears to be running the strongest, in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur region. Stephane Rozes of the CSA polling firm said immigration "is less important now -- it's falling back a little." According to his research, the economic situation, and particularly unemployment, is a more pressing concern for most voters, just behind crime, which ranks first in voters' minds. In the PACA region, the National Front appears set to win around 24 percent of the vote -- its best score anywhere in France -- with a smaller far-right party winning around 3 percent, according to a February CSA poll. Chirac's party was in the lead for the first round of voting with 32 percent, and the various left parties -- Socialists, Greens and Communists -- close behind at 27 percent. Le Pen has managed to play the role of anti-government critic so well here that many analysts believe he never wanted to be on the ballot for the regional governorship -- that he was, in fact, happy to be excluded. Now, without actually having to immerse himself in the mundane chores of running a region, he can set his sights on another run for the presidency in 2007. Le Pen, who is 75 and appeared as robust as ever, said in the interview he has every intention of running again for president, "with God's help, and as long as I am healthy enough to campaign."

AFP 9 Mar 2004 Kagame triggered Rwanda genocide: French probe PARIS, March 9 (AFP) - A French police inquiry blames Rwandan President Paul Kagame for the 1994 rocket attack that killed his predecessor and triggered genocide, Le Monde newspaper reported Tuesday, but Rwanda swiftly dismissed it. The report - released by the anti-terrorist division of the judicial police - found that Kagame, who was head of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) rebel movement, gave orders for the two missiles to be fired at Juvenal Habyarimana's plane as it came in to land at Kigali airport on April 6, the French daily said. In Rwanda, RPF spokesman Servilien Sebasoni told AFP that the document "brings no new element, no new proof to back up accusations which date back at least until March 1998." Sebasoni said "every year since 1998, it's been announced that the report will come out towards April 7 on the anniversary of the commemoration of the genocide, and it's curious that it comes out before President Kagame goes to Belgium." Kagame is due Wednesday to pay a visit to the former colonial power.On April 7, 1994, the late Habyarimana's majority Hutu army and extremist militias began the massacres of up to a million Tutsis and moderate Hutus opposed to the massacres that lasted till July 17. The police findings, handed over to France's leading anti-terrorist judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere, were based on interviews with hundreds of witnesses, including one member of the cell ordered by Kagame to carry out the attack, Le Monde said. Kagame, who eventually became president after the RPF seized Kigali and ended the massacres, has several times said he did not take seriously an investigation by a French anti-terrorist judge "who has never set foot in Rwanda". Bruguiere has been investigating the Habyarimana plane crash for the last six years, after the families of French victims who died in it filed a suit in Paris. According to Le Monde, the case is fraught with diplomatic complications because when Bruguiere presents his conclusions to the prosecutor's office it could lead quickly to international arrest warrants for senior members of Kagame's entourage. Kagame would himself be protected by his presidential immunity. The police report quoted the member of the assassination cell as saying that Kagame - a Tutsi who had fled Rwanda - had little regard for Tutsis who had stayed behind, who he thought had assimilated too closely with their Hutu masters. "The Tutsis of the interior were potential enemies who had to be eliminated just like the Hutus in order to take power, which was Kagame's essential aim," the man was quoted as saying. Relations between Paris and Kigali have been tense for many years as a result of accusations that France - Habyarimana's main backer - connived in the genocide. Sebasoni said the timing of the report is due to "animosity between French officialdom and Rwanda". Le Monde reported that France has helped opponents of Kagame to escape from the country, and that the authorities in Kigali have "physically eliminated several of Bruguiere's informers."

Reuters 11 Mar 2004 Rwanda slams French report on 1994 assassinations KIGALI, March 11 (Reuters) - Rwanda denounced on Thursday a French report accusing President Paul Kagame of launching the 1994 rocket attack that downed then-president Juvenal Habyarimana's plane, triggering the country's genocide. Le Monde newspaper reported this week that a French investigation had concluded Kagame gave direct orders for the attack on April 6, 1994, that killed Habyarimana and Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira, who was also on board the plane near Kigali airport. The assassinations plunged central Africa into a decade of war, an upheaval that is only now slowly abating. Rwandan officials could not be reached for comment, but state-run Radio Rwanda announced on Thursday that the "unfounded allegations" by French police and media were "fantasy reports". "The government of Rwanda is extremely indignant at the unfounded allegations published by the newspaper Le Monde...," the radio reported. The newspaper reports were based on a six-year inquiry by French Judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere, who was asked to investigate the crash by relatives of the plane's French crew. The findings have not been released officially, but Le Monde's report appears to have been based on a leaked copy. Kagame headed the rebel Rwandan Patriotic Army, a Tutsi-led force that in 1994 ousted the then government, a French-backed Hutu regime that had carefully planned and then carried out the slaughter of some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus. Relations between France and Rwanda's Tutsi-led government have been strained ever since. "This Judge Bruguiere reappears on the eve of every commemoration of the genocide. Could it be that he is at the service of those very people who would not like to see their responsibility exposed?" said Radio Rwanda. No official inquiry has ever been made into events surrounding the shooting down of Habyarimana's plane, only deepening the mystery of who is responsible. "If Judge Bruguiere wants to know the author of the attack on President Habyarimana's plane, let him have the courage to (visit) the scene of the attack and question witnesses who were actually there," Radio Rwanda said. "

Guardian UK 12 Mar 2004 Kagame set genocide in motion, Paris judge says Rory Carroll in Johannesburg Friday March 12, 2004 The Guardian The destruction of the plane carrying President Juvénal Habyarimana - the incident which began the Rwandan genocide - is blamed by a French investigating magistrate on the Tutsi rebel leader, now president, Paul Kagame, according to the newspaper Le Monde. The magistrate has concluded that Mr Kagame gave direct orders to fire two rockets at the plane on April 6 1994, the paper says. It is a grave allegation, because within hours of the plane being brought down on its approach to the Rwandan capital, Kigali, Hutu soldiers and militias began 100 days of slaughter in which an estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus died. At a press conference in Belgium, where he is making a three-day official visit, Mr Kagame denied that he or his former rebel force, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), were responsible. "I keep repeating myself," he said. The RPF and myself have nothing to do with this. That information has no credibility." A Rwandan government spokesman scorned the accusation as a rehashed rumour designed to smear Mr Kagame and justify France's involvement in Rwanda before and during the genocide. There is no agreement on who shot down the plane but many believe it was the work of Hutu extremists who wanted rid of Habyarimana, himself a Hutu, so they could begin the slaughter they had carefully planned. In 1998 a judge of the anti-terrorist division in Paris, Jean-Louis Bruguière, began an inquiry into the death of the plane's pilot, on an application from one of his relatives. His findings have not been officially released but Le Monde reported that it had a leaked copy of the 220-page final report, dated June 30, and that it named Mr Kagame as the person who gave the "go ahead" for shooting down the plane. Before the genocide he commanded a Tutsi rebel force which had occupied northern Rwanda and was engaged in power-sharing talks with the Hutu government. The theory is that Mr Kagame wanted to provoke the slaughter which he knew had been planned by Hutu extremists because this would justify his rebels taking over the country. Since ousting the Hutu regime Mr Kagame has kept a tight grip on power and made little visible attempt to investigate the shooting down of the plane. One of Habyarimana's sons, Léon, told Le Monde that he suspected Mr Kagame's rebels were responsible. "We were always convinced it was the RPF that organised the attack. Our biggest wish is that this investigation leads to a trial and that those responsible be judged according to the law." In Kigali the state-run Radio Rwanda denounced the French report as fantasy. "The government of Rwanda is extremely indignant at the unfounded allegations. This Judge Bruguière reappears on the eve of every commemoration of the genocide. "Could it be that he is at the service of those very people who would not like to see their responsibility exposed?" Mr Kagame said the report was the result of a "ridiculous cocktail" of Rwandan dissidents and French authorities. Ever since French troops effectively blocked a Tutsi rebel offensive which might have toppled the Hutu regime before the genocide, relations between Mr Kagame and Paris have been icy, prompting the suspicion that the judge's report is part of a campaign to smear the president. A recently published book by General Roméo Dallaire, the Canadian who commanded the UN peacekeeping force in Rwanda in April 1994, seemed to support the case that Hutu extremists fired the rocket at Habyarimana's plane. The junta that took control immediately afterwards, he wrote, ordered the presidential guard to seal off the crash site and allowed no independent inspection. Several senior members of the junta smirked when told that some of the wreckage had landed in Habyarimana's garden. Britain and the US are major donors to Rwanda which relies on foreign aid for more than half its budget. By what appeared to be a coincidence of timing, the South African Press Association reported last night that the UN had received the black box flight recorder from the wrecked plane and would turn it over to outside investigators. No other details were available. "


NYT March 8, 2004 Greek Conservatives' Victory Ends Long Rule by Socialists By ANTHEE CARASSAVA THENS, March 7 — Conservatives swept to power in parliamentary elections on Sunday, ending more than a decade of Socialist rule as Greece grapples with preparations for the Athens Olympics and for negotiations with Turkey over the fate of Cyprus. George Papandreou conceded defeat for his Panhellenic Socialist Movement, also known as Pasok, as exit polls and early results gave a solid lead to the center-right New Democracy party. With more than 50 percent of the vote counted, New Democracy was winning about 47 percent, compared with Pasok's 41 percent. New Democracy's leader, Costas Caramanlis, 47, vowed to deliver "immediately" on his campaign pledges for social reforms. "This decision by the people is a great honor," he said. "It's also one of great duty." He also promised to rally all his resources to ensure that the Summer Games, beginning on Aug. 13, were "safe and successful." He appealed for the support of Mr. Papandreou, the former foreign minister and son of the late prime minister Andreas Papandreou, whom Socialists elected as their new leader earlier this year in a desperate bid to revive Pasok's plummeting popularity. In his concession remarks, Mr. Papandreou, 51, pledged support for the Olympics and for a "just and viable solution" to Cyprus's division. He attributed his party's loss to mistakes the party made while in office and voter fatigue with Pasok's "long stay in power." His soft-spoken demeanor was a contrast to his opponents' celebrations. Seas of New Democracy supporters surged onto the streets, fireworks flamed the capital's skies, and cars festooned with Greek flags flooded Athens. Voting is compulsory in Greece, the poorest European Union member, which Prime Minister Costas Simitis, a Socialist, steered into the Eurozone in 2001. Since then, inflation has declined to 2.9 percent, with the economy expanding by nearly 5 percent in 2003, more than double the European Union's average. But Greece's per capita gross domestic product stands at three-quarters the union's average, and its 8.8 percent jobless rate ranks among the union's highest. Pasok also was hurt by corruption scandals, lagging Olympic preparations and disagreements over the negotiations on Cyprus. Pasok, founded by Mr. Papandreou's father, dominated Greece for all but 3 of the last 23 years. It evolved from a party of generous patronage and antipathy to America in the early 1980's to one of tight fiscal management a decade later. It also anchored Greece's interests to the West, and pursued a policy of reconciliation with Turkey, Greece's historic enemy. Mr. Caramanlis espouses the same pragmatic path. An astute campaigner with a similarly strong political pedigree — his uncle and namesake once served as prime minister — he delighted supporters during the 11 week election campaign with promises of "jobs, jobs, jobs." Sunday's election results, however, appeared to hand Mr. Caramanlis the ringing endorsement he needs to "remold the state through strong economic stimulation," as he said in a recent interview. New Democracy looked set to win at least 165 of the 300 seats in Parliament. But Pasok appeared poised to win at least 115 seats, with the rest going to two small leftist parties. The new government will take over at a precarious moment. Within two weeks of its inauguration, it will enter talks with Turkey on Cyprus, which the United Nations, backed by the United States, wants to see reunited before it enters the European Union on May 1. Under a plan drafted by the United Nations, Cyprus's Greek and Turkish leaders have until March 22 to agree on a range of issues before Greece and Turkey join them to work out security questions. Referendums on the plan are due by the end of April. "The timetable is tight," said Petros Molyviatis, New Democracy's senior foreign policy adviser. He suggested that the new government might request additional time. Time is also a factor for faltering Olympic preparations. With less than five months to go, less than half the sites are completed, including the main Olympic stadium. It was not clear whether Mr. Caramanlis would retain senior officials in Olympics-related ministries. "There will be no grace period for the government in regards Olympics preparations," said Stratos Safioleas, a senior manager of the organizing committee. "No one can risk gambling the Olympic preparations. It would be like gambling Greece's future."

