"Law does not cease to exist because it is broken or even because it is broken on a large scale. Neither does the escape of some criminals abolish penal justice" Sir Frederick Pollack (1845-1937)
"Crimes against international law are committed by men, not by abstract entities, and only by punishing individuals who commit such crimes can the provisions of international law be enforced." Judgment of the International Military Tribunal for the Trial of German Major War Criminals, The Law of the Charter 30 September 1946
Most perpetrators of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity never stand trial for their crimes. Cases brought before national courts are often only known in the country or region where the trial occurred. In some cases the accused persons are prosecuted for international crimes which have been incorporated into domestic law. In other cases the accused are prosecuted for regular domestic offenses, such as murder, because the nation has failed to adequately incorporate international crimes into domestic law even when that nation has ratified the relevant international treaties.
The importance of domestic prosecution of international crimes can not be underestimated. International tribunals are designed to judge only the most serious cases of international crime. In many instances it may be preferable for a competent national court to decide such a case. Domestic trials of genocide and other international offenses can play a crucial role in establishing a culture of legal justice in the aftermath of such massive crimes.
Below are summaries of cases in which criminal acts considered to be international crimes were tried by domestic courts. Viewed together the cases summarized fall into three broad categories, each category having features which make such trials somewhat controversial. The three categories are: 1) trials occurring soon after crime was committed, usually soon after the former regime has collapsed and sometimes while hostilities continue; 2) trials occurring in another country, by courts exercising jurisdiction over the criminal act because the crime is regarded as an international offense; 3) trials occurring many years after the crime occurred, because there is no statute of limitations for the offense, and often because the accused person has been beyond the reach of justice, the relevant evidence has been unavailable or the political will to prosecute has been insufficient.
The summaries below are compiled from press reports. Most of the cases were brought to trial in the years since 1995.
Joseph Budigoma, and Dedite Ndikuriyo, army officers of the Ngozi commando battalion of the Burundi Armed Forces, were convicted by a military court (conseil de guerre) for their role in the massacre at two hill settlements in Itaba commune, Gitega province on September 9, 2002. Between 173 and 267 persons were killed many of them women, children and the elderly. The defendants were originally charged with murder, but these charges was dropped. The two men were convicted on the lesser charges of breaching public solidarity (manquement à la solidarité publique ) and failure to follow orders (violation de consignes militaires) on the grounds that they had failed to give a report of the incident. The military prosecutor reportedly argued that as civilians had been given the order to leave the area whenever combatants were present those who stayed behind were correctly considered as combatants. Army spokesman Colonel Augustin Nzabampema confirmed the sentencing and release: "The lenient sentence is explained by the fact that the two officers did not have direct responsibility for what happened in Itaba."
After the trial Irene Khan, Secretary General of Amnesty International. commented: "The Burundian authorities initially claimed that the victims had been killed in crossfire between the army and combatants from the Conseil National pour la Défense de la Démocratie - Forces pour la Défense de la Démocratie (CNDD-FDD), National Council for the Defence of Democracy - Forces for the Defence of Democracy. As more details came to light, it became clear that the army was solely responsible for the killings; that CNDD-FDD fighters had already left the area; that the civilian population had been deliberately targeted; and that most of the victims had been shot at point blank range. Others had been shot as they attempted to flee, or burnt alive in houses where they had hidden. . . . Once again it is clear that there is simply no will to hold the Burundian armed forces accountable for their actions and to bring them to justice for gross human rights violations. . . The failure to properly investigate, hold fully accountable and bring to justice members of the armed forces suspected of being responsible for gross human rights violations is almost absolute."
More than 500 unarmed civilians including scores of children were killed in massacres in Burundi during 2002. Despite hundreds of such killings each year since 1993, very few soldiers even face trial for human rights violations. In the rare prosecutions that do take place, convicted defendants receive disproportionately light sentences, which are not only insulting but serve to reinforce the impunity of the armed forces. "The culture of impunity is very deep," said Eugene Nindorera, a former government minister of human rights. "Lots of crimes are committed in the full light of day, but such is the atmosphere of fear and retribution that no one denounces the perpetrators." (Reuters 2 May 2003). For details see the News Monitor Sep 2002 and Oct 2002.
95 Defendents alegedly involved in secatian rioting IN February 5, 2001 a Crminal Court i Sohag in southern Egypt court, headed by Judge Mohamed Afifi, has acquitted all but four of 96 people charged with involvement in a January 2, 2000 sectarian riot which resulted in the deaths of 20 Coptic Christians and one Muslim.
in the country's worst religious violence for decades.Only four defendants received jail terms ranging between one and 10 years, harshest sentence was 10 years in jail for just one man, convicted of accidental homicide and illegal possession of a weapon. and none of 38 was convicted of premeditated murder.
Defence lawyer, Abul-Qassim el-Sherif oo many people became involved. It was difficult to know who were the perpetrators and who were the victims
Jan 200 In the end, however, the Many had expected lenient verdicts on the grounds that the police had not prepared a proper case against the suspects. 'Justice not done' But the ruling will leave many in th
village of Al-Kosheh Kosheh, about 440km (275 miles) south of Cairo,Twenty Christians and one Muslim died after a dispute between a Muslim and Christian over a piece of cloth degenerated into several days of killings and lootingA local priest told the BBC that justice had not been done. He said that security forces who had stood by while Christians were being killed had then protected the killers from punishment.
Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights, Hafez Abu-Se'eda, "the sentences prove the independence of the Egyptian judiciary and its long-enshrined tradition of protecting the rights of defendants." Citing the court's report explaining the reasons for the sentences, Abu-Se'eda said that lack of evidence and the arbitrary arrests which took place following the clashes made it impossible for judges to hand down harsh sentences.
In its report, the court, headed by Judge Mohamed Afifi, said that "it had doubts concerning the accusations made against the defendants, and whether they were the actual perpetrators." It added that the papers submitted to it "lacked conclusive material evidence that would satisfy the court that any of the defendants committed the crimes of which he is accused." The prosecutors, said the court, also excluded the names of certain suspects accused by eyewitnesses of taking part in the riots "without any justification and contrary to existing laws."
BBC 5 February, 2001, Crime without culprits? By Khaled Dawoud and Jailan Halawi Al-Ahram Weekly 15 - 21 February 2001
By Caroline Hawley in Cairo A court in Thirty-eight Muslims had faced the death penalty for their role in the clashes, which swept the just over a year ago. T. Security forces ringed the court as the judge delivered his verdict in what has been an extremely sensitive case.e Christian community angry. Although 20 Christians died, no-one has been found guilty of their murder. A Western diplomat who has been following the case closely also expressed surprise at the outcome. He said it was not clear whether incompetence or a cover-up was to blame.
The general-prosecutor's office announced on Sunday that it was "studying the court's report explaining the reasons for the sentences it handed down [on 5 February] in Al-Kosheh case, in preparation for contesting these with the Court of Cassation, [the highest court of appeal in the land]."
Diaa Rashwan, the managing editor of the annual State of Religion Report issued by Al-Ahram's Centre for Political and Strategic Studies, pointed out that Al-Kosheh's sentences were not unprecedented. He said that there were several cases in the past in which militants were accused of assassinating top officials, but were acquitted due to insufficient evidence. The best known case of this type is that of the late Parliament Speaker Rifaat Al-Mahgoub who was gunned down by suspected Gama'a Islamiya militants in 1990. After facing a trial that lasted for years, a group of leading Gama'a militants were found innocent due to insufficient evidence.
The criminal court in Sohag had acquitted nearly all 96 defendants who were blamed for some of the country's worst sectarian riots in decades which occurred in the village ofin southern Egypt a year ago. Following a spate of false rumours circulating in the village amidst already tense relations between the two confessional groups, clashes erupted on 2 January 2000 The sentences stunned most observers in view of the gravity of the crimes and the large number of those killed. The Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope Shenouda III, expressed displeasure with the ruling at a public seminar held at the Cairo Book Fair last week, saying that the Church was considering filing an appeal. Expatriate Coptic groups in the United States and Canada, known for their strong objections to the government's handling of relations with Christians, also unleashed a fresh campaign in the international press, claiming that Egyptian courts gave Muslims licence to kill Christians and escape unpunished. However, spokesmen for local human rights groups were the first to rush to defend the court's ruling, and affirm that it had no political or sectarian implications. "On the contrary," said secretary-general of the None of the defendants was caught red-handed, and most arrests were made days after the actual incidents took place "despite the heavy local police presence at the time of the events. No weapons or other tools used in the crimes were seized, and neither were the goods which the defendants were accused of stealing," said the court's report. It added that most of the accusations were based on circumstantial evidence, and noted that investigators even ignored the fact that some witnesses made accusations against people who were said to have been at more than one place at the same time. During a visit by Al-Ahram Weekly to Al-Kosheh shortly after the clashes, Muslims and Christians recounted different versions of how the clashes started and who took part in them. Villagers would repeat a certain story and insist that they were sure of what they were saying, despite admitting later that some of them were not even in Al-Kosheh at the time of the clashes. Taking the stories of their families or friends for granted, they would accuse certain persons of carrying out the killings. The atmosphere was chaotic indeed, and this did not escape the court's attention. Muslim families advanced an even more incredible version, insisting that all the killed Christians were gunned down by their own fire while shooting at Muslims. Prosecutors did not swallow this, and all 38 defendants accused, and cleared, of murder were Muslims. Another reason for their acquittal was that the court suspected that the "confessions" they made had been extracted from them by torture. Such sentences, said Rashwan, "confirm the independence of the judiciary, and that it does not take political considerations into account before handing down rulings." In cases like Al-Kosheh, convicted defendants and the general-prosecutor's office are the two parties entitled to appeal the sentences. The convicted defendants exercise the right of appeal if they believe the sentences are too harsh, while the general-prosecutor's office may seek a retrial if it believes the sentences are too lenient and that the court did not take into consideration certain evidence that might have resulted in harsher sentences. Yet, for someone like Bishop Wissa of the Al-Kosheh church, who was blamed by the court for inciting Christians, justice means that the actual killers should be found, put on trial and given appropriate punishment.
Ethiopia Article 281 (genocide) of the Ethiopian Penal Code of 1957
Mengistu Haile Mariam, former Prime Minister, Fikre Selassie Wogdereyes, and Tesseam Belay Mengistu were among a long list of defendants charged on December 13, 1994, under Article 281 (genocide) of the Ethiopian Penal Code of 1957. Many of the defendants are former members of the 108-person body called the Dergue Coordinating Committee of the Armed Forces whch ruled Ethiopia from September 12, 1974 military coup until May 28, 1991. The trial opened in 1994 with the reading of the 269-page document by the Special Prosecutor's Office (SPO) against these sixty-six living defendants. Twenty-one of the defendants are being tried in absentia (Mengistu Haile-Mariam is sheltered by President Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe), and all could face the death penalty if convicted. The document, alleging acts of genocide and other human rights violations, is based upon 309,215 pages of relevant government documents, many with clear signatures of high ranking officials. Among the crimes described were the killing of 1,823 identified victims (including former Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie on August 27 , 1975 and the Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church), bodily harm to 99 identified victims and enforced disappearances of 194 identified victims. Also included was the forced relocation policy which caused the deaths of about 100,000 persons in an artificial famine in the mid-1980s. In 1997, the Chief Special Prosecutor Girma Wakjira announced a new total of 5,198 persons charged with Dergue-era crimes. He said 2,246 of the offenders were in custody, and another 2,952 were accused in absentia. The trial of former Dergue leaders has been going on in Addis Ababa since 1996, and has already heard more than 100 witnesses.