ND chief signs on to Church's ID petition Kathimerini, (25.09.2000)/HRWF International Secretariat (26.09.2000) - Website: http://www.hrwf.net - Email: info@hrwf.net - New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis yesterday signed a Church petition pressing the government to hold a referendum on whether the mention of religious affiliation should remain on state ID cards. Accompanied by his wife, Natasha, who also signed the petition, Karamanlis told journalists outside the church of Aghia Paraskevi that Greeks were free to do what their consciences dictated. Archbishop Christodoulos told a congregation yesterday in Ilioupolis, Athens, that they should "not substitute the Church's umbrella with nylon or multi- colored umbrellas." A small piece of what the Church believes to be the True Cross, brought to Athens from Jerusalem on September 12, is to remain in Athens's cathedral for another week, the Church announced, extending yesterday's deadline. Human Rights Without Frontiers Int . info@hrwf.net Avenue Winston Churchill 11/33, 1180 Brussels, Belgium Droits de l’Homme sans Frontières 1988 "

Guardian UK 6 Mar 2004 'Le Pen' of Athens Alters the Greek Political Landscape Today a far-right politician with zero tolerance for immigrants and a penchant for rhyming couplets could well be among the winners of parliamentary elections in Greece. By Guardian Newspapers, 3/6/2004 Just when Greeks thought they had tired of politics, new party leaders make them think again. Today a far-right politician with zero tolerance for immigrants and a penchant for rhyming couplets could well be among the winners of parliamentary elections. The prospect of Giorgos Karatzaferis, the founder of the LAOS party, being voted into the 300-member parliament, comes at the close of an election campaign as unorthodox as it has been vibrant. 'Our philosophy,' said Othon Floratos, the party's director-general, 'is deeply Orthodox Christian and Greek-centric. We remember our heroes.' LAOS - created in September 2000 when Karatzaferis was thrown out of the conservative opposition party New Democracy, for questioning its cigar-chomping leader's masculinity - has drawn unexpectedly large crowds. 'We hope to win votes from the Communist Party and the Right,' Floratos added. 'We also believe we will win votes from [the ruling party] Pasok, since its new leader, George Papandreou, has no idea how Greeks tick. He thinks and speaks like an American, which is what he is. Did you know that when he was Education Minister his senior adviser was openly homosexual? We have nothing against homosexuals, but such peculiarities are unacceptable.' Most analysts believe LAOS will muster the necessary 3 per cent to enter parliament, five months before Athens hosts the Olympic Games, making Karatzaferis, a burly man whose body language is clearly inspired by Jean-Marie Le Pen, the first far-right leader in parliament. This is an election where every vote will count. The ruling Socialists scraped through for a third term in 2000, but New Democracy has led the polls this time. However, analysts believe the gap may have narrowed to around 1 per cent in the month since Papandreou replaced the outgoing Prime Minister, Costas Simitis, at the helm of Pasok. As the race has changed, so have the tactics. Last week both parties pushed forward the wives of their leaders. The conservative chief, Costas Karamanlis, has been especially eager to show off his consort, Natasha, a Princess Diana look-alike. Most Greeks, however, appear to prefer Papandreou's wife Ada, a civil engineer. Karamanlis, 47, nephew of the celebrated statesman Konstantin Karamanlis, would head the first conservative government in a decade if he wins, but he is up against the formidable pulling power of Papandreou. The new head of Pasok faces considerable voter fatigue. His party has held office for all but three of the 23 years since it first came to power under his charismatic father, Andreas. But Papandreou has picked up votes by daring to be different. With his pop-star ability to woo the crowds, he has rejuvenated the fortunes of his own party and sent a charge through the political scene. Addressing a rally in Athens on Friday, he promised Greeks a 'social revolution'. All this despite the fact that Papandreou, a US citizen until the age of 26, speaks better English than Greek and advocates the kind of progressive policies that would be more in place in Sweden. 'I am myself, I am me,' he told The Observer. 'I think I have some similarities [to his father] but I have differences too ... I choose to be Greek.' For Greeks tired of the cronyism that has flourished under Pasok, Papandreou is a breath of fresh air. His views, not least his support of cultivating cannabis for personal use, have been especially well received by first-time voters, who could decide the election.


www.b92.net Kosovo reacts to Ceku arrest | 10:38 | B92 PRISTINA -- Monday – The prime minister of Kosovo warned yesterday that dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina could not resume until the release of Kosovo Protection Corps commander Agim Ceku from police custody in Hungary, Pristina daily Koha Ditore reports. Ceku was detained yesterday at the airport in Budapest on a warrant issued by the Serbian authorities, accusing him of genocide against the Serb population in Kosovo. He was later released and handed over to Croatian diplomatic authorities, after it emerged he had entered the country as a Croatian citizen. The Albanian ambassador to Hungary, who attended negotiations on his release, said Ceku would return to the UN-governed province today, reports Koha Ditore. Political leaders in Kosovo were quick to condemn the arrest. Kosovo President Ibrahim Rugova said it was “unacceptable” and insisted Serb warrants were “not valid for the people of Kosovo.” An editorial in Pristina daily Zeri said the episode demonstrates how little weight the province’s UN administration carries in Belgrade.

www.B92.net Ceku released as Croatian citizen BUDAPEST Agim Ceku, a former guerrilla leader and current commander of the Kosovo Protection Corps, was released by Hungarian police today and handed over to Croatian diplomatic authorities. A spokesman for the Hungarian border patrol said the Croatian embassy in Budapest had identified Ceku as a Croatian citizen. “That individual entered Hungary with Croatian documents, but in the warrant against him it is stated he is a citizen of Serbia,” Sandor Orodan told Beta news agency. He conceded it was “perfectly clear” that the individual detained was the individual on the warrant, but said that Interpol was not able to “unequivocally” identify him. Ceku was detained today at the airport in Budapest on a warrant issued by the Serbian authorities, accusing him of genocide in Kosovo after the arrival of the international administration and peacekeepers.


AP 4 Mar 2004 Pardon Plan for Nazi Sparks Italy Debate By ALESSANDRA RIZZO Associated Press Writer ROME (AP)--To his supporters, Erich Priebke is an old man who paid for his mistakes and should be pardoned. To his foes, the 90-year-old convicted Nazi war criminal, who is serving a life sentence under house arrest, should never be free again. Both sides plan demonstrations Saturday to make their cases, sparking anew a debate over Priebke's fate that has involved Rome's mayor, Jewish organizations and Italian lawmakers. ``The people in Italy should show compassion for Priebke's victims, their widows and orphans by insisting that Erich Priebke never again be in a position to walk the streets of Rome as a free man,'' said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center. Priebke, a former SS captain, was convicted in 1997 for a wartime massacre in which 335 civilians were killed. He says he was only following orders. ``This execution was a tragedy for us,'' Priebke said in an interview published Thursday in the right-wing daily Il Giornale. ``I don't feel the responsibility to repent for something I didn't want to do. I was against it. I had to obey like every soldier must do.'' A request seeking Priebke's pardon has been pending before the Defense Ministry since 1999. But the campaign gained new momentum recently when Italy considered granting a pardon to another long-time prisoner in an unrelated case, said Paolo Giachini, an activist promoting the campaign and at whose house Priebke is serving the sentence. Priebke's supporters insist the German national should be pardoned because of his age and because his crimes date to 60 years ago. They say his human rights are being violated. ``Priebke's detention is against the Italian constitution and all principles of civilization,'' Giachini said in an interview Thursday, referring to a constitutional provision saying penalties cannot be contrary to a sense of humanity. The March 24, 1944, massacre was ordered in retaliation for a bomb attack by Italian resistance fighters that killed 33 German soldiers. The victims, who included old men, young boys, Jews and Roman Catholic priests, were led one-by- one into the Ardeatine Caves outside Rome and shot to death. Priebke has admitted to shooting two people and helping round up the victims. He has said he would have faced a firing squad had he refused. A military appeals court upheld Priebke's conviction in 1998 and stiffened his sentence to life imprisonment. Jewish community representatives, leftist lawmakers and resistance fighters' associations have strongly protested the pardon request. ``It's incredible that Priebke should seek mercy, he who had no mercy for those he killed,'' Riccardo Pacifici, a spokesman for the Rome Jewish Community, said in an interview Thursday. ``There's no thirst for revenge, no hate,'' Pacifici said. ``But a just society requires that unrepentant, convicted assassins end their days in detention.'' Saturday's demonstration of Priebke's supporters is expected to draw a small group of people, including a conservative lawmaker who is Priebke's former lawyer and another who circulated a video praising the ex-SS captain in parliament last year. Also expected is Priebke's wife, who comes from Argentina, where Priebke lived before his 1994 extradition to Italy. The planned demonstration has sparked angry reactions. Mayor Walter Veltroni has called it ``inappropriate'' and has denied organizers permission to set up a stage, speakers or any other structure in the piazza where it will be held. Two counterdemonstrations have been hastily planned, one in the very same piazza as the pro-Priebke one, just two hours earlier. In Italy, demonstrations can only be banned if they pose a risk to public order. Government officials said no such risk exists, but a final decision on whether to allow the demonstrations will be made Friday.

Agenzia Giornalistica Italia, Italy www.agi.it/ PRIEBKE: DEMONSTRATION AGAINST FASCISM IN ROME ON SATURDAY (AGI) - Rome, March 3 - Police Authorities were notified that a demonstration in favour of democracy and against Nazi-fascist crimes is to be hold in Piazza Santa Apostoli, Rome on Saturday March 6 at from 2. P.M. to 8 P.M. A demonstration in favour of the former S.S. captain Erick Priebke - that has been sentenced to life prison for the massacre of Fosse Ardeatine- is scheduled n the same square tomorrow. The notice was signed by City Counsellors Nunzio D'Erme, Patrizia Sentinelli and Adriana Spera, by MPs Paolo Cento, Laura Cima, Mauro Bulgarelli, Loredana De Petris, Luana Zanella, Giovanni Russo Spena, Elettra Deiana,Graziella Mascia, Gabriella Pistone, by the president of the IX Municipio (local Council), Maria Cristina Perugia and by the spokesman of the "Dissobedienti" movement Guido Lutrario. . 032001 MAR 04 COPYRIGHTS 2002-2003 AGI S.p.A.


AP 6 Mar 2004 World says farewell to Macedonia leader BY MISHA SAVIC Associated Press SKOPJE, Macedonia - Macedonia's late President Boris Trajkovski, killed in a plane crash last week, was buried Friday as dozens of world leaders gathered for a state funeral and a top European Union official pledged to help the Balkan country eventually join the bloc. Heads of state, government leaders and ambassadors from nearly 60 countries, including the United States, Russia, Britain, France, Germany and China, paid last respects to a leader credited with averting a civil war in 2001. ''We believe in this country . . . in its determination to become a full member of the European institutions,'' European Commission President Romano Prodi said in a graveside speech. Trajkovski, 47, was en route to an international conference Feb. 26 when his turboprop plane crashed in heavy fog in southern Bosnia, just hours before his country was to submit its application for EU membership in Ireland. Macedonia's presentation was indefinitely postponed, but Prodi said Friday that the EU is ''looking forward to receiving your application.'' Prodi urged the government to continue ``along the path of European integration completing the work [Trajkovski] started.'' Prodi also urged Macedonians to maintain political and economic reforms and honor a Western-brokered peace agreement reached in 2001 with the country's ethnic Albanians. Militants from the sizable minority agreed to disarm in exchange for broader rights for their community. ''Honoring Boris Trajkovski's memory means taking up the challenge'' to make sure that all ''ethnic and political components fully support the choices, shouldering the responsibilities,'' Prodi said. An estimated 100,000 people, many of them sobbing, lined the streets of Skopje as the somber funeral procession slowly made its way to a cemetery. Army honor guards and Trajkovski's weeping widow and two children led the way. NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, presidents of nearly all the Balkan countries and representatives of other European and a few Asian nations laid wreaths at Trajkovski's casket.

Sofia Echo 4 Mar 2004 www.sofiaecho.com A life of Boris Trajkovski Staff Reporter BORIS Trajkovski, 45 at his death last week, was inaugurated as the second president of the Republic of Macedonia on December 15,1999, succeeding Kiro Gligorov. Before assuming the presidency, Trajovski was deputy foreign minister. A lawyer by education, Trajkovski had the unusual distinction of being a Methodist pastor in a predominately Orthodox and Muslim country. Before 1998, when he became deputy foreign minister, Trajkovski was virtually unknown to the public. His name was mentioned only as one of the founders of the ruling Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party of Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE). Trajkovski appeared on the international political scene at the height of the Kosovo crisis in 1999. . NATO undertook the disarmament of the Albanian rebels in September, while a month later the Army for National Liberation was disbanded. Macedonians and Albanians equally referred to Trajkovsky as "the father of the nation." - Staff Reporter .

Xinhua 8 Mar 2004 Chinese envoy to Macedonian president's funeral back in Beijing BEIJING, March 8 (Xinhuanet) -- A Chinese special envoy returned here Monday after attending the funeral of Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski who died in an air crash on Feb. 26. During his stay in Macedonia, Minister of Railways Liu Zhijun met with Macedonian Acting President and parliament speaker LjubcoJordanovski, Macedonian Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski and Foreign Minister Ilinka Mitreva. The Macedonian side expressed gratitude for the Chinese envoy'sattendance at the funeral. The Macedonian side reiterated that the Macedonian government will adhere to the "one-China" policy and promote mutually-beneficial friendly relations between the two countries. Enditem .


NYT Mar. 03, 2004 Dutch police arrest 2 suspected African war criminals By Marlise Simons NEW YORK TIMES THE HAGUE, Netherlands - The Dutch police have arrested two former military officers, one from Rwanda and the other from Congo, on charges of war crimes in their home countries, the result of an effort to screen asylum seekers for possible human rights violations. The Rwandan is suspected of playing a key role in the Rwandan genocide of the 1990s and the Congolese of torture and rape in Congo. An official in the Dutch prosecution office said a special team was created several years ago because, he said, "we were getting clear indications that there were people who may have fled because they had committed atrocities and were seeking to hide here." Some were posing as victims themselves, the official added. "The Netherlands does not want to be a hiding place for war criminals," said Wim de Bruin, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office in Rotterdam. The Rwandan detainee, Ephrem Setako, was picked up by detectives at a refugee center in Amsterdam last month. A spokesman said that Setako had been found at the request of the U.N. tribunal dealing with the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, which charged the former army lieutenant with being an organizer in the north of the country during the killings. The Dutch police said they were awaiting the indictment from the tribunal based in Arusha, Tanzania, and would likely hand him over to tribunal authorities. The other suspect is a former colonel in the civil guard of Congo and is scheduled to be tried in the Netherlands on charges of multiple rapes and torture. He was found by the detective squad while he was living in the Netherlands as a refugee, claiming persecution at home. The police declined to provide further details, including his name, until the trial, which is scheduled in Rotterdam on March 24. Police said the former colonel will be tried under Dutch law because the country had signed the 1987 Convention against Torture and is obliged to prosecute him. A similar effort to detain human rights abusers exists in Britain and Belgium. A British spokesman said the "war criminals team" was investigating 18 cases, some involving people who have been in Britain a long time. While many Europeans favor punishing human rights violations, there is also a growing anti-immigrant mood. Many asylum seekers have suffered persecution at home, but others have been found to be economic refugees who in the past have abused the generous welfare and asylum rules.

Netherlands - ICTY

NYT 1 Mar 2004 At Halfway Point of Milosevic Trial, Prosecutor Is Confident By MARLISE SIMONS THE HAGUE, Feb. 29 — The familiar morning mantra "Case No. 0254, the Prosecutor vs. Slobodan Milosevic" will not ring through Courtroom I at the United Nations war crimes tribunal for a few months. The prosecution has just rested its case, and Mr. Milosevic, the first modern head of state who has to answer for atrocities before international judges, has until June 8 to prepare his defense. In her spacious corner office, Carla Del Ponte, the chief prosecutor, took stock. Looking weary, she said she was relieved that after 24 months, this portion of the trial was finally closed. She said she was certain of a conviction on all charges, but conceded that she had presented only circumstantial evidence, "no simple smoking gun," — no written order or letter signed by Mr. Milosevic — to support the gravest charge, genocide. But then, few may have expected such proof from the former Serbian leader and Yugoslav president. He wrote down very little and went to extraordinary lengths to hide his hand in the three wars in Yugoslavia in the 1990's that killed more than 200,000 people and uprooted several million. Belgrade authorities have sanitized and cut crucial portions from the minutes of wartime meetings of the Supreme Defense Council, which Mr. Milosevic attended, an official close to the case said last week. Officials in Belgrade, the Serbian capital, recently handed over the incomplete records after much international pressure. There was credible information, the court lawyer said, that the complete records had contained instructions providing a link to killings and even genocide. All the same, prosecutors have compiled the most detailed record known of the Milosevic era, reconstructing the methods and secret machinery they say Mr. Milosevic used for his plan to seize more land for ethnic Serbs in a collapsing Yugoslavia. Mrs. Del Ponte said there was abundant evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia's Kosovo Province. "I believe we have proved genocide with many pieces of the puzzle," she said. Legal experts agree that the evidence of war crimes is ample. Some, however, dispute whether the prosecution has proved that Mr. Milosevic was guilty of genocide in Bosnia. A finding of genocide requires proof that the accused intended to destroy a people or group, not just to kill many of its members. "Intention of course is a subjective element, a difficult element," she said. "We will fully demonstrate this intent at the end of the trial." It has now become known that since well before the trial, a debate has raged among prosecutors over whether the Serbian-led campaign to expel and often kill non-Serbs would meet the legal definition of genocide. Some argued that there was enough evidence to secure a conviction for war crimes and crimes against humanity and no need to take on the burden of demonstrating genocide. "We had more than enough to prove that Milosevic created, instigated, aided and abetted great conflict and bloodshed and upheaval to stay in power," said one lawyer involved in the discussions. "Enough for a life sentence." But Ms. Del Ponte and others on her team decided to charge Mr. Milosevic with two counts of genocide or complicity in genocide in Bosnia. "I could not leave out the charges of genocide, based on what we knew," she said. But many questions still surround the issue of genocide. The judges must decide whether the large-scale persecution and killing of Bosnian Muslims, called "ethnic cleansing" by many, was a deliberate genocidal campaign. "Ethnic cleansing can lead to genocide, but did it in Bosnia? — I'm not sure," said Antoine Garapon, director of the Institute for Advanced Legal Studies in Paris, a research group that monitors the trial. "I am sure of the proof that Milosevic ordered ethnic cleansing." Some lawyers note that the crime of genocide is often misunderstood and defined in political or humanitarian terms. "One group threatening or killing another is not automatically genocide," said Heikelina Verrijn-Stuart, a Dutch specialist in international law, following the tribunal. "As a crime, it requires very specific proof and it does not depend on the number of victims." The tribunal's 16 judges still appear divided. The court has ruled three times on genocide but convicted only one person, Radislav Krstic, a Bosnian Serb general, for his role in the 1995 massacre of 7,000 Muslim men at Srebrenica. His case, under appeal, is expected to set a standard that may affect the Milosevic case. Tribunal staff and those monitoring the trial say that getting to this halfway point has been an ordeal. The scope of the indictment, linking allegations in three very different wars over nine years, was enormous. Progress was hampered by Mr. Milosevic who, acting as his own lawyer, engaged in filibustering and frequently fell ill. A week ago, the presiding judge, Richard May, unexpectedly resigned because of illness. Evaluating the strength and weaknesses of the prosecution case has its pitfalls, trial watchers say. There was an impressive array of about 300 witnesses, and the evidence includes thousands of documents, private diaries, telephone intercepts and films. But numerous witnesses testified in closed sessions, reportedly for their own protection, and many electronic intercepts and documents are only available to the judges. The prosecution set out to prove, first that the crimes occurred, second to show how the chain of command worked, and tird to link them to Mr. Milosevic. But the trial has been hard to follow, because testimony has zigzagged, not following chronological order. Mr. Garapon believes the chain of command has been particularly difficult to reconstruct because the military, the police and the militias often operated under different guises. "This is crucial to convince judges that massacres in Bosnia and Milosevic in Serbia are connected," he said. Lawyers at the court say there is another reason why the Belgrade authorities still withhold important documents: not to protect Mr. Milosevic but to shield the country from Bosnia's lawsuit against Belgrade at the International Court of Justice, seeking enormous damages for aggression and genocide.

b92.net Tribunal sentences Bosnian Serb to 18 years | 16:50 | B92 THE HAGUE -- Thursday – A former Bosnian Serb police reservist has been sentenced to 18 years in prison by judges at the UN war crimes tribunal for the murder and sexual assault of Muslim men at the Luka detention camp. Ranko Cesic confessed to shooting and beating 10 prisoners to death and forcing two Muslim brothers to perform sexual acts on each other at gunpoint and while being watched by others. The crimes fell within a period of just 32 days between May and June 1992 near the town of Brcko. The sentence matched the maximum penalty sought by prosecutors, while defence lawyers had called for a 13-year sentence.


AFP 11 Mar 2004Chechen refugees going home face 'return to hell': NGOs MOSCOW, March 11 (AFP) - Chechen refugees moving back from camps in Ingushetia to their war-torn homeland face a "return to hell", leading non-governmental organizations said Thursday, rejecting Moscow's claims the Caucasus republic is stabilising. Three organisations, Action Against Hunger, Handicap International and Medecins du Monde in a joint report cast doubt on Russian insistence that there is no longer a conflict in breakaway Chechnya, shattered by two wars in a decade. "The reality is that daily life for the Chechen population in Ingushetia and Chechnya shows that there has been no such return to normal," they said, days ahead of an presidential election expected to be easily won by incumbent Vladimir Putin. The report, entitled "Chechnya, a Return to Hell", said that the refugees do not want to return to Chechnya owing to the continued insecurity there and slammed coercive methods used by the authorities to force them to go back. Some 70,000 Chechen refugees are living in neighbouring Ingushetia following the second Chechen war, which broke out when Putin sent troops into Chechnya to fight separatist rebels in October 1999. Between 4,000 and 7,000 of them live in tent camps according to differing Russian and UN estimates. The refugees are threatened if they refuse to leave Ingushetia, while refugee camps are being dismantled without alternative accommodation being offered, the organisations said. This contravenes the Russian authorities' commitment to make returning a voluntary process. The organisations alleged that the Russian authorities are using "threats, promises, and military and police terror" to force a population "harassed on a daily basis" to return home. The report accused the authorities of intentionally worsening conditions in the camps in Ingushetia -- such as by cutting gas and water and upping police inspections -- to force the refugees to return home. Once back at home, the returning refugees face what the report described as "the main problem in Chechnya today" -- the threat of abduction by Chechen security forces and Russian troops. It said that despite the talk of a return to normalcy in Chechnya, the violence and other consequences the war are still widespread. People living in Chechnya's mountainous south face a daily battle to survive, with a third of the land destroyed and up to 80 percent of the livestock lost, it said.

BBC 10 Mar 2004 Strong Putin's weak points By Stephen Mulvey BBC News Online If this was an election in another country, President Vladimir Putin could justifiably tell his opponents: "It's the economy, stupid." It's the health of the Russian economy which underpins Mr Putin's massive 80% approval rating. While the economy is buoyant, so is Mr Putin But since this is Russia in 2004, Mr Putin has no-one to address these words to - he has no real opponent and little need to bother himself with a campaign. The country's economic surge, since the crash of 1998, has coincided with a political freeze - the media has been tamed, opposition parties marginalised, and civil society put on hold. Last year, the US-based organisation Freedom House judged that the Russian media was no longer free, and after December's parliamentary election it said the country was no longer an "electoral democracy". "For Russia, 2003 was marked by further movement toward authoritarianism by President Vladimir Putin and the government," its latest report says. "A ruling elite dominated by former military and security service officers now [occupies] 25% of key government and legislative positions," it adds. Unease over Chechnya There are a number of reasons for the strength of the Russian economy, the chief one being the high price of oil and gas, the country's main exports. REASONS FOR PUTIN'S POPULARITY His real successes and achievements: 22% Hopes that he will succeed in doing something in future: 32% His personal and professional qualities: 22% It's just that no-one better is visible: 21% Difficulty answering: 4% Source: VTsIOM opinion poll, January 2004 Rapid growth has also been easier to achieve because of the depths to which the economy sank in the Soviet and post-Soviet crisis years. The 75% devaluation of the rouble in 1998 itself gave domestic producers a big boost. But on top of that, Mr Putin has established a degree of order that was not there before he took over the reins at the end of 1999. Salaries and pensions are now largely paid on time. Taxes are collected - thanks partly to ambitious and successful tax reform. The bureaucracy has been streamlined. Some state monopolies are being broken up. While some of the most flamboyant oligarchs have been jailed or obliged to leave the country, others have been left to get on with their business in an improved climate. But curiously, while Russians enjoy their rising living standards and give Mr Putin their backing, only a minority think he is "handling Russia's problems successfully". Polls also show that there is widespread unease about his policy towards Chechnya. Much has changed since Mr Putin was first elected four years ago, when his popularity was founded on the decision to send troops back into the breakaway region. No military reform Mr Putin's pro-Western foreign policy since 11 September has also not been hugely popular, especially with his allies in the military and the security forces. There are serious unsolved social problems too, including Russia's rapidly shrinking population, an increase in drug abuse and a gathering Aids crisis. Analysts also debate how far Mr Putin has succeeded in restoring central control over Russia's regions. He has appointed his own governors in a handful of super-regions, but how much real power they give him over the far-flung provinces is unclear. The precise nature of Mr Putin's relationship with the military and security forces - the siloviki - is also obscure. He has failed, despite repeated pledges, to carry out any serious reform of the armed services. And there have also been moments - such as the arrest of the Yukos oil oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky last summer - when correspondents have begun to wonder whether the siloviki, not Mr Putin, might actually be in control. Going into this election, Mr Putin looks impregnable, but his strength is founded on his popularity, which in turn is founded on Russia's economic success. If oil and gas prices fall, and the economy falters, he may find that opponents begin to emerge - from one direction or another - even in the new authoritarian Russia. [ From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siloviki The Siloviki (the word is plural and rooted in a Russian term for power) are Russian men from the old security or military services, often the KGB and military officers or other security services who rode into power on the coattails of Boris Yeltsin or Vladimir Putin. Some think they have Russia by the throat and threaten their fragile democracy, and their power is immense. Some contrast them to American gangsters such as Al Capone, who nearly ran the American city of Chicago. They tend to favor a statist ideology at the expense of individual rights and freedoms. Another point of view, particularly popular in modern Russia, is that siloviki is an adequate counter-balance to the Russian oligarchs' 'individual rights and freedoms' to loot Russia and subvert its government. ]