In March 1997 additional trials of Dergue-era defendants opened before the Federal High Court in Addis Ababa. The SPO subdivided the defendants in three groups by degree of responsibility: 1) policy and decision makers; 2) intermediary level officials who relayed orders, but initiated some decisions on their own; and 3) the hands directly involved in committing the crimes. Mirroring the Dergue's committee structure, the SPO had structured the prosecutions by committee, leading to 172 cases, each of multiple defendants.
The enormity of these prosecutions has caused a serious crisis in the Ethiopian judiciary. Court proceedings have encountered constant delays and has left federal courts with a backlog of thousands of ordinary cases. Many of the defendants were in pretrial detention for years before appearing in court. The trials have come under criticism for violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Ethiopia ratified on June 11, 1993. The main areas of concern are detention without charge or trial, as well as violations of the the right to counsel, and the right to prepare an adequate defense.
Trial proceedings to date have focused on the period of political terror in the 1970s, without giving attention to the policy of mass forced resettlement in 1984, in which 1.5 million people from the "famine affected areas" in the north were moved to the "uninhabited virgin areas" in the southwest. The relief organization Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) describing this act as an "operation that will be described with hindsight in a few years' time as one of the greatest slaughters in the history of the twentieth century.'" By the end of 1985, 500,000 to 600,000 people had been resettled. Approximately 100,000 of those resettled died during the trip or in the resettlement camps, which were run like prisons. According to a report by MSF issued in 1986, "There can be no doubt that resettlement is the biggest killer in Ethiopia, not famine."
Getachew Terba, a former district governor and army lieutenant, was convicted by an Addis Ababa court on 9 November 1999 for ordering the detention, torture and execution of five alleged government opponents during the Red Terror campaign of 1977-78. Getachew Terba was the first person to be condemned to death.
Zeleke Zerihun, Colonel and former police officer in the Dergue's "Red Terror", was convicted on December 27, 1999 by the Federal High Court in Addis Ababa Zeleke is the fifth person to have been sentenced for his part in the "Red Terror".
In late November 2000 more trials were held in response to criticism over the court's slow rate of progress. On May 8, 2001 the official Ethiopian press announced that in the previous six months a total of 222 person had received sentences ranging from two years to life imprisonment in verdicts passed between early November 2000 and the end of April 2001. The same announcement said that the sixth criminal chamber of Ethiopia's federal high court also acquitted 122 defendants for lack of evidence
Twenty-seven former officers defendents charged with genocide were acquitted in June 2001 by a court in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. The 27 defendents, with ranks ranging from brigadier to sub-lieutenant, were charged with genocide and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Eritrea during the previous military government. Fifteen of those acquitted had been tried in absentia. The court ordered the central prison administration to release the officers immediatly.
Twenty Ethiopians, including three women were acquitted due to insufficient evidence on January 2, 2003 by a high court in the eastern region of Oromo State on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. The defendants were accused of summarily executing five civilians during the 1977-78 "Red Terror" period of military-communist Dergue regime that ruled Ethiopia from 1974 to 1991. Nine of the accused were tried in absentia while 11 others had spent between two and 10 years in preventive custody. The court deemed the accusations were not borne out by material evidence and witness testimonies gathered by the special prosecutor in charge of the case according t reports the state-run Addis Zemen newspaper, quoted by AFP.
Since 1994, Ethiopia has been conducting trials of people accused of genocide and crimes against humanity, particularly during the "Red Terror" period under Mengistu. In early 2003 nearly 5,200 former soldiers and communist activists were still due to be tried by the courts. About 2,200 are in prison in Ethiopia, but several of the key accused are to be or have been tried in absentia. About 500 people have been acquitted, and 600 are to be tried between January and September of 2003. Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam.Mengistu was convicted in absentia after fleeing to Zimbabwe, where he has lived in exile since 1991. According to the Ethiopian judiciary. The "Red Terror" trials are due to be concluded in 2004.
Rwanda Rwanda's Organic Law No. 08/96 on Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity in English
Rwanda began trials of persons accused of participating in the 1994 genocide in December 1996. Over 120,000 people have been accused of various crimes during the genocide. Many of the perosn who were senior government official during the gencoide and are allegedly high-level perpetrators are on trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha, Tanzania. The numbers of persons prosecuted in domestic courts within Rwanda has been tracked by the Centre de documentation et d'information sur les procès de génocide (CDIPG - Documentation and Information Centre on the Genocide Trials) of the Ligue Rwandaise pour la Promotion et la Défense des Droits de l'Homme (LIPRODHOR). By January 2000, more than 2,500 people have been tried. Of these, around 370 have been sentenced to death, around 800 sentenced to life imprisonment, around 500 acquitted, and the remainder sentenced to various terms of imprisonment. Twenty-two people found guilty of participation in the genocide were executed in public on 24 April 1998.
Déogratias Bizimana, a former medical assistant, and Egide Gatanazi, a former local government administrator, went on trial on 27 December 1996 at a court in Kibungo on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. Their trial, which lasted about four hours, was the first trial in Rwanda of suspects for the genocide in 1994. The two men were pronounced guilty and sentenced to death on 3 January 1997.
Léonidas Ndikumwami, a businessman and citizen of Burundian nationality, went on trial at a court in Kigali on January 14, 1997. Three other defendants appeared initially with him, until their trial was adjourned. A defence lawyer, Paul Atita offered to defend Ndikumwami, but was told that he did not have the official authorization to represent the defendant. His request for an adjournment to obtain the necessary authorization was rejected by the judge. Ndikumwami was convicted and sentenced to death on January 20, 1997.
Frodouald Karamira, an Interahamwe militia leader in Kigali and former vice-president of the Mouvement démocratique républicain, (MDR - Democratic Republican) was the most senior genocide suspect during tried during 1997. He went on trial in Kigali amid heavy security on January [13 ] 1997. Karamira was infamous in Rwanda for a speech he gave in the Nyamirambo Stadium in Kigali on October 23, 1993, two days after the assassination of Melchior Ndadaye, the ethnic Hutu President of Burundi, killed during an attempted coup by Burundi's Tutsi-dominated army. In his virulent speech at the Stadium, Karamia reportedly called for total solidarity among all Hutus transcending divisions among political parties and populized the concept of "Hutu-Power" which became the slogan of Hutu extremists before and during the genocide which began five and a half months later. In addition to Karamira's political prominence, the case was wateched closely for three reasons: because he had been apprehended outside of Africa, because of his conversion as an adult to Hutu ethnicity which caused Rwandan Tutsis viewed him as a traitor and because of his great personal wealth. In June 1996 Karamira had been arrested in Bombay, India and extradited to Rwanda. During his transfer, on a stop-over in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia he attempt to escape. Karamira was born an ethnic Tutsi, but under a Rwandan custom became a member of the Hutu tribe. Historically, prior to colonial rule and indepence, a change of group membership had involved Hutu converting to Tutsi ethnicity. Karamira did the reverse. After becaming a Hutu, Karamira became politcally powerful and wealthy, owning many building in Kigali, some still registed in his name at the time of the trial. To prove his loyalty to Hutus, he became an extreme fanatic.
The trial proceedings, conducted in Kinyarwanda and translated into French were broadcast in Rwanda by radio and by loud speakers to crowds outside the courthouse. On the first day of the trial Karamira's French-speaking defense attorney from Benin said he never had met Karamira before the trial, asked presiding Judge Jariel Rutaremara to postpone the proceeding s to give him time to prepare his case, The judge granted the request and the trial resumed on 28 January. A total of fifteen witnesses testified in the three-day trial. Witnesses accused Karamira of inciting violence and orchestrating the genocide through repeated radio daily broadcasts on RTLM (extremist Radio Mille Collin). Karamira had been one of the founders of the radio station in 1993. A former deputy leader of a moderate wing of the MDR party, Safili, told the court. "I would say that he caused all the attacks purely through his broadcasts." Karamira was also accussed of personally leading the murders of hundreds of Tutsis. Another witness listed all the 13 members of Karamira family allegedly murdered during the genocide, including his wife, five children, mother, four sisters and two nephews. Allegedly Karamira had members of his own family killed to prove his loyalty to Hutus. During the trial, Karamira viewed the court proceedings and his own role in terms of political parities. Speaking on his own behalf, he remarked that since there were no other parties functioning in Rwanda, it was the RPF and not the Rwandan State, which had put him on trial He also claimed that since he was appearing in court as the vice-president of MDR, he rejected any civil damages against him as an individual. Karamira furthermore claimed that transcripts from meetings and from radio and television broadcasts were badly edited and that he was in his home village during the genocide. Karamira was convicted on Februarty [ ], 1997. He was executed by firing squad in the Nyamirambo Stadium in Kigali on April 24, 1998.
Israel Nemeyimana was acquitted on February 18, 1997 by a court in Gikongoro after the judge reportedly ruled that there was no evidence against him. He was the first defendant in the genocide trials to be found not guilty.
Virginie Mukankusi, th first woman to be tried for participation in the genocide, went on trial in Gitarama in January 1997. Her defense lawyer claimed he did not have sufficient time to study her case file, yet the trial was not adjourned. None of the defense witnesses she named were called to testify. Mukankusi did not appear to understand the procedures during the trial and contradicted herself during her defense on several occasions. On February 28, 1997, she was convicted and sentenced to death.
After about two months of genocide trials, at the end of February 1997, some 13 defendants had been sentenced to death; at least six had been sentenced to life imprisonment and one had been acquitted. During the same months violence in Rwanda was continuing. On January 17, 1997 a woman who had testified against Jean Paul Akayesu at the ICTR is Arusha, Tanzania was murdered by Hutu extremists along with her husband and seven children. On February 14, 1997 Vincent Nkezazaganwa, a Rwandan Supreme Court Justice, is gunned down by uniformed gunmen at his house. During many of the early trials no defense lawyer was present, even when the defendants had reportedly instructed a lawyer to represent them in court. In the first case beginning December 27, 1996:, "When the defendant Bizumutima, asked for a lawyer, the judge and the prosecutor asked why he needed one. In many cases the defense lawyers requests for adjournment of the trial were rejected. Also frequently defense witnesses did not appear in court.