The Moscow Times Feb. 18, 2004. themoscowtimes.com Page 10 Who Will Live in the Land of the Siloviki? By Yulia Latynina Four years ago, Vladimir Putin built his presidential campaign on fighting terrorists. That hasn't gone terribly well, so this year Putin's big campaign issue is the war on the oligarchs. Compared to terrorists, the oligarchs are a soft target -- and a lot more profitable. The government throws them in prison and forces them to pay their taxes. Now a proposal to raise the mineral extraction tax is in the air. GDP currently stands at $350 billion, of which approximately $120 billion comes from the raw materials sector. In other words, per capita GDP amounts to about $3,000 per year, $1,000 of it from the oil industry. Per capita GDP in the United States is $30,000, compared to $22,000 in the Netherlands and $16,000 in Israel. Even if the government siphons off 50 percent of oil industry revenues in taxes, as opposed to the 38 percent that it currently takes, Russia's economy won't suddenly begin to rival America's. But if the state takes the full 100 percent, our economy will start to look like Zimbabwe's. Let's look at things from a different angle: The average computer programmer makes about $100,000 per year, and the fruits of his labor are worth at least 10 times that, or $1 million. So the entire annual output of the Russian oil and gas sector is worth about as much as the output of 100,000 computer programmers. Now imagine that our programmer lives not in New York but in Siberia. In New York he would make a hundred grand, but here he gets shafted. And let's assume, for the sake of argument, that he makes $100,000 in Siberia. Where is he going to spend it while his neighbors watch his every move with envy? He won't spend it -- he'll just emigrate to America. And when 100,000 programmers have left, they'll take that $100 billion in potential revenues along with them. The thing is, though, they've already left. In recent years the Russian-speaking population of London has risen to 370,000, and it's a safe bet that not all of the new arrivals are bums or oligarchs. The overwhelming majority are young professionals who have chosen not to live in the land of the triumphant siloviki. You can't build a postindustrial society by carving up existing resources. And if Russia fails to build a postindustrial society, it will lose out to China and even the Muslim world first in the economic and then in the military arena. The market in oil and gas is not the largest in Russia. Last year, analysts at the Indem think tank estimated that the market in bribes is worth $40 billion per year. This is a market with no taxes and no overheads. Or rather, the structure of the market is such that fat-cat bureaucrats walk away with pure profit, and the bill is picked up by the rest of the population. As this market grows, every dollar in illegal profit reduces GDP by hundreds of thousands of dollars. Eighty percent of any manufacturer's expenses go to cover gas, electricity and shipping by railroad. And taxes, of course. The price of all these items is set by the state. In this situation, an entrepreneur has two ways to cut costs: invest billions in new equipment or millions in bribes. What fool would choose the first option? Market economies are like lotteries with an ever-increasing amount of total prize money. Medieval wars were zero-sum games in which the loot just kept changing hands. The Russian economy is like a lottery whose total prize money decreases daily and the smaller the prize, the more greedy the players become. Yulia Latynina is a columnist for Novaya Gazeta. [ See also the Oct. 2003 Newsmonitor]

Scripps Howard News Service 11 Mar 2004 'A Creeping Coup': Is Russia Heading Back to the USSR? By Clifford D. May When the Soviet Union collapsed, most Russians looked forward to joining the Free World as quickly as possible. Having been a student and a reporter in the USSR, I soon found myself attending conferences with enthusiastic Russian reformers. At one point, I complimented my colleagues on having chosen a difficult path. I noted that in any library there were dozens of scholarly books on the transition from capitalism to socialism. But a serious discussion on how to transition from socialism to democratic capitalism? That was as unlikely as a cookbook explaining how to make eggs out of omelets. That got a little laugh. So I added how in Africa, where I also had worked for a number of years, democratic institutions and free markets have mostly failed. The lessons of those failures, I suggested, were worth examining. An uncomfortable silence ensued. It was clear I had caused offense. Then, in tense tones, I was instructed that we were discussing Russia now. We were talking about sophisticated people who had been kept in chains by Communism, among the most oppressive ideologies ever conceived. Now that Russians were finally free, they would know how to defend their freedom. Soon, they would be living like their neighbors in Western Europe. I should have nodded and shut up. Instead I said: “But Russia's neighbors are not all in Europe. Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea, China – those are your neighbors, too.” This was not the first conference at which I made myself unpopular. It probably won't be the last. But I've been reminded of it in recent days as I've watched with dismay what appears to be Russia's drift from democracy. With terrorism and the conflicts in the Middle East dominating the news, this trend has hardly captured the public's attention. But its significance is enormous. Because if Russia – with all its vast natural and human resources – were to slip back into authoritarianism, what would that imply about the chances for other formerly oppressed nations to become free, democratic and prosperous? Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has been among those astute enough to notice and be troubled by developments in Russia. He has described what is taking place there as nothing less than “a creeping coup against the forces of democracy and market capitalism.” He added: “The United States cannot enjoy a normal relationship, much less a partnership, with a country that increasingly appears to have more in common with its Soviet and czarist predecessors than with the modern state Vladimir Putin claims to aspire to build.” Mr. Putin, of course, is Russia's president, up for re-election on Sunday (March 14). There is little suspense about the outcome of that contest. Recent polls indicate that the incumbent will receive up to 80 percent of the vote. None of his five challengers is projected to garner more than six percent. You might think that such numbers would have given Mr. Putin the confidence to encourage more democracy, more competition, more freedom and additional human rights protections. Sadly, that has not been the case. According to a State Department report issued last month, Mr. Putin's government has been threatening members of opposition groups, manipulating the media, placing polling organizations under Kremlin control, and harassing businessmen. Arbitrary arrests have become common. Conditions in prison are “frequently life-threatening.” More specifically, “parliamentary elections held on December 7 failed to meet international standards. … There were credible reports that law enforcement personnel frequently engaged in torture.” All the major television stations not owned by the government have been eliminated. “Trafficking in persons, particularly women and girls, was a serious problem.” In addition: “There were a number of killings of government officials throughout the country, some of which may have been politically motivated.” Sen. McCain has been particularly concerned about the arrest, last October, of Russia's leading capitalist, oil magnate and philanthropist Mikhail Khordorkovsky. Mr. Khordorkovsky, the Senator said, “had committed what in the Kremlin's eyes is the worst crime of all: supporting the political opposition to President Putin. …Khordorkovsky actually attempted to exercise basic political freedoms guaranteed, in theory, for all Russians.” Based on these and other concerns, Sen. McCain has joined with Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CONN) to introduce legislation urging the Bush administration to suspend Russia's membership in the prestigious Group of Eight (G-8) industrialized democracies “until the Russian government ends its assault on political freedom, independent media, and the rule of law, and demonstrates its commitment to the democratic principles that unite all other members of the G-8.” Sen. Lieberman believes that such leverage is required to “get Russia back on the democratic track. To allow Russia to remain a member as it continues to suppress political opposition parties and silence free and independent media would make a mockery of the democratic principles that bind the G-8 together.” The next meeting of the G-8 will be in June in Sea Island, Georgia. At that time and place, President Bush is to formally launch his “Forward Strategy of Freedom in the Middle East.” This is an important initiative, an antidote for the ideologies that spawn hatred and terror. It will be more persuasive if all those standing on the stage with Mr. Bush represent free and democratic nations. Clifford D. May, a former New York Times foreign correspondent, is the president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies a policy institute focusing on terrorism www.defenddemocracy.org.

BBC 12 Mar 2004 Head-to-head: Has Putin been good for Russia? Russians go the polls on Sunday to elect their president. Incumbent Vladimir Putin enjoys an overwhelming approval rate. He has no real opponent in Sunday's election and is therefore expected to win the vote comfortably. But has President Putin been good for Russia? BBC News Online asked two observers with differing views to comment. / Maria Lipman is an analyst with the Carnegie Moscow Center and a journalist - with doubts about Mr Putin. The stability of oil prices means that at one level President Putin has been able to make peoples' lives better - pensions have almost doubled, take-home pay has grown. And this is very significant when you consider that under his predecessor Boris Yeltsin there were massive wage arrears. He has also streamlined government. But at what cost? He has displayed contempt for the rule of law. He has weakened all institutions, parliament, political parties, business leaders, regional heads. He has come down on the media. All national TV networks are under state control. The checks and balances of government are almost gone. Corruption is a problem. There is no question that he is the supreme leader of Russia - whether he is a democratic president is something I have serious doubts about. He has reinstituted this big-style leadership, encouraged the subservience of the elites. State media portrays him in a purely favourable light. Russia is a vast country - and in some places people's only access to information is through state TV. We certainly do not see repression on the scale of the Soviet days, but even without it, he has successfully brought politicians in Russia into line. How has this happened? He has fuelled further apathy in a nation that has grown increasingly disillusioned in the years since communism collapsed. We should not forget that in the late 1980s people found they could effect change; they stood up for democracy, they put an end to communist rule. But gradually disbelief and cynicism has taken hold. The common attitude is that we can't change anything, nothing depends on us, all the decisions are taken at the top. What Putin has done is push the people deeper into this state of apathy by sending the message: I will strengthen the state, I will take all the decisions, I will be a strong leader. It is a two-way process of course, the people choose the leader they want, but to the extent that a leader shapes the nation, Putin has deepened the traditional Russian attitude: people do not believe they can make a difference. / Dmitri Gubin is a well-known radio phone-in presenter and magazine columnist - and is a Putin fan. Firstly, Vladimir Putin has brought stability to Russia. This is very important. Secondly, he has brought a mirror - a mirror of the people's own hopes and anxieties. Most people over 40 want the state to feed them, to find them a job, to do everything for them. They want a kind tsar, who will look after them. If there is a problem in Russia, it is not with Putin, it is with the Russian people themselves. For a limited period, he is what the country needs. Stability has helped to bring about economic growth of more than 8% per year. Incomes recalculated in hard currency are growing at 12% per year, and property prices are increasing at about 40% per year. Ten years ago, I could park in the street where I live without any difficulty, but now it's a real problem - there are so many cars. That's how much wealthier people have become. Media freedom is starting to be a problem, but there is no official censorship. A lot of people have begun practising self-censorship, without any pressure from their supervisors. Nobody orders people to put a portrait of Vladimir Putin on their desk and nobody would be sacked for having a family portrait instead, but they choose a picture of the president of their own accord. That's why I say Russia does not have a problem of politics but of mentality. I wish we had the equivalent of the BBC in Russia, but before the BBC was created in Britain all you had were newspapers propagating the views of the media tycoons. That was the environment from which the BBC emerged. Maybe a BBC will emerge in Russia too. I would not say Vladimir Putin is too close to men in uniform. I know his chief bodyguard, and he is a normal guy. These people are more or less Westernised even if they do think painting died with Rubens and have a weakness for big black German cars with flashing lights and klaxons. They are old-fashioned but are not necessarily dangerous.

Serbia (see Hungary)

B92 4 Mar 2004 Karadzic and Mladic in Serbia, says Kandic | BELGRADE -- Monday – Top human rights lawyer Natasa Kandic has said she believes Bosnian Serb war crimes fugitives Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic are in Serbia, and will remain there as long as the international community fails to put pressure on Belgrade. “As long as there’s no strong international pressure they are safe in Serbia,” Kandic, director of the Belgrade-based Humanitarian Law Centre, said in comments published today. Failure to prosecute Karadzic and Mladic “would be a heavy blow to the international judiciary,” she told Vienna weekly Profil. Prosecutors at the UN tribunal in The Hague have long said that Mladic is in Serbia, while chief prosecutor Carla del Ponte recently claimed to have information he had been joined by Karadzic. The authorities in Belgrade say they have no information on the whereabouts of either man. Karadzic, the wartime Bosnian Serb leader, and his military commander Ratko Mladic are wanted at the tribunal on charges including genocide.