Silas Munyagishali, a former assistant prosecutor of Kigali from August 1994 until February 1996, was put on trial in Gitarama, on charges of complicity in the genocide. Some observers said the charges may have been politically motivated. Several of his defense witnesses were threatened and intimidated, and preventing them from testifying. Silas Munyagishali was sentenced to death on 22 August 1997. He appealed against the conviction on the basis of several irregularities in the trial, but the Court of Appeal rejected his appeal and confirmed his death sentence on February 20, 1998.He was executed by firing squad in Kigali on April 24, 1998.
A court in Cyangugu, in southwestern Rwanda, in February 1999 found three persons guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity, sentencing them to death. The court also sentenced 11 others to life imprisonment, seven to 15 years in jail and acquitted one suspect.
A court in Gisuma, on March 31, 2000 found Theoneste Rukeratabar, former mayor of Gisuma, and 14 others guilty for their role in the 1994 genocide. The court also sentenced eight people to prison.
A court in Taba Commune on December 17, 2000 sentenced 14 people to life imprisonment for genocide and crimes against humanity.
Wellars Benzi, former member of the Rwandan parliament and former president of the National Revolutionary Movement of Rwanda (MRND) and ten others were sentenced to death on May 26, 2001 by a court in Gisenyi which found them guilty of organizing the militias that carried out the killings of Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus. An addtional 23 others were sentenced to life imprisonment. Banzi was accused of inciting Hutus to kill Tutsis through articles published in the Kangura newspaper. Banzi was previously prominent in Rwanda in the late 1950s and 1960s under the country's first president Gregoire Kayibanda.
On May 28, 2001 four suspects who had been detained in Gitarama prison for more than four years on genocide charges were released by their community in a preliminary session of a justice system known as Gacaca. Under the preliminary Gacaca sessions, a genocide suspect is brought before members of the community where the crimes were allegedly committed and the charges read out. If no one in the community has evidence against the suspect, then he or she is freed. The Gitarama four were from the first seven cases heard in a preliminary Gacaca session at Nogwe commune in Gitarama province. The commune court in Gitarama sat in a grass patch on a small hill next to a road. There was no formal arrangement, just a few seats for visitors who included Belgian and French embassy officials. Each detainee stood before approximately 2000 local residents while Jean Barushinana, the region's prosecutor, read out their names, age and asked the community if anyone knew of any reason why the person should be detained.
On June 16, 2001 nine people were sentenced to death in Rwanda for their part in the 1994 genocide. The sentences came at the end of a trial of 126 suspects. Thirty other accused were sentenced to life imprisonment, 25 were acquitted and the remaining suspects were given sentences of between four and 20 years. "The victims were cut into pieces," the judges were as saying, "they were tortured to death with clubs, machetes, swords, iron bars." Some of the suspects avoided the death penalty by owning up to their crimes during the trial, which lasted for seven months. It was Rwanda's biggest ever trial of suspects accused of involvement in the genocide.
BBC 8 July, 2001 A prominent Rwandan musician, Juvenal Masabo Nyangezi, has been jailed for six years for having associated with those who carried out the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The French news agency, AFP, said that Mr Nyangezi, who gained fame in the 1990s for his songs about love, Rwanda's landscape and its contemporary culture, was found guilty of having joined a group of people who killed Tutsis in the Gikongoro commune. The prosecution, which had sought a life sentence, said it would appeal against the ruling.
IRIN 11 July 2001 Eleven people were sentenced to death for involvement in Rwanda's 1994 genocide by a court in Gikongoro, southwest Rwanda, the Hirondelle news agency reported. The group was part of a joint trial of 28 people from Kinyamakara commune who were charged with genocide and crimes against humanity. Four others were acquitted, seven were sentence to life imprisonment and six were given prison sentences of between six and 15 years. Of these, four pleaded guilty. Meanwhile, the court also ordered that the accused, Masabo Nyangezi, to be immediately released. He was sentenced to six years in jail but had already spent seven years in "preventive detention". Masabo was the director-general at the Rwandan environment and tourism ministry in 1994 and is well known to the Rwandan public as a singer-songwriter, Hirondelle added. He fled Kigali during the genocide and took refuge in his home commune of Kinyamakara, where he stayed until his arrest in August 1994. The court found him guilty of participating in an attack against a local family.
IRIN 21 Nov 2001 Court Sentences Seven to Death For Genocide A lower court in the northern Rwandan prefecture of Ruhengeri sentenced seven people to death and five others to between 18 years and life imprisonment "at the weekend", Rwandan radio reported on Wednesday. At this last stage of a joint trial, which began on 17 April, the Court of First Instance convicted the defendants for genocide and crimes against humanity, the radio reported. Another 10 people were acquitted. Rwanda has thousands of genocide suspects in its prisons and is seeking to speed up trials by employing traditional Gacaca courts in parallel with regular courts. The UN is also hearing genocide cases in Arusha, Tanzania.
The East African (Nairobi) 31 Mar 2003 Freed Genocide Convicts Begin Journey Home Nairobi In 1999, five years after the Rwanda genocide, the government set up the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission to reconcile convicts and victims, writes HENRY LUBEGA Andrew Mugabo was found guilty of participating in the 1994 Rwanda genocide but has been pardoned and is now in a solidarity camp undergoing "reorientation." Although he is eager to go home, he is not sure of what reaction awaits him from those who lost relatives in the 100-day massacre. Mugabo's fear is shared by many others in the reorientation camps established around Rwanda to rehabilitate the convicts before they are allowed to return to their families. They are expected to go back to the commune they lived in before being arrested, to apologise publicly and seek forgiveness from the community. "I was forced to kill; I only wanted to stay alive. It is our leaders who should be blamed for what we did, not us," Mugabo told The EastAfrica, as he narrated what had happened in the 100 days of the killings. Mugabo, who gave such a graphic account of the genocide that it was as if it had happened the other day, said he was waiting for the end of the three months he is supposed to spend in the solidarity camp. Aged 53, and from the Muhima commune in Nyarugengye in the prefecture of Kigali village, Mugabo says the day he was told that he was leaving prison to join the solidarity camps, he felt he was in heaven. "A prison is a prison, you cannot compare it with anything else. Even if you are poor and without relatives, home is the best place to be," Mugabo told The EastAfrican in one of the numerous solidarity camps on the outskirts of Kigali. Since January, Rwanda President Paul Kagame has pardoned hundreds of genocide prisoners who have confessed and asked for forgiveness. But before they go back to their communities, they are taken to solidarity camps to be "rehabilitated and taught how the new Rwanda operates." In the camps, they are taught the history of Rwanda, among other things. Fatuma Ndagiza, secretary general of the Reconciliation Commission, which runs the solidarity camps, says the teaching of Rwandan history is meant to show people what Rwanda has gone through and how they can work together to rebuild it. "Many years away from home is not something that people can take so easily," says Ndagiza. "After being out of touch with the ordinary people, there is a need for them to be taught about what the new Rwanda needs. It's not division but unity." Mugabo, who is married with two children aged 30 and 20, says: "I know that I killed, but the blame should not be put on me. Let former government officials and our local leaders who demanded that we fulfil the government programmes come out and stand trial on our behalf." He says it is the public that will be the final judge of their fate. "The crimes were committed against the locals and the government has played its part. Now its up to the communities we are going back to, they will give us the final forgiveness, says Mugabo, who has been so battered by prison life that he looks over 70. Ndagiza, however, says that the people who have been forgiven can be taken back to the Gacaca (community) courts if there is anybody who comes forward with a new complaint against them related to genocide crimes. In 1999, five years after the genocide, the government set up the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission to work towards reconciling the convicts and the victims. However, it was not until recently that President Kagame passed a decree to set free at least 23,000 people who fall in the 2-4 categories of genocide crimes. These categories cover those who killed because they were forced to and have since confessed. There are 18 solidarity camps countrywide, where these people are undergoing what is known as engando (rehabilitation and sensitisation) before they return home. About 12km east of Kigali is Kinyinya solidarity camp, which plays host to close to 1,000 pardoned genocide convicts who are waiting to return home. Ezekeil Mukaragye, 30, from Kicikiro in Kanombe Commune, has been in prison for seven years for genocide-related crimes. It was not until he confessed to having participated in the killing of innocent people that he was pardoned under the presidential decree. He, however, says that as an individual he never killed anyone because he wanted to. It was the only way to survive during those days, he says. "Many people of my ethnic group had been killed because they refused to take part in the killing; so when I was asked to join in I had no alternative but to go ahead and kill," he told The EastAfrican. He says he hopes that when he returns home, everything will be as it was before the genocide. "I know many of my family members were killed during the war but it is time that we looked at each other as Rwandans, as one people, and worked for the good of our country," he says, adding that although he is now left with few relatives, he is ready to face society. "Since I was released from prison and started attending the Ngando, I have realised that we need to work together as Rwandans and that it was the government, that divided us, says Mukaragye. "I went to prison a non-believer but while there I was saved and that is why when they came asking for those who were ready to confess to the crimes they committed, I did not hesitate to go forward and confess." Although Mukaragye is ready to go home he still feels there is a need for the government to do more in terms of educating the masses about the advantages of forgiving so that the past is forgotten for the sake of a new Rwanda.
Bolivia Artículo §138 of Bolivia's Codigo Penal in Spanish and English
"In February 1984 it was reported that two former leaders were being tried in absentia for genocide in Bolivia." [Whitaker Report, U.N. Document E/CN.4/Sub.2/1985/6, 2 July 1985, p. 40: foot note 64] Bolivia signed the Genocide Convention in 1948, but has not ratified the Convention.
Brazil Brazil's Law N°2.889 of Oct. 1, 1956 in Portuguese and EnglishIn 1988 five settlers were prosecuted for intending to "exterminate or eliminate an ethnic group or race" in relation to destruction of the Xacriaba Indians. [Charny, Encyclopedia of Genocide, p. 392]
Imre Finte, Hungarian, was acquitted in 1990 by an Ontario Court of kidnapping and manslaughter of Jews in Hungary in 1944. He was defended by controversial Victoria, British Columbia attorney Doug Christie. The prosecution was on the basis of the 1987 War Crimes legislation which resulted from the findings of the 1985 Deschênes Commission. Finte's acquittal was upheld in 1994 by the Supreme Court of Canada, which imposed a higher standard of proof saying prosecutors had to show that international law as well as Canadian law, had been violated. The 1994 Finte decision made conviction of war criminals extraordinarily difficult, dramatically shaping subsequent Canadian strategy against persons suspected of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. In 1995 the government announced it would cease such prosecutions, instead focusing on revocation of citizenship and deportation, often focusing on misleading or fraudulent statements made at the time of immigration. In 1996, immigration officials set up a process of "early detection" through meticulous examination of the requests for visas. In 1998 the government created an interdepartmental group drawn from officials of the of Justice, Immigration and the Canadian Police to coordinate these operations related to the war crimes.
Leon Mugesera, former senior adviser to Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana, was ordered deported from Canada in 1996, but remains in the country on appeal. Though not in Rwanda between April and July of 1994, he is accused of helping incite genocide in a speech he gave on November 22, 1992. In the fifteen-minute speech, made to a large crowd at a political meeting in Kabaya province where he was vice-president of the regional branch of the governing party, Mugesera stated that Rwandan law permitted the death penalty for traitors and stated that if the judicial system does not carry out this punishment against the inyenzi (pejorative word for Tutsi), the people must do it themselves. "Know that the person whose neck you do not cut," he exclaimed, "is the one who will cut yours." The speech was recorded and widely replayed. Mugesera left Rwanda for Congo, and Spain, before he was granted refugee status in Canada in 1993. In that same year he settled in Quebec City where he had previously lived during the 1980s while in doctoral studies at Laval University in "terminology and linguistic management." Beginning postdoctoral work in 1993, Mugesera brought his family to Quebec before his suspected role in inciting the Rwandan genocide led to a deportation order for lying about his background in his refugee application, along with the war crimes allegations. Although Article 318 on Advocating Genocide of the Canadian Criminal Code provides for five years imprisonment for anyone who "advocates or promotes genocide" and Section 7 of the Code provides for universal jurisdiction over crime against humanity or war crimes committed by non-Canadians found in Canada for conduct outside Canada, Canadian officials have chosen to deport rather than prosecute Mugesera.
In a surprise ruling on April 12, 2001, after Mugesera was ordered deported by two immigration board tribunals, Federal Court Justice Marc Nadon concluded there was no proof linking the November 1992 speech to genocide in the spring of 1994. Nadon asked the lower tribunal of the immigration board to review its claim that Mugesera helped incite hatred and genocide and asked the appeals tribunal of the immigration board to re-examine two conclusions it made. The first was that, although the speech may not have caused the deaths, it may have incited genocide. The other was that the speech incited hatred. Nadon also ordered that deportation proceedings against Mugesera's wife and five children be halted immediately. The government can still appeal to the Federal Court of Appeals, according to a spokesman for the federal Citizenship and Immigration Department.
www.therecord.com Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada 29 Oct 2002 'Didn't lie,' Waterloo man says 78-year-old continues his fight against deportation from Canada Tuesday October 29, 2002 BRIAN CALDWELL RECORD STAFF Helmut Oberlander leaves court yesterday accompanied by his wife Margret (left) and daughter Irene Rooney. Oberlander was in the Toronto courtroom as his hearing before the Immigration and Refugee Board resumed nearly a year after it was adjourned. TORONTO -- Helmut Oberlander maintained his innocence yesterday at a hearing that could lead to his deportation for lying about his role with a Nazi death squad. The retired Waterloo developer wasn't called to testify as lawyers made only arguments and written submissions to the Immigration and Refugee Board. But in a brief interview after the hearing adjourned, Oberlander insisted he did nothing wrong while serving as an interpreter with an infamous unit that executed thousands of civilians, mostly Jews, in the Ukraine from 1941 to 1943. "I killed no one, I hurt no one and I didn't lie when I came to Canada in 1954,'' he said, backed by a small group of supporters including his wife, Margret, and daughter, Irene Rooney. "That's everything in a nutshell.'' The government is trying to deport Oberlander, 78, after a Federal Court judge found he lied about his involvement with the death squad when he applied to emigrate from Germany in the early 1950s. Cabinet paved the way for his expulsion by stripping him of Canadian citizenship last year. But, as has been the case since proceedings against Oberlander began more than seven years ago, his fate remains unclear amid legal wrangling. Lawyers for Oberlander are seeking a judicial review of the cabinet decision, arguing it was flawed. They are also trying to have deportation proceedings put on hold until that issue is settled. The immigration hearing in Toronto was allowed to resume yesterday -- it was suspended almost a year ago -- but board member Carmen DeCarlo can't make a deportation order until a related appeal has been decided. Barbara Jackman, a lawyer representing Oberlander, has said she will argue it would be unfair to deport her client when there is no evidence he actually committed any war crimes. But the key to the immigration case will likely be a law in place until 1978, well after Oberlander had established his life in Canada. In effect, the law said anyone who had lived in the country as a permanent resident for at least five years could only be deported for treason, drug offences and a few other specific crimes. Oberlander admitted he had difficulty following twists and turns in the complex case, which was to resume today. But he and supporters made it perfectly clear what they think of the entire process. "We can only say this is a malicious persecution -- from Day 1,'' said Margret Oberlander. firstname.lastname@example.org
Background article: www.therecord.com Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada 6 May 2000 Germany could reopen Oberlander case Saturday May 6, 2000 Jeff Outhit RECORD STAFF Helmut Oberlander may face a revived war crimes probe if he is deported to Germany. But a review of German justice suggests he has nothing to fear. Oberlander, 76, faces deportation after the Federal Court ruled in February that he lied about his war service record when he immigrated to Canada in 1954. Pending appeal, the federal cabinet must decide whether to strip him of his Canadian citizenship, which was granted in 1960. "Based on the available information, Oberlander's leaving the country or deportation to Germany is expected," Willi Dressen, Germany's senior public prosecutor in charge of uncovering Nazi war crimes told The Record. If Oberlander returns, German prosecutors may reopen the criminal case they closed against him years ago for lack of evidence. "I think that the state attorney's office in Munich, they now have an open investigation," said Dressen, who attended Oberlander's 1998 Federal Court hearing as an expert witness. "All of the available evidence will have to be examined in light of criminal law." Germany may be able to call on more evidence against Oberlander than was admitted by Canada's Federal Court, including witness recollections by deceased wartime comrades. German courts may accept affidavits from the deceased, but the statements are not strong enough on their own to secure a conviction. Germany has prosecuted only a handful of men who served in the same death squad as Oberlander and has targeted officers. Oberlander, an interpreter, held a low rank (roughly a senior private) and remains below the radar for German prosecutors. "The name Oberlander is not known in our office," said Manfried Wick, chief prosecutor of Munich State Court I, which is responsible for prosecuting war crimes by Einsatzkommando 10a. In 1970, Oberlander was summoned to the German consul-general's office in Toronto to answer questions as part of the German government's broader investigation into the activities of Ek 10a. Oberlander was not charged and Germany closed its file on him. Germany also declined to prosecute a higher-ranking Ek 10a member, Benno Harlander, who immigrated to Canada but later returned to Germany. Harlander, suspected in killings in Krasnodar, came to Canada in 1951 and settled near Brooklin, Ont. Like Oberlander, Harlander faced a German probe in 1970. Unlike Oberlander, Harlander eventually left Canada voluntarily and returned to Germany. Born in 1909, Harlander was alive in 1994 when he was interviewed in Germany by a lawyer with Canada's war crimes unit. He has since died. A different fate befell former Nazi death squad member David Geldiashvile in 1973. Geldiashvile, Soviet-born like Oberlander, became a Canadian citizen after the war but made the mistake of returning to the Soviet Union on vacation in 1973. He was arrested, tried and sentenced to death by the Soviets for serving with an Einsatzgruppe death squad in the same area as Oberlander's unit. Leaders of Ek 10a escaped postwar prosecution by the Allies at Nuremberg. Heinz Seetzen, Oberlander's first commander, killed himself while in Allied custody in 1945. The unit's second commander, Kurt Christmann, was not tried and convicted until 1980. Leo Maar, another Ek 10a interpreter who testified at Christmann's trial, was never prosecuted. GERMAN JUSTICE Seven men have been convicted of war crimes in West Germany for serving in the same Nazi death squad as Helmut Oberlander. Trials of Einsatzkommando 10a members and their outcomes: 1972: Three convicted in the 1941 massacre of 200 Jews in Taganrog and the 1942 massacre of 214 children in Jeissk. All received four-year sentences. 1973: Three convicted in the 1941 shootings of hundreds of Jews and isolated civilians in a dozen locations in the southern Ukraine in 1941. Sentences ranged from two to 4 1/2 years. 1980: One convicted in the gassing of at least 30 prisoners in Krasnodar and the shooting of more than 30 villagers in Maryanskaya. Sentenced to 10 years.
Augusto Pinochet and others. On June 5, 2000 the Court of Appeals ordered the lifting of Pinochet's immunity as a member of the Chilean Senate, thus allowing the opening of a lawsuit against the former dictator. Pinochet is the subject of 146 complaints, deposited by families of victims or Humans Rights organizations since January 1998. The examining magistrate, Juan Guzman has devoted much of his investigation to the operation "Caravan of Death " carried out just after the coup d'etat by a special commando. The operation, carried out in October and November 1973, aimed at eliminating all the political opponents with the dictatorship. The operation involved the extrajudical executions of 74 opponents and the disappearance of 19 people to the mode, in all the country. Guzman holds the former dictator responsible for these executions, along with ten others: Sergio Arellano Stark, Sergio Arredondo Gonzalez, Marcelo Moren Brito, Pedro Espinoza Cheer, Patricio Diaz Araneda, Armando Fernandez Larios, Daniel Rojas, Carlos Forest Haensgen, Miguel Aguirre Alvarez, Mario Acuna Riquelme. According to an official report, 3,197 people were killed during Gen. Pinochet's regime, and more than 1,000 remain missing after being arrested during those years.
Reuters 16 June 2003 Former Chief of Secret Police Is Indicted by Judge in Chile SANTIAGO, Chile, May 15 — A retired army general who led Chile's secret police under the former dictator Augusto Pinochet was indicted today in the 1974 kidnapping of a Spanish priest who was tortured and then disappeared. Judge Jorge Zepeda indicted Manuel Contreras, the former chief of Mr. Pinochet's feared secret police, known as DINA, charging him with arresting the priest, Antonio Llido, and taking him to a secret torture center where witnesses said he was savagely beaten. "For this, the former members of the now defunct DINA have been indicted as authors of the crime of kidnapping," the judge said in his ruling. Like hundreds of Chileans who went missing in the 1970's and 80's, Mr. Llido was never seen again. The suspicion is that he was killed, despite efforts at the time by the Vatican and the Spanish government to secure his release. Mr. Contreras, now 73, was sentenced to 15 years in prison last month for the kidnapping and disappearance of a young left-wing activist in 1975. He has already served time for plotting the 1976 car-bomb murder in Washington of a Chilean diplomat, and the courts accuse him of masterminding the similar killing of a dissident army commander in Argentina. Mr. Contreras, the highest-ranking Chilean military official convicted of human rights crimes, has denied the charges. Eight other top DINA members were also indicted in the case of Mr. Llido, who was accused of helping a rebel group. The priest's disappearance was crucial to Spain's efforts in the late 1990's to prosecute Mr. Pinochet for rights abuses.