BBC 9 Mar 2004 War crimes trial test for Serbs The massacre was one of the worst of the conflict Six Serbs accused of committing one of the worst atrocities of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia have gone on trial in a special court in Belgrade. The men are charged with killing some 200 civilians in the Croatian town of Vukovar in 1991. It is the first major war crimes trial in Serbia and is seen as a test case. The six accused, seated behind bars and bullet-proof glass, listened as the charges and the names of the 192 known victims were read out. 'Fabrication' The youngest killed was 16; the oldest 72. The first to plead was the chief defendant, Mirojub Vujovic, a native of Vukovar who allegedly commanded the paramilitary unit accused of the massacre. WAR CRIMES DEFENDANTS Miroljub Vujovic Stanko Vujanovic Jovica Peric Milan Vojnovic Ivan Atanasijevic Predrag Madzarac What happened in Vukovar He described in dramatic detail his role in what he called the liberation of Vukovar, but said he was injured at the time of the killings and had the medical records to prove it. "The indictment is a complete fabrication," he said. The defendants are accused of seizing Croat patients at a hospital in Vukovar after Yugoslav forces entered the town amid heavy fighting in November 1991. The prisoners were taken to a pig farm, where they were executed in what became known as the Ovcara massacre. The massacre is the focus of another trial - that of three senior Serb officers before the international war-crimes tribunal in The Hague. The BBC's Nick Thorpe in Belgrade says the two trials appear to dovetail, with the international tribunal dealing with those accused of planning the killings and the court in Belgrade with the alleged foot-soldiers. Eight suspects were charged last December and initially denied taking part in the killings, but one later turned prosecution witness in return for immunity. Another defendant - Mirko Vojnovic, 65 - died on the eve of the trial from injuries sustained in a suicide attempt in January. Human rights fear The trial is the first since the election in December of a new Serbian government highly critical of the UN war crimes tribunal in the Netherlands. Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said he favours trying suspects at home rather than extraditing them to The Hague. Human rights groups have expressed concern that the Serb authorities will use the trial to try to prove that individual soldiers were responsible for crimes and that no orders were issued from above. The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe last year expressed doubts about Serbia's judicial system to handle sensitive war crimes cases. The importance of this first trial was highlighted by prosecution spokesman Bruno Vekaric. "This is a great challenge for Serbian justice and a great test for the later transfer of cases from The Hague tribunal to local justice."

BBC 9 March, 2004 Djindjic trial witness murdered Zoran Djindjic was shot dead in Belgrade last year A key eyewitness to the assassination of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic has been killed before he could testify, a judge has announced. Kujo Krijestorac was shot repeatedly by gunmen using a silencer as he sat in his car on 1 March. It was not immediately clear whether the killing was related to the trial. Thirteen people are currently on trial in a special high-security court in Belgrade, charged with the prime minister's murder. Perhaps they wanted to threaten the other witnesses Rajko Danilovic Lawyer for the Djindic family A lawyer for Mr Djindjic's family, Rajko Danilovic, told AP news agency that Mr Krijestorac had received a number of death threats before being gunned down. "The defence has obtained nothing because his deposition will be read before the tribunal," he said. "Perhaps they wanted to threaten the other witnesses." Court officials confirmed that Mr Krijestorac's statements to prosecutors would now be presented as evidence. Mr Krijestorac, a businessman, was near the scene when the prime minister was shot by a sniper last March, and saw suspects fleeing the scene. He was due to appear in court soon, but his body was found riddled with bullets near his home in a Belgrade suburb. Court officials did not explain the delay in announcing his murder, which happened more than a week ago. At large The assassination of Serbia's reformist prime minister has been widely attributed to his decision to extradite former leader Slobodan Milosevic to the UN war crimes tribunal at The Hague, and his efforts to crack down on organised crime. His alleged killer, Zvezdan Jovanovic - a former assistant commander of the elite special police unit, the Red Berets - is on trial. But the man believed to have masterminded the murder, former Red Berets commander Milorad Lukovic, remains at large.

BBC 23 Dec 2003 Belgrade sceptics doubt official story By Matthew Price BBC, Belgrade The official version of the death of Serbian PM Zoran Djindjic says he was killed by Serb nationalists and members of the country's mafia. But as his alleged killers go on trial in Belgrade, few here believe the trial into his murder will uncover the full truth of who was behind his assassination. Former Red Berets commander Legija is alleged mastermind There are many who feel the plot goes far deeper. Mr Djindjic was assassinated in the heart of Belgrade, just outside government offices. In one of the nearby buildings, a sniper levelled his rifle and fired two shots into the prime minister. He was swiftly taken to hospital, but he was dead by the time he arrived. The prosecution says the suspects now appearing in court include nationalists opposed to Mr Djindjic's co-operation with the war crimes tribunal in The Hague, and alleged members of organised crime groups and the police who worked for them. Mr Djindjic, encouraged by the international community, was about to crack down on organised crime. That, it's said, is why he was killed - so that these groups could overthrow the government and take power. I don't think anyone in Serbia believes that the official story is the full story Ljiljana Smajlovic Nin journalist But many people question this version of events, says journalist Ljiljana Smajlovic who writes for the respected weekly, Nin. "I don't think anyone in Serbia believes that the official story is the full story," she says. "The government gagged the press during the state of emergency (following the murder) and it was only after the state of emergency was lifted that a lot of things came to light, especially the members of government who visited the mafia people in jail during the Djindjic years. "They were the government people who had closer contacts with the mafia - and these are people from Zoran Djindjic's vicinity." Some members of his government were very, very deeply involved in the corruption Marko Nicovic Anti-corruption detective Marko Nicovic, an internationally-renowned detective with more than 30 years of experience fighting corruption in the region, believes Mr Djindjic's association with one of the two big Belgrade mafia clans led to his death. He claims that Mr Djindjic had tried to work with some sections of the mafia, while fighting against others. "Some members of his government were very, very deeply involved in the corruption," says Mr Nicovic. Wider question He believes these factors lay directly behind Mr Djindjic's "elimination", as people acted to protect their own interests. Mr Djindjic's death shocked Serbia, but it also exposed how deeply organised crime continued to penetrate the political establishment in Serbia today - and not just Serbia. "This original problem is not only Serbia-Montenegro; the whole western Balkans could become a black hole in the middle of Europe unless they fight against organised crime," says the ambassador here for the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Maurizio Massari.

Serbia - Kosovo

BBC 4 Mar 2004 'Practical' Kosovo talks launched Leaders will first discuss living standards in the province The first substantive talks between Serbian and Kosovo representatives since the war of 1999 have begun in the Kosovan capital, Pristina. They will initially focus on practical issues such as poor energy supplies, missing persons, the return of Serb refugees to Kosovo and transport links. The talks were officially launched at a ceremony in Vienna last October, but there has been little progress so far. Ethnic Albanian and Serbian leaders are divided over Kosovo's final status. The province is currently under UN administration, but it remains part of Serbia and Montenegro. Partition idea The ethnic Albanian majority in Kosovo wants independence, while Serbia fiercely opposes the idea. Serbia's new nationalist Prime Minister, Vojislav Kostunica, on Tuesday told parliament he would not let Kosovo gain independence . Instead, he called for a "partition or cantonisation" of the province along ethnic lines. Ethnic Albanian leaders rejected the idea. Thursday's talks started in the UN mission headquarters in Pristina. The EU representative chairing the meeting, Joly Dixon, called their resumption "an encouraging sign". Up to 10,000 people, mostly ethnic Albanians, are thought to have died in the 1998-1999 war, which ended with Nato airstrikes on Serbia. Tens of thousands of Serbs and other minorities have fled Kosovo since then.

ICRC 11 Mar 2004 ICRC News 04/33 Kosovo: First meeting of working group on missing persons The working group on missing persons set up as part of the direct dialogue that has been initiated between Pristina and Belgrade met for the first time in Pristina on 9 March. During the meeting, which was chaired by ICRC representative François Stamm, the parties shared their views on the work ahead. Mr Stamm stressed that the ICRC had agreed to chair the working group for strictly humanitarian reasons and only once it was clear that all the parties involved supported the idea and were committed to working together to provide the families of missing persons with the answers they were seeking. “We will help you, we will assist you, we will support you,” said Mr Stamm, “but at the end of the day only you can set in motion the process that will supply that information." The parties agreed that the ICRC would draft rules of procedure for the working group, to be approved during upcoming meetings. Proposals for the agenda of the next meeting were also discussed. Between sessions, the ICRC will continue to consult with the parties and other stakeholders and review progress made on the issue of missing persons. The next meeting is expected to take place in Belgrade in the second half of April. The ICRC has a great deal of experience in dealing with the problem of persons reported missing during conflicts and the plight of their families, both in the Balkans and elsewhere in the world. It believes that resolving the sensitive issue of missing persons is key to moving reconciliation processes forward.

Xinhuanet 22 Mar 2004 Kosovo riot -- offhand revenge or premeditated genocide? www.chinaview.cn 2004-03-22 13:13:49 BELGRADE, March 21 () -- No sooner had grief-stricken people attending the funeral of two Albanian boys dispersed than many began wondering the bloody riot, which was unleashed by their deaths and reopened the tinderbox in Balkan, was either an instant eye-for-eye revenge or a premeditated ethnic cleansing. But who should take the blame? The funeral was held in the village of Cabar, 40 km north of Kosovo's capital Pristina, after peace was restored following daysof rioting, looting and arson. The unrest left 24 people killed, over 850 wounded and thousands more homeless. The violence was triggered on Wednesday by the allegation that three ethnic Albanian boys were chased by Serb youths and drowned in the Ibar River. Public anger quickly exploded and spilled over to the ethnically-divided city of Kosovska Mitrovica in a scale which defied any previous example. Although, the international peacekeeping forces temporarily kept a lid on the emotional torrent, the nature of the deadly turmoil remained shrouded in mystery. People couldn't help questioning: was it an eye for an eye action just sparked by the drowning tragedy, or a premeditated ethnic cleansing bent on driving the minority Serbs out? And who should take the blame? ORGANIZED ETHNIC CLEANSING Many Serbia-Montenegro and international officials believed this rioting was a premeditated genocide in an attempt to sow ethnic hatred between Kosovo's mostly Muslim Albanians, who long for independence, and Orthodox Christian Serbs, who want to remainpart of Serbia-Montenegro. Branko Krga, chief of the General Staff in the Serbia-Montenegro army, signaled Saturday to the press that the military intelligence agency had controlled Kosovo extremists' plan about cleansing local Serbians, but failed to intervene beforehand. The chief UN administrator for the province Harri Holkeri and another official of the UN-Interim Administration in northern Kosovo echoed Krga's views, acknowledging that at first, they mistook this violence for an instant revenge rioting, but later itturned out to be an organized genocide. On the same day, the police army of the UN administration said in a statement the allegation that the Albanian boys were drowned because they were chased by Serb youths, was completely unfounded. These views received welcome from Serbia-Montenegro Defense Minister Boris Tadic, who termed the remarks as "encouraging" since it marked the first time for the past 14 years the international community acknowledged the existence of ethnic cleansing targeted at the Serbs. He expressed that the government would do its utmost to defuse the crisis through diplomacy and avoid resorting to forces. NATO SHARES BLAME The NATO-led international peacekeeping forces should also share the blame for the deadly rioting. On March 19, Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said the UN interim administration and the NATO-led Peacekeeping Force in Kosovo (KFOR) failed in governance and military management. The 1999 military campaign succeeded in stopping the genocide against Albanians and replacing the then Yugoslavia with currentlySerbia and Montenegro. However, a successful government reshuffle didn't necessarily replace hostility and hatred with tolerance and coexistence. Reluctant to adopt active measures to solve the final future ofKosovo, the international community, NATO in particular, also fared disastrously with maintaining security in the area. To make things worse, NATO even turned a blind eye to the ethnic undercurrents in the UN protectorate. With reprisal killing,looting, bombing, arson, kidnapping and drug or arms trafficking plaguing the area, Kosovo became a haven for those harboring extremism and terrorism. A NATO spokesman warned Friday that Kosovo had been pushed to the verge of complicated and dangerous situation, reminiscent of that before the NATO-led bombing campaign began in 1999. And the only difference was at that time, the ethnic cleansing was targeted at Albanians and this time vice versa. HATRED RUNS DEEP Days of violence not only took life casualties, but also dealt a deadly blow to the fragile Albanian-Serbian relations. On the one hand, many Serbs were forced to flee their hometown with hopes of reconciliation extinguished. On the other hand, hatred was also deep-rooted in Albanians' hearts. A 13-year-old Albanian boy once told Xinhua reporters that he was ready to join the army to fight for the Albanian independence. "If I got killed, that would make me a martyr; and many more would rise to fight following my steps." No matter which side gets the upper hand in this decades-long feud, innocent people would never emerge unscathed. As long as this animosity takes hold, Kosovo remains a ticking time bomb for the Balkan as well as the world.