Colombia Colombia's law of July 10, 2000 on genocide, torture and forced disappearances (Código Penal, art 101 & 102)
Jaime Humberto Cortés Parada, Freddy Padilla León, Gustavo Sánchez Gutiérrez, Jaime Humberto Uscátegui Ramírez; and Agustín Ardila Uribe (three active-duty army officers—two generals and a colonel—and two retired generals) were formally charged on July 27, 2000 by the Colombian Attorney General’s Office for failing to take adequate measures after repeated warnings to prevent the paramilitary massacre of at least 18 civilians in the village of Puerto Alvira on May 4, 1998 in Mapiripán municipality, Meta Department. Investigators for the attorney general’s office found abundant evidence in daily logbooks that military commanders in the zone were well aware of the situation. Investigators found that Ardila issued an order for an operation to protect Puerto Alvira, but Uscátegui ignored the order and Ardila never followed up on it. Also charged with direct responsibility for the massacre were six paramilitaries, including Carlos Castaño Gil, commander of the United Self-defense Forces of Colombia (AUC). Of the six, only John Tovar Jaramillo, is in custody. Uscátegui was previously arrested in for in connection with a separate massacre of some 30 people in Mapiripán in July 1997 in which he was accused of “homicide, breach of trust by omission and falsification of documents” for his failure to send troops to the region after a local judge warned authorities about the presence of paramilitary groups. Following his arrest, however, Uscátegui's case passed to the jurisdiction of the military courts, which had granted him conditional release.
2001 a civilian court earlier this year convicted a colonel of failing to stop an AUC massacre of some 30 people in 1997
Guatemala Artículo 376 of the Código Penal of Guatemala
Romeo Lucas Garcia and Efrain Rios Montt - On June 14 2001 Judge Marco Antonio Posada ruled that two former presidents of Guatemala be investigated for allegedly conducting a policy of genocide against the Mayan Indians between 1978 and 1983.The ruling was the first time a Guatemalan court agreed to investigate the allegations. Garcia, won a rigged election in 1978, and his successor Mr Rios Montt, seized power in a coup in 1982. Lucas Garcia, who lives in Venezuela, is reportedly suffering from Alzheimer's disease and has not made any public statement for several years. Rios Montt is currently serving as the leader of Guatemala's Congress and as such he enjoys immunity from prosecution. Montt, also controls the political party of current President Alfonso Portilla.
Only 3 paramilitaries (PAC – Patrullas de Autodefensa Civil) and 1 civilian Military Commissioner have been convicted for atrocities committed during the State sponsored genocide and repression in which more than 200,000 people were killed and disappeared.
Tico Times /AFP 16 May 2003 Acquittals Called 'Step Backwards' for Guatemala By Edin Hernández AFP GUATEMALA CITY - Last week's acquittals of three former Guatemalan military officers accused of murdering a human-rights investigator are proof of an ebbing tide of justice and the persistence of militarism, the victim's family, diplomats and humanitarian organizations said. Last Wednesday, an appeals court absolved retired colonel Juan Valencia, who had been convicted last year and sentenced to 30 years in prison, of having ordered the 1990 murder of anthropologist Myrna Mack, who was investigating massacres of indigenous people during the country's protracted civil war (1960-96). The court also reaffirmed the acquittals of retired general Edgar Godoy and retired colonel Juan Oliva, also members of an elite Army unit who had been charged with playing a role in the crime (TT, May 9). "This ruling is a blow not only for Myrna and my family, but also for Guatemala, because this pushes aside the hope for a rule of law," the victim's sister, Hellen Mack, said. "I had the hope that judges courageous enough to convict military officials still existed, but from the looks of things, there are not. Guatemala is a long way away from being a state of law." NO JUSTICE: Esperanza Mack (left) is consoled by her daughter Hellen after acquittals. Orlando Sierra, AFP Mack was particularly critical of the appeals court, which she said is well-known for supporting military officials accused of crimes. She noted the same appeals court had thrown out the convictions of three military officers and a priest in the 1998 bludgeoning death of Church human-rights advocate Bishop Juan Gerardi. "This court was not impartial," she said, adding, "I did not expect this ruling that only shows that Guatemala is far from having justice free of fear and coercion." Over the last year, a growing number of judges and judicial prosecutors have complained about receiving death threats and actually being attacked. "This is a setback in the construction of a state of law in Guatemala and a shame of the administration of justice, as well as a demonstration of the authoritarianism and militarism that persist in Guatemalan society," humanitarian support group Mutual Aid Group (GAM) director Mario Polanco told AFP. "As GAM and the organization of families of the (civil war) disappeared, we reject this ruling and hope that Guatemalans and the international community react adequately to halt this series of abuses of justice." "This is an act that shows that in Guatemala there is no justice," U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala John Hamilton said. The envoy was in the courtroom along with Swedish Ambassador Maria Lessner and the head of the United Nations Verification Mission for Guatemala (MINUGUA) Tom Koenigs when the ruling was announced. "Although we respect the court's decision, it is disappointing that 13 years after such a barbarous murder, the intellectual authors have not been convicted," Hamilton added. The ruling has added to speculation that the U.S. may seek to limit Guatemala's role in the proposed free-trade agreement with Central America. "It is regrettable that the intellectual authors of this crime have not yet been established," Koenigs warned. "Obviously the investigations were not sufficient to establish the responsibilities of these authors, and thus, there is no conviction of them, whoever they may be." The U.N. representative admitted he was "a little surprised" by the acquittals and added that "It casts a cloud not just the system of justice but also the system of investigation because the intellectual authors remain at large." Lesser said it was "very regrettable" that "Guatemala has not been able to serve justice for Myrna and the other victims of the harsh repression the country suffered" during the civil war. No fewer than 200,000 Guatemalans are believed to have been killed or disappeared during the civil war. A report issued by Gerardi just days before his murder blamed the U.S.-backed Guatemalan Military for the majority of the human-rights abuses during the war.
Mar. 12, 2003 Ex-Colombian General Sought Over Massacre VANESSA ARRINGTON -BOGOTA, Colombia - A civilian prosecutor ordered the arrest of a retired Colombian army general for allegedly failing to prevent a massacre by right-wing paramilitary gunmen, but the former commander vowed defiance. Gen. Jaime Uscategui told The Associated Press that he had no role in the 1997 massacre of at least 22 people in the village of Mapiripan and would surrender to military authorities instead. "I am a sacrificial lamb," Uscategui said in a telephone interview Tuesday. Authorities have said that as commander of the Colombian Army's VII Brigade at the time, Uscategui had jurisdiction over Mapiripan but ignored warnings of the coming bloodbath. The killings, which occurred over five days, were horrific and are cited as among the worst atrocities carried out by paramilitaries in Colombia's ongoing civil war. Witnesses told of civilians being tortured before being killed. Some were hacked to death, their bodies thrown into a river. A military court convicted Uscategui in February 2001 of dereliction of duty and sentenced him to three years imprisonment in the case, but the Supreme Court later threw it out and ordered that he be tried in a civilian court. The former army commander told the AP the case had been "twisted" and that the prosecutor who issued the arrest warrant Tuesday had ignored his contention that another army unit - the Second Mobile Brigade - was responsible for the area encompassing Mapiripan during the massacre. He acknowledged that he had received unsubstantiated warnings of a pending massacre, but that military intelligence officials attached to the Second Mobile Brigade had too, and had failed to act on them. Uscategui said he would appeal the issuance of the arrest warrant to more senior officials in the attorney general's office, and in the meantime would turn himself over to a military installation. He said no civilian authorities had yet appeared at his door to execute the arrest warrant. Human rights groups have long complained that Colombia has tried military officials in lenient military courts, despite Colombian and international law that calls for crimes against humanity to be tried in civilian courts. However, in recent years, the Supreme Court has demanded that military officials linked to massacres be tried in civilian courts. The Colombian government insists it is battling the paramilitaries, but some elements of the Colombian Army and police across Colombia still maintain secret links with the outlawed militia. The paramilitary United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia are accused by human rights groups of having committed the most atrocities in Colombia's war, now in its 38th year, although leftist rebels have also committed many serious crimes. Guatemala
Los Angeles Times 6 June 2001 By T. CHRISTIAN MILLER Eleven communities nearly wiped out two decades ago today will file the first lawsuit in Central America accusing a sitting political figure of genocide. The lawsuit, by ethnic Maya in Guatemala's northern and central mountains, charges that the current head of Congress, Efrain Rios Montt, presided over a brutal policy of racial extermination as the nation's dictator in the early 1980s. The suit is the first step that community members hope will bring justice to those who orchestrated the deaths of more than 200,000 people, most of them Maya, during this country's 36-year civil war. It also marks a historic turning point in the effort to close old wounds in a country struggling to come to terms with a legacy of repression and brutality unmatched in Central America during the 1980s. For the first time, massacre survivors intend to publicly step forward en masse to identify those responsible for the killings. "It is good to know what happened, to clear up the past," said Juan Manuel Jeronimo, 56, who survived a massacre of 267 people in 1982 in this remote hamlet in the Guatemalan highlands. "That is why we lived: to testify and tell the truth." Rios Montt turned down a request for an interview with the Los Angeles Times, and his representatives did not return phone calls Tuesday. But military officials have denied accusations of massacres, frequently insisting that those killed were leftist guerrillas who died in battle. Many in the military discount the charge of genocide by rightly pointing out that the Maya fought both for guerrillas and for the army and paramilitary self-defense groups. The Guatemalan justice system allows civil parties such as the 11 communities to file a suit to force a criminal investigation. They become a party to any eventual prosecution of the accused. If convicted, Rios Montt could face up to 30 years in prison. Few political analysts, however, believe the suit will bring down Rios Montt, who controls not only the Guatemalan Congress but also the political party of current President Alfonso Portilla. The Guatemalan justice system is famously corrupt, often unable to resolve even the simplest crimes. BBC 8 June 2001 A Guatemalan court has sentenced three army officers and a priest to between 20 and 30 years in prison for the murder of Roman Catholic Bishop Juan Gerardi in 1998. Among those sentenced was a former military intelligence chief, Colonel Disrael Lima Estrada, who prosecutors accused of masterminding the killing. They said Bishop Gerardi, head of the church's human rights office, was bludgeoned to death to keep him from testifying in possible trials over atrocities committed during Guatemala's 36-year civil war. The trial has been seen as a test of Guatemala's justice system by human rights activists, who believe the murder was carried out on the highest orders. Damaging report Catholic church lawyers believe former President Alvaro Arzu was involved in planning the killing, and requested the judges to order an investigation. Gerardi released a damaging report into wartime atrocities Mr Arzu used parliamentary immunity to avoid testifying. Gerardi was killed two days after releasing a report which blamed the military for 95% of the atrocities committed during the civil war which ended in 1996. Some 150,000 people are believed to have been killed in the conflict, and more than 50,000 disappeared, but so far most of the crimes have gone unpunished. Key testimony Colonel Lima was sentenced along with his son, Captain Byron Lima Oliva and Jose Obdulio Villanueva, both members of the presidential guard. All three were sentenced to 30 years in jail. Gerardi's assistant, Reverend Mario Orantes, found guilty of acting as an accomplice, was given a 20-year prison term. The bishop's cook, Margarita Lopez, was found innocent of the same charges. The court said it based its ruling largely on the testimony of the key prosecution witness, Ruben Chanax, a homeless man who claimed he had been hired by the army officers. Mr Chanax said he had been told to spy on Bishop Gerardi, and to alter the scene of the crime before the police arrived. He told the court he had been warned that someone would die. Death threats Human rights groups and church organisations held a vigil outside the court as the verdict was read amid tight security. Two investigating judges, three key witnesses and at least one prosecutor fled Guatemala in fear of their lives. Flor de Maria Garcia, the final investigating magistrate, said she had received death threats at every step of the process. On the eve of the trial, which began in March, a bomb exploded outside the house of one of the three judges hearing the case. BBC 14 June 2001, Two former presidents of Guatemala are to face investigation on charges of genocide following a landmark judicial ruling. Romeo Lucas Garcia and Efrain Rios Montt - who ruled the country during its bloody 36-year civil war - are accused of ordering massacres of Mayan Indians between 1978 and 1983. Prosecutors will conduct a careful investigation that I will personally oversee Judge Marco Antonio Posada Human rights groups say the decision - the first time a Guatemalan court has agreed to investigate the allegations - reflects a welcome change of attitude among the country's judiciary. Although there is no guarantee either man will be formally charged, campaigners see the move as a major victory in their fight to bring the perpetrators of the killings to justice. Genocide policy The court passed separate rulings on Mr Lucas Garcia, who won a rigged election in 1978, and his successor Mr Rios Montt, who seized power in a coup four years later. Rios Montt: "Nothing to hide" Both men have been accused of conducting a policy of genocide against the Mayans, who were believed to be supporting left-wing rebels. Two years ago, a United Nations truth commission report found that Mr Rios Montt in particular oversaw a scorched earth policy, reducing hundreds of Indian villages to ashes. About 200,000 Guatemalans died in the civil war, in which the left-wing guerrillas fought state forces. Fighting ended following in peace accords in December 1996 'Nothing to hide' Mr Rios Montt is currently serving as the leader of Guatemala's Congress and as such he enjoys immunity from prosecution. A party spokesman said he would not comment on the ruling, but in the past he has insisted that he has nothing to hide. Mr Lucas Garcia, who lives in Venezuela, is reportedly suffering from Alzheimer's disease and has not made any public statement for several years.
WP 28 Jul 2002 Intimidation in Guatemala Papal Visit Comes as Catholics Raise Fears of New Violence By Kevin Sullivan Washington Post Foreign Service Sunday, July 28, 2002; Page A22 ANTIGUA, Guatemala, July 27 -- Pope John Paul II is scheduled to arrive in Guatemala on Monday as human rights activists, particularly those associated with the Catholic Church, face increasing death threats and other forms of intimidation aimed at preventing exposure of atrocities committed during the country's 36-year civil war. The church here has played a central role in investigating massacres and other crimes committed during the war, which ended with peace accords in 1996. The fighting, the bloodiest of Central America's civil wars in recent decades, resulted in more than 200,000 deaths and disappearances, most at the hands of the military or paramilitary groups working for the government. The war is no longer raging, as it was when the pope first visited in 1983. But the campaign of violence against the church and rights activists has revived fears that the political and military leaders who ordered or committed the wartime violence -- some of whom are still in power -- will drive the country back to levels of brutality not seen in years. In recent weeks a Catholic bishop, at least six priests and officials in the church's human rights office have received death threats. A Catholic church used to store equipment and records for anthropologists exhuming massacre victims was burned to the ground in February. Other church offices have been broken into. Nery Rodenas, executive director of the Archbishop's Human Rights Office, said he and others in his office have received death threats in faxes to their office and telephone calls to their homes. "It's had a very high cost for us," he said. "The pope's visit is important for us because it's an opportunity to show the world what is happening in Guatemala." A leading Catholic bishop, Juan Gerardi Conedera, was bludgeoned to death in 1998, as a report from an investigation he headed was being released. It blamed the Guatemalan military or its paramilitary forces for more than 90 percent of the country's war crimes. Although the government initially insisted that Gerardi's wounds were inflicted by a dog, three military officers were convicted in the case last year and sentenced to 30 years in prison. A priest was sentenced to 20 years as an accessory to the killing. Last week shots were fired at the courthouses where the officers were convicted and where their appeals are being heard. Frank LaRue, of Guatemala's Center for Human Rights Legal Action, said he believes that the shootings were "linked directly to the pope's visit," because in the government's view, "the visit of the pope is a threat." "Bishop Gerardi and the Catholic Church are symbols of the human rights movement here, and the pope has spoken out against poverty and he has challenged the structures of power here," LaRue said. "This is clearly an act of provocation to the Catholic Church." The government dismisses the violence and death threats as the work of common criminals. "Many of these acts are blown out of proportion and are aimed at discrediting the state, especially in light of the pope's visit," said Byron Barrera, spokesman for Guatemala's president, Alfonso Portillo. The 82-year-old pontiff, on his third visit to Guatemala, officially is coming to canonize Guatemala's first saint, Pedro de San Jose Betancourt, a 17th-century Franciscan friar known as the "St. Francis of the Americas" for establishing a hospital and ministering to poor Mayan Indians. In Guatemala City and here in Antigua, a colonial city just west of the capital, posters of "Hermano Pedro," or Brother Pedro, are pasted everywhere and many cars fly small flags bearing his image. As he has in the past, the pope is also expected to call for improved social justice in a country where the majority of wealth is held by a handful of families and business leaders. The U.N. Development Program says at least 83 percent of the country's 11.5 million people live in poverty. The pope's visit is also seen as another attempt to stem the church's losses to the fast-growing ranks of evangelical Protestant groups, which, according to many estimates, now account for 30 to 35 percent of a population that was once nearly exclusively Catholic. But, more than anything, the pope will bring his message of peace to a country with a violent past that seems to be haunting its present. "Guatemala is continuing down the path of lawlessness and terror," Amnesty International said in a recent report. Last Sunday, the offices of a Guatemala City human rights organization that had been investigating the military's involvement in war crimes was ransacked; six computers were stolen, along with files on the military investigation. In April, an accountant working in the organization of Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchu, who is pursuing genocide cases against former and current national leaders, was shot dead. Shortly before he was killed, his office received four calls in which anonymous callers played taped funeral music. Human rights workers and journalists received faxes last month threatening the lives of 11 human rights activists labeled "enemies of the state." Four forensic anthropologists examining skeletons and other evidence of atrocities were forced to leave the country in May because of death threats to them and their families. Several lawyers and judges have also been killed under suspicious circumstances. In June, members of the Civil Defense Patrols, which worked with the military during the war and are accused of countless crimes, took over much of Peten province, blocking access to the famous Mayan ruins at Tikal and stranding 62 tourists. The paramilitary forces were demanding back pay for their bloody service to the government during the war. Facing threats of further violence, the government has agreed to explore a new tax to pay them. "Genocide will not return, nor torture nor disappearances, but the situation is grave," Menchu said recently. "True peace has become a myth." The Catholic Church has had an uncomfortable relationship with Guatemala's political leaders since civil war broke out in 1960. Catholic bishops and priests were leading voices against the growing abuses of the military junta, and simply being a Catholic was dangerous during the war. At the same time, the evangelical Protestant movement was growing rapidly. It was personified by Gen. Efrain Rios Montt, who seized power in a March 1982 military coup, then ruled with a mixture of bloody ruthlessness and Scripture quotations. Many of the war's most brutal killings took place during his 18-month tenure. At 76, he still serves as president of Congress and leader of Portillo's Guatemalan Republican Front party. Rios Montt was antagonistic to John Paul II on the pope's 1983 visit. Three days before his arrival, Rios Montt ordered the execution of six suspected leftist rebels despite pleas from the Vatican to spare them. The pope said he felt insulted by the executions, which he called a "very grave offense against God." The pope has spoken out repeatedly against the efforts of evangelical Protestants to convert Catholics. Evangelicals in Guatemala responded by scrawling "The Beast" across promotional posters for the pope's 1983 visit. During his second trip, in 1996, Protestant leaders roamed the countryside with bullhorns calling him "the Antichrist." Some evangelical leaders say they welcome the pope's visit. But others grumble that the government should not have spent nearly $1 million in preparations for a visit by the leader of a single religion. Some said the church, and the pope, have brought the recent violence on themselves. "The truth is that the Catholic people are very political, and it is lamentable that in the name of God they use religion to manipulate people," said David Munguia, a leader of the Evangelical Alliance of Guatemala. "The pope isn't necessarily the Antichrist, but the general feeling is that he is a candidate."