BBC 22 Mar 2004 Nato condemns Kosovo extremists Nato reinforcements have been rushed to the province The Nato Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, has blamed last week's violence in Kosovo on extremist ethnic Albanian factions. Speaking in Kosovo's capital, Pristina, he said the attacks that killed 28 people from both Serbian and Albanian communities were "unacceptable". The Nato chief urged local Albanian leaders to condemn the riots and help rebuild some 300 burnt-down homes. Meanwhile, Kosovo's president said the security of Serbs must be ensured. In his first interview since the violence erupted last week, Ibrahim Rugova told the BBC the Serb minority should be more integrated in Kosovan society. But he said only an independent Kosovo would bring stability to the region. Extremist forces have no role to play in settling Kosovo's future European Union statement More than 3,000 Serbs fled their burning homes and churches when ethnic Albanian crowds attacked. Nearly 900 people were injured during the clashes. Nato rushed in 2,000 more troops to help quell the violence. The Nato-led peacekeeping force - now more than 20,000-strong - appears to have reasserted control over the province. On Monday, Kosovo observed a day of mourning for the victims of the violence, as well as two ethnic Albanian boys whose deaths triggered the violence. 'Political illusions' "What happened last week, orchestrated and organised by extremist factions in the Albanian community, is unacceptable," Mr de Hoop Scheffer said. KOSOVO: KEY DATES 24 Sept 1998: Nato issues ultimatum to Milosevic to stop crackdown on Kosovo Albanians 24 Mar 1999: Nato begins air strikes against Yugoslavia over Kosovo 10 June 1999: Air strikes suspended after Milosevic agrees to withdraw troops. UN approves peace plan for Kosovo, establishes K-for peace force 11 June 1999: Nato troops enter Kosovo 10 Dec 2003: UN unveils road map on conditions Kosovo must meet by mid-2005 for talks on final status 17 Mar 2004: Serbs and Albanians clash in the worst violence seen since 1999 In pictures: Kosovo mourns He said the trust between the community and Nato-led peacekeeper in the United Nations-administered province of Serbia had been lost. Serbia and the Kosovo Serbs strongly oppose ethnic Albanian demands for independence. EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels called on both Serbs and ethnic Albanians to refrain from provocative acts. They issued a statement calling on all leaders, "in particular the Kosovo Albanian leadership, to take responsibility for the situation." "Extremist forces have no role to play in settling Kosovo's future," the statement said. Intervention debate renewed The head of the UN administration in Kosovo, Harri Holkeri, said he was shocked by the recent incidents, but that he was determined to see peace established there. Serbia held a day of mourning on Sunday Mr Holkeri said it was "utterly disappointing" that ethnic Albanian leaders failed to condemn the violence against Serbs. He made the comments as he visited a burnt-down block of flats in Pristina, inhabited by Serbs until the attacks. He was accompanied by Kosovo's Prime Minister, Bajram Rexhepi. Mr Rexhepi reiterated that the predominantly ethnic Albanian provincial authorities would help fund the reconstruction of more than 100 Serb homes and at least 15 Serbian Orthodox churches that were damaged or destroyed. Serbs and other minorities are guaranteed rights and positions in local and central government by the UN administration of the province but have often preferred to administer their own affairs. Albanian leaders accuse them of running parallel structures.

www.erionet.org 24 Mar 2004 European Roma Information Office press release European Roma Information Office Asks for a Permanent Settlement of the Situation of Roma IDPs and Refugees from Kosovo Brussels, 24 March 2003: The UN-controlled province of Kosovo has just seen a new eruption of violence. 28 people have reportedly been killed during clashes between Kosovo Serbs and Albanians, several hundreds have been wounded. According to the UN, 3 600 people were forced to leave their homes, the majority, Kosovo Serbs, but also people belonging to the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians minorities. The recent outbreak of violence has given a further evidence for the volatility of the situation in Kosovo which cannot be considered as a safe place for returns, in particular not, for people belonging to minority groups. The European Roma Information Office (ERIO) therefore requests the International Community and the EU member states to finally seek a permanent solution for the Kosovo Roma who have become IDPs (internal Displaced Persons) in Serbia and Montenegro or refugees in EU countries or in countries of the region. Almost five years after the end of the war over FR Yugoslavia, many of the Kosovo Roma continue to have their life in a legal limbo due to the actual impossibility of return to Kosovo and the unwillingness of the authorities of their host countries to grant them a permanent residence status. It is estimated that some 80 000 to 100 000 Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians fled Kosovo following the start of the NATO air raids. Some stayed in neighbouring countries, others escaped to Western Europe. Estimates depart from about 50 000 Roma who are still displaced in Serbia and Montenegro and another 40 000 to 60 000 Roma who live in West European countries. Only a few Roma were granted a permanent refugee status, most were granted temporary protection on an ad hoc basis which does not provide for a lasting solution for their lives. Until today, these people have their lives in a limbo, unable to definitely settle in Western Europe, but likewise unable to return to Kosovo. Due to the obstructions by the local authorities a definite settlement has not been possible for many refugees and IDPs in the successor states of the Former Yugoslavia, but claims by Human Rights organizations that West European countries should receive the at least the most vulnerable among these people have gone unheard. Despite the recommendations of the OSCE and UNHCR, West European governments such as Germany and Denmark have started forcibly repatriating people belonging to the Roma, Ashkali and Egiptiani communities. Only two weeks ago, the Belgian, Dutch and Luxembourg authorities in a joint operation deported several Roma to Pristina. In view of the recent violence, the European Roma Information office urgently requests the governments host countries to put an end to their policy of expulsion and repatriation of people belonging to one of the ethnic minorities from Kosovo and to grant those who want so a permanent refugee status. It is unacceptable to maintain people who escaped violence directly targeted towards them and who continue to be exposed to threats in Kosovo on the sole basis of their belonging in a situation of uncertainty and with no perspectives and to keep a mortgage on the future of their children. More information on our organisation and campaigns can be found on our website www.erionet.org .


BBC 4 March, 2004 Spanish fight over poet's remains Katya Adler BBC Correspondent in Madrid News that the grave of the great Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca is soon to be exhumed is causing considerable controversy. Lorca was killed by nationalists at the start of the civil war Lorca never considered himself a political poet but rather a man of the people. His works focused on human suffering and injustices. But in the lead-up to the civil war in the 1930s, this was enough to make him hated by Spain's right-wing nationalists. Like thousands of others during the conflict, Lorca was shot in August 1936 and buried in a mass grave. In many ways he symbolises the country's painful 20th-century history, and its modern-day struggle to come to terms with the past. 'Graves of forgetting' More than a quarter of a century after democracy came to Spain, more than 30,000 victims of the civil war and the repression that followed still lie in mass graves, scattered across the country. Spaniards call them the graves of forgetting. 30,000 Spanish families have no graveside to which they can bring flowers Emilio Silva Efforts by families to reclaim their loved-ones' remains have been hindered by a lack of official interest and funding. But pressure to open the grave shared by Lorca means the issue is coming under renewed - and for many unwelcome public scrutiny. It comes as no surprise that the man credited with finding Lorca's grave is no Spaniard. Ian Gibson, an Irishman and Lorca expert, started looking in 1965. "Of course then Spaniards were living in a dictatorship and were not free at all to speak of assassinations and mass graves," he says. "But even now people say it's better to forget. But how can Spain forget if it's never officially remembered. Scars can't heal until you admit they are there." Fame Certainly other campaigners like Emilio Silva believes the past should not be forgotten. We see no point in re-opening old wounds Manuel Atencia Member of Parliament Three years ago he founded the Spanish Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory and began the process of opening the country's mass graves. He asked to meet me in Madrid's largest graveyard. "You see this," he said, pointing at the grand-looking graves all around. "30,000 Spanish families have no graveside to which they can bring flowers. Their loved-ones lie dumped with other unfortunates in mass graves." In fact, so much attention is being paid to Lorca that many other families feel resentful, he says. "They don't see why, just because he was a poet and playwright, he should get special treatment," he said. "But I think this will work in their favour. Lorca's fame is a chance for us to say to the rest of the world that we have a problem.' Pact But there are those who argue that it is for the good of Spain that the past remains buried along with its victims. Thousands were killed during Franco's 40-year rule In 1975 the country's politicians decided to draw a line under the civil war and 40 years of fascism. There was no looking back. It is known here as the Pact of Silence. Even decades later, many are reluctant to break it. One of them is pro-government MP Manuel Atencia. "Of course the government recognises the rights of families to privately re-bury their dead, but we see no point in re-opening old wounds that afflicted Spanish society. These matters are for historians, not politicians," he told me. A considerable number of Spaniards agree. Even Lorca's relatives are against disturbing their uncle's grave - though they are being shouted down by the families of the men who share the grave and by the poet's fans. Laura Garcia Lorca de Los Rios runs the Lorca museum in Granada, where the poet and his family lived for many years. "We feel the mass graves are a kind of cemetery as they are," he said. "My uncle lies in good and noble company and the little information to be gleaned from digging up the graves doesn't justify what is essentially an extremely violent act." Digging out the past But blocking out the past does not stop the pain. Up to 3,000 people are buried in a mass grave in Viznar, a village just outside Granada, close to where Lorca is thought to lie. Like the other mass graves across Spain, there is little to indicate that such a tragedy is buried here in a hilly woodland. Only a clump of stones and a handful of artificial flowers mark the spot. Paco Gonzalez Arroyo, a local historian who brought me there is visibly moved. "Anyone who comes to this place feels the sadness and pain," he said. "The flowers and the stones bear witness to it - laid by the families of the dead, fed-up that their loved ones are abandoned here anonymously." For Spain digging up the past could be the way to finally lay its ghosts to rest But the process is only just beginning. In the meantime Lorca's fame gives a face and a name to Spain's dead thrown in ditches.
[See Archivo Guerra y Exilio www.nodo50.org/age/ OR www.galeon.com/agenoticias/ OE Asociacion para la Recuperacion de la Memoria Historica (Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory)]www.memoriahistorica.org

WP 11 Mar 2004 Madrid Explosions Kill at Least 173 No Claims of Responsibility, Interior Minister Blames Basque Separatists By Keith B. Richburg and Fred Barbash Washington Post Staff Writers Thursday, March 11, 2004; 11:19 AM MADRID, March 11 -- A series of explosions ripped through several packed commuter trains in the Spanish capital of Madrid during Thursday morning's rush hour, killing at least 182 people and wounding at least 900, according to Spain's Interior Ministry. Many of the wounded have life-threatening injuries. It was the deadliest attack in Western Europe in recent memory. Authorities said the blasts came from 10 TNT-laden backpacks placed on trains, which have little or no pre-boarding security. The attacks come three days before Spaniards go to the polls in national elections, and candidates for all the major parties immediately suspended campaigning. There was no public claim of responsibility for the bombings. But in statements, Spain's political leadership blamed ETA, the Basque separatist organization, which has waged a campaign of bombings and assassinations for decades in pursuit of independence for the Basque region of northeast Spain. They dismissed speculation that Islamic extremists might have been involved in retaliation for Spain's participation in the U.S. led occupation of Iraq. Outgoing Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar pledged that those responsible for Thursday's devastating blasts at Madrid train stations would be arrested. In a televised address, Aznar said the 173 victims were killed "simply for being Spanish." "The criminals who have caused so many deaths today will be arrested," he said. "We will succeed in finishing off the terrorist band," he said, employing the term used by the government to refer to armed Basque separatist group ETA, but not naming it. "It is absolutely clear that the terrorist organization ETA was seeking an attack with wide repercussions," Spain's Interior Minister Angel Acebes told a news conference, dismissing speculation that any other group could be involved. While offering no proof, he said Spanish authorities disrupted an ETA plot to place explosives on trains in December. "Any attempt to divert attention from those responsible for the attack is intolerable," he added. In recent days, ETA declared a ceasefire only for the Catalonia region of Spain -- a tactic which many politicians here feared presaged a pre-election attack elsewhere in the country. Spanish authorities recently confiscated a truckload of explosives they said was being transported for ETA use. ETA has never been able to mount an attack of this scale, however. And Arnoldo Otegi, the head of the outlawed Batasuna party, the political party connected with ETA, went on the radio Thursday to declare that Islamic extremists, rather than ETA, were responsible. The main target of Thursday's attack was Madrid's Atocha train station, a hub of national and international train travel. The dead and injured there were said to be mostly workers and students on their way to Madrid from east of the capital. Other explosions were reported by Spanish radio at the Pozo commuter station and the Santa Eugenia station. Authorities said they believed that 13 backpacks packed with TNT were placed on trains. Ten of the backpacks exploded. Another 3 backpacks were detonated by authorities afterward. The first explosion was reported at 7:35 a.m., the height of the morning rush hour for people who begin their work or classes at 8 a.m. The last explosion occurred about 20 minutes later, Spanish national radio said. Television images showed train cars ripped in half. The number of dead and wounded was so large that Spanish emergency services were overstretched. Authorities made an appeal for the wounded who could still walk to not take ambulances to hospitals, and there were widespread appeals for blood donations. The scale of the attacks, and the death toll would make it Spain's worst ever terror attack in 30 years of separatist violence, and one of the largest ever in post-war Western Europe. "It is the worst act of terror in the history of Spain and the worst act of terror in memory in any European Union state," European Parliament President Pat Cox said. President Bush condemned deadly bombings in Spain Thursday as a "vicious act of terrorism." Bush called Aznar to "express his solidarity with the people of Spain at this difficult moment," said White House National Security Council spokesman Sean McCormack. ETA had become an issue in the current parliamentary election campaign. The ruling Popular Party candidate, Mariano Rajoy, had pledged to pursue the same hard-line policies against ETA as Aznar. He accused the Socialist Party challenger, Jose Luis Rodrigues Zapatero, of being softer on terrorism, in part because the ceasefire in Catalonia had been announced after a secret meeting between a Socialist party figure and leaders of the ETA underground. Rajoy said that showed that the Socialists could not be trusted to continue Aznar's policy of refusing to negotiate with ETA. Zapatero had condemned the meeting. Spain has also been on the alert for Islamic extremist terror attacks, because of the Aznar government's close ties with the United States on the Iraq war and the presence of 1,300 Spanish troops in Iraq. Some media speculated that the simultaneous nature of today's explosions was more the hallmark of al Qaeda, not ETA. Also, journalists said, ETA in the past has most often targeted government officials and members of the security services, and ETA car bombs in the past have rarely been so deadly. The largest known ETA attack previously came at a supermarket in 1987 in the Basque country that killed 21 people, Spanish media reports said. ETA's rebellion, which has claimed more than 800 lives, began in the early 1960s during the repressive 40-year Spanish dictatorship of Gen. Francisco Franco. It has continued to bedevil the democratic governments that followed Franco's death in 1976. Spain has granted the country's Basques broad autonomy but has drawn the line at independence. Fred Barbash reported from Washington.


BBC 3 March, 2004, Swiss pardon woman who saved Jews - Switzerland closed its borders to Jews in 1942 The Swiss government has pardoned a woman who smuggled Jewish refugees into Switzerland during World War II. Aimee Stitelmann, 79, was imprisoned for 15 days almost 60 years ago for breaking Swiss immigration laws after the country closed its borders in 1942. She is the first person to benefit from a law introduced this year which offers pardons to those punished for helping Jews get into Switzerland. A further 27 people are waiting for similar pardons. Hid children Mrs Stitelmann was only 16 when she began smuggling Jewish children over the border from France. She rescued 15 Jewish children, many of whose parents died in concentration camps. Sometimes she led them across the fields at night, on other occasions she even took the train and hid the children under the seats or under coats. After her imprisonment, the Swiss authorities regarded her as a convicted criminal, and for four decades they monitored her activities, even her phone calls.

swissinfo 5 Mar 2004 www.swissinfo.org Switzerland pardons Jewish refugee helpers January 1, 2004 3:43 PM A Holocaust survivor looks through his documents Swiss people who were punished for helping victims of the Nazi regime cross the Swiss border will now be pardoned under a new law. But the rehabilitation does not include any financial compensation and many of those persecuted have since died. RELATED ITEMS Book reopens dark chapter in Swiss history Zurich students to study Swiss wartime role Bankers deny obstruction over Holocaust funds Although Switzerland took in more than 300,000 refugees from the countries under the control of the Nazi regime, it also turned away an estimated 20,000 people, mostly Jews. In order to maintain its neutral status, Switzerland set up strict controls along its borders to prevent an influx of refugees. However, many people living along the Swiss border braved the risk of prosecution to smuggle people into the country. Those caught helping refugees into Switzerland were punished with a fine or even a prison sentence. But under the new law, their judgements can be reversed. Paul Rechsteiner, the Social Democrat parliamentarian who tabled the initiative, says the new law was also important for repairing Switzerland’s reputation. “It’s a very important step because it shows within the Swiss people there are a lot of people who did a lot to help the refugees, who did a lot of anti-Nazi activities and this also restores the honour of Switzerland,” he told swissinfo earlier. Posthumous pardon But many of those punished for helping refugees have not lived to see the day they were officially pardoned. Rechsteiner successfully fought for the posthumous rehabilitation of Paul Grüninger, a Swiss police officer, in 1995, setting a precedent. Grüninger had been prosecuted for faking documents to save thousands of Jews from the Nazi regime. And, because the law makes no provision for any form of compensation, the rehabilitation is largely symbolic. The law was finally approved by parliament in June 2003. This followed on from a governmental declaration in 2002 that stated that the punishments handed out had been unjust and that those who helped the refugees were acting purely out of altruism.

swissinfo 5 Mar 2004 www.swissinfo.org Nazi-era refugee helper wins pardon swissinfo March 3, 2004 4:42 PM Aimée Stitelmann is the first Swiss to be pardoned for helping wartime refugees (Keystone) Parliament has pardoned a woman who helped smuggle wartime refugees - mostly Jews - into Switzerland during the Second World War. Aimée Stitelmann became the first person to benefit from legislation introduced on January 1. The law grants a pardon to anyone imprisoned or fined for helping refugees get into Switzerland during the Nazi era but does not require compensation to be paid. Between 1942 and 1945, Stitelmann – herself a Jew and now 79 years old – helped around 15 people, mainly orphaned children, cross the border secretly from France to Switzerland to escape the Nazis. “I believe it’s very, very important to publicly recognise the work of these people. It’s to Switzerland’s credit,” said parliamentarian Martine Brunschwig Graf, a member of the commission which granted the pardon. Illegal Helping refugees enter the country was considered a criminal offence and refugee helpers risked fines, the loss of their jobs or even imprisonment. In 1945 Stitelmann was sentenced to 15 days in a military detention camp after she was caught trying to lead two refugee helpers into France. Ever since, the Swiss authorities have kept detailed records of all her activities. During the war, Switzerland accepted around 300,000 European refugees, but it also turned away at least 20,000 people – mainly Jews. At the same time several thousand Jewish refugees were helped by local people. To maintain its neutral status and to prevent an influx of wartime refugees, Switzerland imposed strict controls along its borders. Apology The Swiss government apologised officially for its treatment of wartime refugees in 1995. And moves to change the law on granting pardons to refugee helpers began after parliamentarian Paul Rechsteiner tabled a parliamentary initiative. Rechsteiner set a precedent when he won a posthumous pardon for Paul Grüninger, a Swiss police officer prosecuted for faking documents to save thousands of Jews from the Nazi regime. In 2002 the government declared that the punishments handed out to those who had helped refugees during the war had been unjust. Parliament approved a change in the law in June 2003 Stitelmann is the first person to have her name cleared; the cases of another 27 people are still pending. “It’s important that the commission’s work is transparent and that its decisions get as much coverage throughout the Swiss media as possible,” Brunschwig Graf told swissinfo.

unwatch.org 24 Mar 2004 THE WEDNESDAY WATCH ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY FROM UN WATCH IN GENEVA Wednesday, 24 March 2004 Issue 119 Following is an edited version of a UN Watch article published today on the opinion page of The Jerusalem Post: As the 60th session of the UN Commission on Human Rights (CHR) opened last week, a sense of diamond jubilee celebration was strikingly absent. No wonder: for most states represented, institutions that empower individuals are seen not as a cause to celebrate, but a threat. As for the moral minority, anniversary cheer is difficult as the Geneva gathering steadily sinks into its annual abyss of Orwellian doublespeak, moral inversions and calculated scapegoating. Still, if democratic nations summon will and initiative--hitherto wielded by an axis appearing on Freedom House’s "Most Repressive Regimes" list--they, together with new personalities at the Commission, might begin paving a road to reform. At the Commission, now more than ever, it is the inmates who are running the asylum. Consider the past three years. First, in 2001, the United States was unprecedently denied a seat at the Commission’s 53-member table. Hard lobbying by China and Cuba, aimed at muzzling their strongest critic, produced a tacit alliance with Europe, who, long before the row over Iraq, was looking to put Washington in its place. Next, in the 2002 session, America’s removal led to what government-controlled Iranian TV trumpeted as "a very important and decisive development." After a UN human rights expert reported on the Islamic Republic’s chilling practices--flogging of youths, systematic discrimination against women, "public and especially cruel executions," torture and killing of political activists--members of the Commission, driven by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), voted down any attempt at reproving Tehran. And then they fired the expert. Finally, in 2003, the veil was gone: Colonel Khadaffi’s jamhariyah, the "state of the masses" whose record of abuse Human Rights Watch described as "appalling," was chosen to be Chair of the UN’s top human rights body. Only Canada and Guatamela joined the U.S. in opposition; Europe abstained. Any remaining vestige of the Commission’s legitimacy evaporated overnight. The current session, just underway, looks like a repeat. Already, Cuba rejected an expert report on its imprisonment of dissidents, barring its author from visiting the Communist island. The Palestinians advocated more "armed means" (read: bus bombings) against Israel. The Pakistanis, acting for the OIC, have just pushed through a special sitting to discuss the killing of Hamas leader Ahmed Yassin. Their goal: ignore the spreading fires of terror that hit Madrid, Karbala and Ashdod, and condemn the legitimate attempts to put them out. Amid all the darkness, however, three new stars may shine light on this session, and the CHR’s future direction. This year’s Chair is Ambassador Michael Smith of Australia. The obstacles are many, but he is sincerely seeking reform. Another luminary is Richard Williamson, head of the U.S. delegation. He is vigorously advancing a vision of freedom as the birthright of all, demanding that states such as Burma, Iran or North Korea put an end to their abusive policies and practices, whether against women’s equality, the rights of children or of ethnic and religious minorities. Finally, Canadian Justice Louise Arbour, a former international prosecutor, will later this year become High Commissioner. Hopes are high that she will emulate the independent-minded Sergio de Mello, murdered last year by terrorists in Iraq. Ultimately, reform of the Commission depends on the will of democracies to form their own alliance. A caucus is materializing in connection with the emerging Community of Democracies. Should the Commission’s new leadinglights wish to adopt a project that stands to make a real difference for human rights victims worldwide, this is the one.

www.swissinfo.org Swiss foundation honours Rwandan hero swissinfo March 19, 2004 11:44 AM Damas Gisimba, the winner of the Paul Grüninger Prize 2004 The Paul Grüninger Foundation has awarded its prize for humanity and courage to a man who saved hundreds of lives during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Damas Mutenzintare Gisimba is the second winner of the prize, set up in memory of a Swiss police chief who rescued Jews during the Second World War. The prize, which is to be presented at a ceremony in St Gallen on Friday, is given to individuals or organisations deemed to have made a significant contribution towards safeguarding the freedom and dignity of others. In a statement, the foundation said that Gisimba had won the award because he had shown exceptional courage during the genocide that took place in Rwanda in 1994. Ten years ago tensions exploded between ethnic Tutsis and Hutus, and in the ensuing violence an estimated 800,000 people - mostly Tutsis - were killed. At the time, Gisimba was the director of an orphanage in the capital, Kigali. A Hutu but married to a Tutsi, he sheltered more than 80 adults and 300 children in his orphanage. The 32-year-old managed to feed and shelter them for several months – the massacres took place between April and June – at considerable risk to himself and his family. “The orphanage… which was the home of 64 children, was at the time of the massacres a refuge for about 400 people who practically had no other chance of surviving,” said the foundation. “Damas Mutenzintare Gisimba therefore opposed this genocide with incredible humanity, determination and courage,” it added. Calling Gisimba, who still runs the orphanage set up by his father in 1980, said he felt that he had to do something to help. “I saw that everyone was in danger,” he said in a newspaper interview. “I told myself I just can’t let this happen. “If I had to die, then at least I would have died after having done something.” Every day, Gisimba would find food and water for his charges. He also protected them from the frequent searches by the Hutu militia, as well as dissuading them from joining in the violence themselves. However, Gisimba denies that he was a hero. “I only did what my conscience and my faith told me to do. And with God’s help I survived,” he said. Ceremony Gisimba is due to receive his SFr50,000 ($29,240) prize at a special ceremony at the foundation’s headquarters in St Gallen. It will be handed over by William Schabas, a Rwanda expert and director of the Irish centre for human rights at the National University of Ireland in Galway. It is only that the second time that the triennial prize has been awarded. The first winner was Afghan doctor Sima Samar in 2001. Samar was commended for her work running a network of hospitals and schools for Afghan women and children. The award was set up in memory of the former St Gallen police chief, Paul Grüninger, who took advantage of his position to help Jewish refugees enter Switzerland. Grüninger was posthumously pardoned in 1995 for faking documents to save thousands of Jews from Nazi persecution. Paul Grüninger Stiftung. www.paul-grueninger.ch German French

Background www.winonadailynews.com 28 Oct 2003 Cotter students reunite, learn with Rwandan orphanage organizer By Kirsten Singleton of the Winona Daily News Damas Gisimba finds it hard sometimes to discuss the genocide that swept his country, Rwanda, in April 1994. As head of the Gisimba Memorial Centre, a haven for 64 orphans, Gisimba saw firsthand the devastation created in the central African country by two battling tribes, the governing Hutus and the Tutsis. It's a story he told Monday afternoon to students at Cotter High School. "As students and as young people, you should try and spread the history of Rwanda and of the genocide and what happened, and (I) would like you to be good ambassadors of peace," he told the students, using an interpreter. Cotter students have two of their classmates to thank for Gisimba's visit. Alex Nsengimana and Alphonse Bizimana grew up in Gisimba's orphanage, but now are completing their education in Winona, thanks to their friendship with the Robb and Ellen Wunderlich family, whom Alex and Alphonse met three years ago when touring with the African Children's Choir. The Wunderlich family was instrumental in bringing Alex and Alphonse to the United States to continue their education at Cotter. Gisimba, in Washington DC to speak at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum for his work protecting people during the Rwandan genocide, hoped to travel to Winona to visit with Alex and Alphonse. Funding from National Public Radio and Minnesota Public Radio made the trip possible. Others from the orphanage have traveled the world, sometimes with the children's choir, an outreach program to raise funds and awareness of the situation currently in Africa, he said. But Alex and Alphonse were the first to stay. "It was really an exception that Alex and Alphonse found a family that wanted to welcome them for a long time," Gisimba said. Though the boys made it through the Rwandan genocide, their parents and other family members lost their lives. Gisimba detailed the country's history: Rwanda consisted of three main tribes: the Twa, the Hutus and the Tutsis. Rwanda was ruled by a king for many years and, during that time, the Tutsis ruled, dominating the more populous Hutus. In 1957, the Hutus called for a change in Rwanda's power structure that would give them more power. Fighting broke out, the Hutus won, and about 100,000 Tutsis fled to neighboring countries. In the early 1990s, Tutsi refugees starting fighting their way back into the country. In April 1994, the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi were killed in a plane crash, and massive civil battles broke out. Rwandan soldiers and Hutu gangs killed an estimated 500,000 to 800,000 people, mostly Tutsis and moderate Hutus. During that time n April to June 1994 n Gisimba was protecting both Hutus and Tutsis at the orphanage. What began as a home for 64 orphans became a refuge for more than 400 children and adults, only six of whom died, he said. There were daily attacks from the militia, who believed Tutsis were hiding out in the orphanage, Gisimba said. "They were atrocious moments," he said. "We didn't know if we would see tomorrow. … We would see people dead in the streets, and we didn't know if we would be next." Babies died because they were taken from their mothers and the orphanage didn't have the necessary milk, he said. There was little to eat or drink. "Whatever there was, was taken by the militia," he said. The Rwandan Patriotic Front -mainly Tutsi refugees n eventually won control of the country, but more than 2 million Rwandans, nearly all Hutus, fled the country. Now, Gisimba says he has hopes for the future. "He hopes for the future of Rwanda that justice and truth would prevail so the different groups can reconcile," Gisimba's interpreter told the audience. But there's a lot of pain to heal, Gisimba said. "This won't happen very fast."