Amnesty International 4 Oct 2002 Guatemala Myrna Mack Verdict -- A Tribute to Courage and Persistence AI Index: AMR 34/062/2002 Publish date: 4 October 2002 The sentencing of Guatemalan army colonel Juan Valencia Osorio to thirty years in prison for having ordered the 1990 killing of anthropologist Myrna Mack is an overdue but welcome step towards justice, Amnesty International said today. More on this Web site: Guatemala Two other officers, General Edgar Augusto Godoy Gaytán and Colonel Juan Guillermo Oliva Carrera, who had faced the same charges, were acquitted. They were Colonel Valencia's superior officers in the notorious Estado Mayor Presidencial(EMP), Presidential High Command. Amnesty International will study the court's judgement closely to determine whether it finds convincing the court's decision that they were indeed not involved in ordering Ms. Mack's death. "Never before had a high-ranking military official been convicted for a crime committed during Guatemala's 36 year internal conflict, and only once before had other officers been convicted for a political crime," Amnesty International noted. In welcoming the conviction, Amnesty International paid tribute to the victim's sister, Helen Mack, and the Guatemalan human rights community. "It was their courageous determination to see the killers punished and their effectiveness in mobilising international and local support which finally moved the case through the courts," the organization said. However, the organization expressed its dissatisfaction that it had taken 12 years for the case against those who ordered the killing to finally come to court. "The wheels of justice have ground slowly, far too slowly," said Amnesty International. "Twelve years is far too long to wait to see justice -- possibly only partial justice -- done." "Justice should be the rule, not the exception in Guatemala," Amnesty International insisted. "Despite a Constitutional guarantee that it is the duty of the State to guarantee justice to all of its inhabitants, only a handful of high profile cases have seen convictions for conflict-related abuses, while nobody has been held accountable for the killing and 'disappearance' of over 200,000 people, the majority of them indigenous," the organization added. "A genocide -- and that is what the Guatemala's UN-sponsored Historical Clarification Commission (CEH) determined had occurred -- cannot be swept under the historical carpet. Each and every victim and each and every survivor deserves justice," Amnesty International said. The organization also noted that the three officers were tried in an atmosphere of death threats, intimidation and violence against individuals and organisations associated with the case, including the lawyers for the prosecution. "These attacks against the human rights and legal communities in Guatemala, are symptomatic of an escalating wave of violence against those involved in seeking justice for human rights violations committed both during and following Guatemala's long civil conflict," Amnesty International said. Background Myrna Mack, founder member of the social science research institute, AVANCSO, was brutally stabbed to death in September 1990 as she left the AVANCSO office in Guatemala City. In 1989, she had published a ground-breaking study which concluded that the massive internal displacement of Guatemala's indigenous people, and the suffering it had caused, had been a direct result of the army's counter-insurgency policy. Her findings were published just as peace talks began, and were highly damaging to the government. From the beginning, efforts to convict those who carried out Myrna Mack's brutal murder encountered irregularities, incompetence and every imaginable legal manoeuvre to paralyse the judicial process. Finally, however, in 1993 Sergeant Noel de Jesús Beteta Alvarez, a member of the EMP, was found guilty of the killing and jailed for 25 years. Source: Amnesty International, International Secretariat, 1 Easton Street, WC1X 8DJ, London, United Kingdom
Reuters 8 Oct 2002 Guatemala Court Annuls Rights Convictions By Greg Brosnan GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) - A Guatemalan appeals court on Tuesday annulled the landmark convictions of three military men and a priest in the 1998 murder of prominent bishop and human rights defender Juan Jose Gerardi. Reuters Photo The three-judge panel ordered a retrial and said it annulled the convictions because of irregularities in the testimony of a witness who claimed he saw the accused on the night of the murder. Gerardi was bludgeoned to death in April 1998, two days after publishing a four-volume report blaming Guatemala's military for hundreds of massacres and other abuses during a 1960-1996 civil war, in which some 200,000 people were killed. Retired Col. Byron Lima Estrada, his son Capt. Byron Lima Oliva, and former presidential bodyguard Obdulio Villanueva were sentenced to 30 years each for the murder at a trial in June 2001. Roman Catholic priest Mario Orantes was sentenced to 20 years as an accomplice. The convictions were initially lauded by human rights groups as a landmark victory in a country where the military traditionally enjoyed impunity for rights abuses. ELATION AND DISBELIEF Lima Estrada, Lima Oliva, Villanueva, and their relatives and supporters in the court, including active and retired military men, cheered the decision and hugged each other while rights activists and Gerardi's former colleagues looked at each other in disbelief. "There is justice in Guatemala," Lima Oliva told reporters, standing up and making a military salute upon hearing of the annulment. "We soldiers defended the country." Orantes' lawyers say he suffers from severe migraines. He is interned in a hospital and did not attend the hearing. All four will remain in prison until the retrial. TESTIMONY IN DOUBT One of the main witnesses in the case, an indigent named Ruben Chanax Sontay, told judges in the trial he was hired by Lima Estrada to spy on Gerardi, and that on the night of the crime he helped Lima Oliva and Villanueva move the bishop's corpse. Judges accepted an argument by Villanueva's lawyer that Chanax Sontay had not mentioned those details in earlier statements to investigators. "A GRAVE SETBACK" "The court is convinced that the sentencing court did not weigh up this proof," the court said on Tuesday. "The sentence is annulled. ... We order a new trial." There was no mention of when that new trial, which will be overseen by a new panel of judges, will be held. Nery Rodenas, a lawyer for the Roman Catholic church human rights office Gerardi formerly headed, and who worked alongside prosecutors in the original trial, called the verdict "a grave setback." The sentence came after a court last week sentenced a former colonel to 30 years in prison for ordering the 1990 civil-war era stabbing murder of an anthropologist who had conducted extensive research of the effects of the war on Maya Indian refugees fleeing the conflict. "My feeling is that the military is reacting to all this," said rights activist Frank La Rue. "The judges are under a lot of pressure." Gerardi's cook, Margarita Lopez, who was accused of participating in the crime but freed by judges in the trial, will not have to participate in the retrial.
AP 8 Oct 2002 New Trial in Killing of Guatemala Cleric GUATEMALA CITY, Oct. 8 (AP) — An appeals court granted a new trial today to three military officials and a priest convicted of killing a Roman Catholic bishop, ruling that a witness's testimony was flawed. In June 2001 a three-judge panel convicted retired Col. Byron Lima Estrada; his son, Capt. Byron Lima Oliva; and Sgt. Obdulio Villanueva of killing Bishop Juan Gerardi, who was bludgeoned with a concrete block in his garage in April 1998. The three were sentenced to 30 years in prison each. The Rev. Mario Orantes, Bishop Gerardi's assistant, was sentenced to 20 years as an accomplice in the killing, which occurred days after the prelate had presented a report blaming the military for 80 percent of the deaths during the 36-year civil war that ended in 1996. Today the appeals tribunal said the lower court did not adequately verify the testimony of Ruben Chanax, a homeless man. Activists had considered the convictions a human rights victory for a country plagued by thousands of atrocities. But the defendants appealed last month, claiming that the police never found the person responsible for the killing and accusing the trial judges of basing their ruling on speculation and hearsay. Mr. Chanax, who lived in a park across the street from the seminary where Bishop Gerardi was killed, testified that the Limas and Sergeant Villanueva hired him to spy on the bishop, told him someone would die on the night of the killing and enlisted his help in altering the crime scene before the police could arrive.
Raoul Cédras, Philippe Biamby, Joseph Michel François, Carl Dorelien, Emmanuel Constant, and 32 others were sentenced on November 16, 2000 to life imprisonment by a Haitian court for their roles in the April 1994 massacre in the Raboteau neighborhood of the northwestern city of Gonaïves. The trial, which ended on November 10, also convicted 16 lower-ranking officers and their accomplices in the massacre. The court also awarded $43 million to the victims. The major defendants were convicted in absentia, including Lt. Gen. Raoul Cédras and Brig. Gen. Philippe Biamby, who are in Panama; former Port-au-Prince police chief Col. Joseph Michel François, who is in Honduras; former army Col. Carl Dorelien, who lives in Florida; and paramilitary leader Emmanuel “Toto” Constant, who lives in New York City. Cédras, Biamby, and François were the three primary leaders of the September 1991 coup that overthrew president Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Reuters 22 Nov 2001 Six Indian Convicts Freed in Mexico Acteal Massacre MEXICO CITY - A Mexican court freed six members of a paramilitary group imprisoned in the 1997 massacre of 45 indigenous residents in strife-torn Chiapas state, citing lack of evidence, Reforma newspaper said on Thursday. The court ratified the 35-year sentences of another 34 members of the armed group of Tzotzil Indians who attacked fellow-Tzotzil townspeople in Acteal, killing 45 men, women and children, Reforma said. The Acteal massacre was the worst single act of violence surrounding the 1994 launch of the Zapatista rebel uprising over Indian rights in Chiapas. Eight others convicted in the case, among them former members of the military and security forces, have been freed after serving half of their 2-year, seven-month sentences, the newspaper reported. The right-wing armed band that attacked Acteal villagers on Dec. 22, 1997, has been linked to the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which then ruled Mexico. The massacre was described as an act of vengeance for the death of one of the group's members in a clash with Zapatista rebels. The people of Acteal, who had fled their homes and moved to the town center due to escalating violence in the countryside, had declared their neutrality in the Zapatista rebellion and were praying for peace when they were attacked. Witnesses said military and security officials knew about the attack but failed to act to stop it. Mexico's Attorney General has said it is still investigating the crime, and more arrests could be forthcoming.
AP 22 Dec 2001 Four years after massacre, Mexico residents still seeking justice December 22, 2001 ACTEAL, Mexico (AP) -- Many villagers have returned since paramilitaries killed 45 rebel sympathizers in the tiny highland town of Acteal, Mexico, four years ago, and some of the accused killers are in prison. But survivors say the memory of the massacre has not faded. "After four years, our pain has not subsided," said Elena Perez Jimenez, who survived the massacre on December 22, 1997, when members of the a Roman Catholic community group called Las Abejas were attacked at a chapel in Acteal, in southern Mexico's volatile Chiapas state. "On the contrary, it has increased," she said. Survivors fled in fear of more violence, but many returned this year, hoping dialogue could resolve lingering local conflicts between supporters and opponents of the Zapatista National Liberation Army, a mostly Indian rebel group in Chiapas. Mexico's former ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party has lost both the presidency and the Chiapas governorship since the massacre. But despite the change, villagers still accuse the government of supporting the paramilitaries and see little hope for a resolution to the conflict. After taking office a year ago, Mexican President Vicente Fox focused on making peace with the Zapatistas, who staged a rebellion in 1994, but talks collapsed after Congress watered down an Indian-rights bill the rebels supported. In Acteal, 6-year-old Efrain Gomez is a reminder of the 1997 massacre. His jawbone was shattered by a rifle bullet in the attack, and today he is unable to talk or chew his food properly. "My poor son isn't happy," said his father, Victorio Gomez, whose wife was killed in the attack. "He is sick. He doesn't eat well." A bullet left Zenaida Jimenez Luna, 9, nearly blind and killed her parents. Today, her uncle Mariano Luna cares for her. Some suspects have been convicted, but the Law Abejas group criticized a judge's decision last month to release six convicted paramilitaries. "It's four years after the massacre, and we don't see any justice," said the group's spokesman, Porfirio Arias Hernandez. At the same time, those convicted of carrying out the massacre say innocent people were sent to prison. "There were only nine people who organized and participated in Acteal, and it pains me that my friends who didn't know anything about this problem have been sentenced to 36 years in prison," convicted paramilitary member Roberto Mendez said in an interview in prison. Mendez said he and others arrived in Acteal to confront alleged Zapatistas he accused of killing 18 Institutional Revolutionary Party members. "It wasn't a massacre," he said. "It was a confrontation with hidden Zapatistas." He claimed the victims -- 21 women, 15 children and nine men -- were simply caught in the cross fire.
Reuters 19 Nov 2002 The Americas Head of Death Squad Arrested in Peru LIMA, Peru -- In a dramatic arrest that could shed light on former president Alberto Fujimori's possible involvement in human rights crimes, Peru captured the head of an army death squad that killed 25 people in two of Peru's most notorious massacres in the early 1990s. Maj. Santiago Martin Rivas was leader of the Grupo Colina death squad. The unit was convicted of killing 15 people at a party in the Barrios Altos district of Lima in 1991 and nine students and their professor at La Cantuta university in 1992. He was arrested at his Lima home. Fujimori, who ruled Peru from 1990 to 2000, is charged with responsibility for the murders. The former president, who is now in exile in Japan, has denied the charge. Martin Rivas was one of 10 officers sentenced to up to 20 years in prison for the La Cantuta killing, which happened when Peru was in the grip of leftist rebel violence. He was released after Fujimori decreed an amnesty in 1995. But he became a fugitive after Peru's top military tribunal ruled last year that the sentences should be upheld, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. His detention brings to seven the number of Grupo Colina members behind bars; 14 are still at large, Interior Minister Gino Costa said. Costa said at a news conference that Martin Rivas had been under surveillance for a week.