United Kingdom

Guardian UK 2 Mar 2004 Lawyers submit war crimes petition Matthew Tempest and agencies Tuesday March 2, 2004 A group of anti-war lawyers today tried to indict Tony Blair and the foreign and defence secretaries for war crimes over the invasion of Iraq. The group Legal Action Against War have submitted a petition to the international criminal court in the Hague today, asking them to investigate alleged offences by Mr Blair, Jack Straw, Geoff Hoon, and the attorney general, Lord Goldsmith. The group said "a principal charge" was "intentionally launching an attack knowing that it will cause incidental loss of life or injury to civilians". The legal team said the reasons given for the war - from weapons of mass destruction to the violation of UN resolutions and regime change - were not justified under the UN charter. Michael Mansfield QC, who is leading the campaign, said "The consensus of international legal opinion suggests the basis for the war was illegal." Mr Mansfield said the war would only have been legal with UN backing. Even then the coalition could not have used more force than was necessary. That meant it was illegal to use cluster bombs, he said. Mr Mansfield insisted he was not prejudging the allegations, but it was vital for the ICC to investigate them. "We are saying there are matters here that prima facie need to be investigated," he said. "What is the point of having an international court if one of the gravest things this country has ever done the ICC is to turn its back on, and say it will only look at banana republics or African states or countries that have greater vulnerability than the leaders of the west - which can operate above and beyond the rule of law?" Mr Mansfield conceded that there would be "extraordinary reluctance" to indict ministers but he said there was "a real case" that they should be investigated. The manoeuvre comes a day after the latest inquiry into the Iraq war was plunged into controversy by the decision of the Conservative leader, Michael Howard, to withdraw his support. Inquiry chairman Lord Butler last night rejected Mr Howard's claim that he had interpreted his remit too narrowly. And former Conservative minister Michael Mates said that he would continue to serve on the committee, which is looking into the intelligence on Iraq's supposed weapons of mass destruction, despite the withdrawal of his leader's support. Mr Ancram defended the decision to pull out, saying that Lord Butler's interpretation of his terms of reference meant he would not be able to look at the judgments ministers made in relation to the intelligence they received. He dismissed government claims of opportunism and insisted Mr Howard had tried to give the inquiry a "fair wind" by seeking to negotiate terms of reference which were acceptable to him. The Liberal Democrat leader, Charles Kennedy, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the inquiry could still carry out a valuable assessment of intelligence. "But it will not answer the fundamental question, which is the one which the British people increasingly want addressed," he said. He accused the Conservatives of a spectacular U-turn. "The position of the Conservative party, quite frankly, is risible," he said. Mr Straw himself will not be in the country to hear the war crimes case against him - after taking Foreign Office questions in the Commons this morning, the foreign secretary flies to Istanbul for a memorial service for those killed in the bombings of the British consulate and the HSBC bank. He then goes on to Pakistan before travelling to Afghanistan. During questioning in the Commons, Mr Straw condemned his former cabinet colleague Clare Short as "deeply irresponsible" over her claims that the UK bugged the UN. But he refused to confirm or deny her allegations, saying merely that security services "operate strictly in accordance with statutory provisions which take full account of international law".

Guardian UK 2 Mar 2004 Britain bows to US boycott of war crime court Blunkett's 'close friends' deal with US attorney general over extradition treaty prevents American troops being handed to Hague court David Hencke and Rob Evans Tuesday March 2, 2004 The Guardian The government has been accused of undermining the international criminal court in the Hague by bowing to American pressure for a new extradition treaty. The British decision has caused dismay among rights groups. It means anyone extradited from the US to Britain will not be handed over to the international criminal court. The UK recognises the court, but the US has refused to accept it and has put pressure on many countries to prevent anyone in the US being sent for trial there. The court tries those accused of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. The Americans object to any of their armed forces serving throughout the world being hauled before the court. They have seized on a need to renegotiate the US/UK treaty to push their agenda of not recognising the court. Britain would be, critics claim, in breach of its agreement with the rest of the European Union if it followed the US line - but extradition law is a grey area. The decision will not affect many people, but they will be facing serious charges: from insider trading to drug and people smuggling, murder, rape and violent crime. In 1998 the UK wanted to extradite 10 people from the US, while the US was seeking to extradite 55. The agreement applies to Americans and other nationalities in the US and all its overseas territories, including Puerto Rico, Guam, the US Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Midway Islands - many of them places where the US has bases. It would also protect US military personnel and holidaymakers in Britain, provided they had already returned home. Richard Dicker, counsel to Human Rights Watch, the respected New York-based international group, said: "Britain played a leading role in setting up the court and it was in the Labour manifesto. "The international criminal court is not another state, and the perverse result of this could mean that a person extradited from the US for one offence could use Britain as a safe haven if they are being sought for horrific crimes against human rights." Lord Goodhart, the Liberal Democrat spokesman in the Lords, said : "Whether this provision is legal or not, it is still clear quite clear that the home secretary [David Blunkett] has gone against the spirit of the law governing the new court." The demand over the court was made by the Americans during secret negotiations for a new US-UK extradition treaty. The treaty, slipped through parliament before Christmas, comes into effect once it has been scrutinised by the US Senate, expected to be later this year. Agreement appears to have been helped by the strong friendship between David Blunkett and John Ashcroft, the US attorney general, in the aftermath of September 11, as shown in documents released to the Guardian under the US freedom of information act. In one letter Mr Ashcroft told Mr Blunkett: "It is my prayer that God will continue to bless you and your service to United Kingdom." And in a hand-written note he praised Mr Blunkett for his "warm friendship, kind hospitality and wonderful lunch " when they discussed the "war on terrorism". In letters, released by the Home Office, Mr Blunkett confirms to Mr Ashcroft that "the UK would contest any request from the international criminal court for [the] surrender" of anyone extradited from the US. His decision has been strongly defended by Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, in a letter to Sir Menzies Campbell, Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman. Mr Straw says he informed all European Union countries and they raised no objection: "The provisions of the extradition treaty are entirely compatible with the UK's obligations under the Rome statute [which set up the International Criminal Court] and in no way contravene the EU common position." The new treaty has also been criticised for being one-sided. Britons facing extradition to the US for crimes with jail sentences of a year or more will lose their right to argue in a British court that there must be prima facie evidence to link them to the offence. US citizens, protected by a written constitution, will still have that right. One document shows that American officials were irritated by the British courts' attitude to handing over criminal suspects: "The UK is one of our busiest extradition partners" and "also one of the most difficult countries from which to obtain extradition", because "hearsay evidence is not accepted".

BBC 4 March, 2004, County recognises 'genocide' Appalling atrocities happened in the Ottoman Empire's last days Gwynedd Council has become the first local authority in Wales to recognise the mass killings of Armenian men, women and children during World War I as genocide. The move came after Plaid Cymru President and Gwynedd County Councillor Dafydd Iwan put forward a motion for the authority to recognise that 1.5 million Armenian people died at the hands of Turkey's Ottoman Empire. He also called for Turkey to end economic sanctions on Armenia and for the British Government and Welsh Assembly Government not to support Turkish application for membership of the European Union until it accepted the events as genocide. A meeting of the full council on Thursday unanimously accepted the motion and Gwynedd will now call on the other 21 Welsh authorities to back the motion. The genocide of the Armenian people was one of the greatest atrocities of the 20th Century. Dafydd Iwan Mr Iwan said: "Since Turkey is preparing to become a member of the European Union, it is very important that it puts its house in order in terms of civil rights - its treatment of the Kurds and to admit their holocaust of the Armenian people, especially during the First World War. "The genocide of the Armenian people was one of the greatest atrocities of the 20th Century and one which has largely gone unrecognised." He said he hoped to foster closer links between Wales and Armenia and is hoping to visit there during the summer. Mr Iwan said the deaths amounted to 'a holocaust of Armenians' He said it had been estimated between 600,000 and 1.5 million Armenians were massacred or deported from their homeland in Anatolia to present-day Syria from 1915. But the Turkish government has always denied there was any orchestrated genocide. 'Guerrilla war' Hasbi Akal, from the Turkish Embassy in London, said: "Armenians had been a respected and honoured part of the Ottoman Empire. "However, from 1870s onwards, some parts of the Armenian population became instrumental to Tsarist Russia's expansion strategy and established armed bands to stage a guerrilla war behind the Ottoman battle lines. "The Ottoman government's resulting decision to displace them out of the war zone caused losses both from the Armenian and the local Muslim (Turkish) population. This was not a policy of extermination or genocide. "The question remains a matter of debate amongst historians. Many Armenians believe 1.5 million of their ancestors were killed "Turkey does not impose economic sanctions on Armenia...but continues to work for and hopes that Armenia will adopt a constructive and peaceful approach in its region toward its neighbours, in accordance with international law." Mr Iwan said many states in the USA, where millions of Armenians live, had recognised the deaths as genocide. But he said the British and US governments were "very keen to keep on friendly terms with Turkey because of their strategic position and air bases". Fifteen countries have agreed to label the killings as genocide, including France, Switzerland and Russia.


Deutsche Presse Agentur 3 Mar 2004 Girls', women's roles in civil wars more widespread, study finds New York (dpa) - A Canadian-sponsored study published Wednesday showed that recruitment and abductions of girls and women to fight in many civil wars in Africa were widespread even though governments in the region denied a role in the practice. The Montreal-based group, Rights and Democracy, spent more than three years studying the role and presence of girls and women in civil wars in Sierra Leone, Angola, Uganda, Congo, Liberia and other countries, concluding that the issue has been underestimated and misunderstood. The study, entitled "Where Are the Girls?'', said some of the female recruits chose to take part in the conflicts and carried out acts of violence while others were coerced into fighting or taking up traditional tasks like cooking and cleaning for an army. In Mozambique, northern Uganda and Sierra Leone, "girls and women are oppressed in countless ways,'' the study said. But it added that girls, who usually were made to work more hours than boys, gained more experience and power in wars in which they were provided opportunities to learn new skills. "Thus war can simultaneously oppress girls and women and expand their possibilities,'' the study said. Girls and women played many roles in both government and opposition forces in Mozambique, including as combatants, intelligence officers, porters, medics and slave labour. In those three countries, the study said, girls in fighting forces have suffered "major human rights violations, especially gender-based violence''. "The rights of these girls are under threat from their own governments, armed opposition forces and occasionally by members of their communities and families,'' the study said. The 145-page study gave estimates of the size of some rebel armies and their makeup. In Sierra Leone, about half the 45,000 rebels of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) were child soldiers, and among those child soldiers were 7,500 girls. The study said about 3,000 girls were found in the government's SLA army and the pro-government CDF. Both the SLA and CDF had more than 80,000 troops during the civil war. The study was sponsored by the Canadian International Development Agency. It also showed a pattern of abduction of girls into rebel armies from 1990 to 2003, with the majority of them coming from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Uganda. Other abductions were carried out as far away as Columbia, Germany, Yugoslavia, Iraq and Turkey, it said. In general, girl soldiers were found in other countries where civil wars had taken place, including several countries in Latin America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. As of November 2003, the study said, girls and women took part in conflicts in Angola, Burundi, Congo, Liberia, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, Colombia, Burma, India, Nepal, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Spain, Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

news source abbreviations

AFP - Agence France-Presse
Agenzia Giornalistica Italia Italy www.agi.it http://www.agi.it/english/news.pl
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
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
National Native News
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
Pacific News Service nonprofit alternative source of news and analysis since 1969PANA - Panafrican News Agency
Peace Negotiations Watch
 (PILPG) Weekly News monitor since Sept. 2002
PTI - Press Trust of India
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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