In January 2001 both houses of the Cambodian Parliament approved the "Law on the Establishment of Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia for the Prosecution of Crimes Committed During the Period of Democratic Kampuchea." The law, when ratified by the king, would establish a Cambodian court to prosecute senior leaders of Democratic Kampuchea responsible for serious violations of Cambodian and international law committed between 17 April 1975 to 6 January 1979. Under the draft law the tribunal would include a mixture of foreign and Cambodian judges.
On February 23, 2001 Prime Minister Hun Sen said there were inconsistencies in the draft law and said it would have to be revised and approved a second time in parliament. He cited a reference in the draft to the country's 1956 penal code, which allowed for the use of the death penalty, which has since been abolished. Any trial of Senior Khmer Rouge leaders is likely to reveal some evidence of the role of Hun Sen, a member of the Khmer Rouge prior to 1977. Trials are also likely to show evidence of the role of China in supporting the Khmer Rouge, as well as that of the United States between 1982 to 1991, when US backed the Khmer Rouge as the dominant member of a three organization coalition that was recognized as representing Cambodia at the United Nations until 1991.
Mass trials are not expected, but it is thought that up to 30 men, many aged in their 70s, would be tried. Among those who may stand trial are:
Kang Kek Ieu ("Duch"), head of Khmer Rouge's secret police and director of the 's notorious Security Prison S21, was arrested on May 7, 1999. At that time investigating judge of the military court, General Ngin Sam An, told reporters he was charged under two separate laws for murder and membership in an outlawed group. Kang Kek Ieu has admitted his role in mass killings. His testimony could prove important in future prosecution.
Ta Mok, military chief known as "the Butcher", was arrested in the March 1999 for Khmer Rouge era crimes. Ta Mok was Secretary of the party for the southwestern area, he orchestrates vast purges in the district of Angkor Chey, including a massacre 30,000 people. After December 1978, Ta Mok was the supreme military head of the Khmer Rouges and directed the northern stronghold of Along Veng.
Nuon Chea, ideological leader, president of parliament 1976-1979. After his defection with Khieu Samphan from the Khmer Rouge in December 1998, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said that putting him on trial would destroy the country's fragile fabric and granted him immunity from prosecution.
Khieu Samphan, head of state of Kampuchea, 1975-1978. After his defection with Nuon Chea from the Khmer Rouge in December 1998, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen granted him immunity from prosecution.
Ieng Sary, after his defection in 1996 he was granted royal amnesty.
Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot died in April 1999. Born Saloth Sar, on May 19, 1928, he was leader of the Khmer Rouge and Prime Minister of Cambodia from 1975 to 1978 when it was known as Kampuchea. He was tried by a Revolutionary Tribunal of the Khmer Rouge in July 1998, but not for 1975-1978 era crimes. He allegedly died naturally in April 1999, though no autopsy was performed leaving in doubt the cause of his death. [H.J. De Nike et al, Genocide In Cambodia; [Documents from the Trial of Pol Pot and Ieng Sary , U. of Pennsylvania Press (2000). Cambodia , www.yale.edu/cgp/ ]
Ta Mok, the group's notoriously brutal military commander, and Kaing Khek Iev, the Tuol Sleng warden also known as Duch, are the only two senior figures in detention awaiting trial for crimes against humanity. As many as 16,000 prisoners are thought to have passed through Tuol Sleng's gates on the way to execution. Vann Nath, 58, is one of 14 prisoners known to have survived the prison, which is now a genocide museum. A skillful sculptor, Vann Nath said that during his year at Tuol Sleng he made a statue of Pol Pot on the Khmer Rouge's orders, "not daring to miscount even a single hair on his eyebrow." After Pol Pot's fall, he said, "I wanted so badly to see his face and hear him speak in front of a tribunal alive." But he believes that Pol Pot's end was ordained by his karma. Researcher Youk Chhang lost 10 siblings to the Khmer Rouge, including a sister whom the Khmer Rouge accused of stealing rice. He said the Khmer Rouge cut her stomach open to check for the stolen rice. Such brutality still baffles Cambodians. "What happened was as clear as daylight, but why did it happen?" Chhang said. AP 24 Apr 2003 Judge in Khmer Rouge Case Is Killed PHNOM PENH, Cambodia -- A Cambodian judge who last year sentenced a notorious Khmer Rouge commander to life imprisonment was killed by gunmen, police said. Two unidentified men on a motorcycle pulled alongside Judge Sok Sethamony's car at an intersection in the capital and opened fire, said Heng Pov, deputy police commissioner of Phnom Penh. Witnesses reported hearing five shots. On Dec. 23, Sok Sethamony sentenced Sam Bith, a former Khmer Rouge provincial chief, to life in prison for directing the 1994 abduction and murder of three Western tourists. Sam Bith has appealed the verdict. He is one of the highest-ranking Khmer Rouge officials to be tried in court. However, no leader of the Khmer Rouge, the communist regime that turned Cambodia into "killing fields" during the late 1970s, has been brought to justice over the genocide.
Daily Telegraph AU 12 Mar 2003 East Timor ex-army chief jailed A FORMER Indonesian military chief for East Timor was sentenced today to five years in jail for crimes against humanity in the territory in 1999. A human rights court convicted Noer Muis, who was a colonel at the time, of failing to prevent massacres of independence supporters and others. He remains free pending an appeal. Muis is only the third police or army officer to be convicted by the court over the savage army-backed militia bloodshed before and after East Timor voted to break away from Indonesia. Ten other security force members were earlier acquitted in widely criticised verdicts. "I reject the verdict and since I have the right, I will appeal," a calm-looking Muis told reporters, complaining that the verdict was not in line with witness testimony. He was convicted of failing to prevent attacks on the diocese in Dili on September 5, 1999, and on the Dili bishop's residence the following day. The two attacks left 13 people dead. Muis was also found guilty of failing to prevent an attack on a church in Suai on September 6 in which 26 people were killed. Prosecutors had asked that he be jailed for 10 years. Chief judge Andriani Nurdin acknowledged that the minimum sentence under human rights law should have been 10 years. "Ten years is not in line with the feeling of justice of the judges' panel. Justice should be prioritised... ," she said. The verdict, read out in turns by the judges, said that "as military commander the defendant had failed to prevent his subordinates from allowing incidents to happen that led to a crime against humanity." Muis had "intentionally allowed and even gave support" to the Suai attack, it said. Last month Muis, who is now a brigadier general and deputy head of the military academy, told the court he had tried to prevent the massacres and that none of his own men were involved in them. The militias, armed and organised by the Indonesian military, launched a brutal campaign of intimidation before the UN-organised independence vote in August 1999 and a revenge campaign afterwards. An estimated 1000 people were killed.
ETAN 10 Apr 2003 Press Release: New Indictment of Indonesian Officials for Crimes East Timor Action Network Praises New Indictment of Indonesian Officials for Crimes in E Timor Media Release Rights Group Praises New Indictment of Indonesian Officials Calls on International Community to Strongly Support Joint UN/East Timor Serious Crimes Court Contact: John M. Miller, +1-718-596-7668, +1-917-690-4391 For Immediate Release April 9, 2003 - Following yesterday's indictment of Indonesian military and police officials, the East Timor Action Network/U.S. (ETAN) today urged the United States and United Nations to fully support the prosecution of Indonesian officials accused of committing crimes against humanity in East Timor by the joint UN/East Timor Serious Crimes Unit. "We urge the U.S. and the UN to actively pursue the extradition and prosecution of all those indicted by the Serious Crimes Unit (SCU) currently residing in Indonesia. The Bush administration must use all diplomatic resources at its disposal to ensure Indonesian authorities honor the indictments issued and comply with extradition requests," said John M. Miller, spokesperson for ETAN. "There must be concrete repercussions for Indonesia's complete failure to cooperate with the SCU." "The serious nature of the crimes committed, the inability of the new nation of East Timor to seek justice on its own, and the extreme violence aimed at a UN Security Council-mandated mission all necessitate international involvement," added Miller. Indonesia has publicly refused to extradite anyone to East Timor for trial. Of the 227 suspects previously indicted by the SCU, nearly two-thirds reside in Indonesia. In an effort to avoid an international court process, Indonesia established its own ad hoc court on East Timor, considered a sham by nearly all observers. The Indonesian court is expected to announce its last verdicts this month. So far, the court has acquitted 11 of 14 Indonesian defendants before it. The SCU indictment accuses 16 persons, including nine Indonesian military (TNI) officers and the former Indonesian District Chief of Police, of crimes against humanity committed against the civilian population of Covalima district in 1999. Among incidents involved is the notorious September 1999 massacre at the Suai church, where scores of women, men, and children were killed, including three priests. "East Timorese officials have expressed concern about the impact of the SCU indictments on relations with Indonesia, but East Timor's civil society has repeatedly called the pursuit of justice fundamental for stability and stated that the East Timorese people are crying out for justice," said Miller. East Timor's National Alliance for an International Tribunal, praising February's indictment of the former head of the Indonesian military General Wiranto and other high-ranking officials, wrote to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Sergio de Mello, "East Timorese victims have complained that [earlier SCU] indictments only charged lower-ranking Indonesian military and police personnel as well as militia members, but failed to address the primary perpetrators. The people of East Timor, who since 1975 have lived under Indonesian military occupation… are well aware that the violence in 1999 was part of an ongoing systematic and planned use of violence against our people." "The U.S. and UN must ensure that the SCU and its courts have sufficient resources to finish investigations and conduct effective trials," added Miller. "The current May 2004 deadline for the SCU must be extended by the Security Council. Otherwise, justice will become just one more broken international promise to the people of East Timor." "UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the Security Council must further establish an international tribunal to investigate and try war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed throughout the illegal Indonesian occupation of East Timor, from 1975 to 1999." Background The April 8 indictment charges eight TNI District and Sub-District Commanders, the former Indonesian District Civilian Administrator (also a TNI Officer), the former Indonesian District Chief of Police and six East Timorese TNI soldiers with 31 counts of crimes against humanity, including murder, extermination, enforced disappearance, torture, deportation and persecution committed against the civilian population of Covalima district between 27 January 1999 and 25 October 1999. The indictment includes the September 6 massacre of refugees who sought refuge inside the Suai Church compound. Last August, the ad hoc court in Jakarta found five of those named in the SCU indictment not guilty of the church massacre. The SCU has now issued a total of 59 indictments against 243 persons. Most of those indicted remain at large, likely in Indonesia. The United Nations Transitional Authority in East Timor (UNTAET) established the SCU under authority granted by UN Security Council Resolution 1272 (25 October 1999) to set up a system to administer justice in East Timor. The SCU has focused on investigating serious crimes that took place during 1999 and prosecuting those responsible. The UN also created a hybrid international-East Timorese Special Panel of the Dili District Court to hear serious crimes cases. East Timor gained independence in May 2002, but the UN retained authority to investigate and prosecute serious crimes committed through 1999 in the post-independence UN support mission UNMISET through Security Council Resolution 1410. Indonesia's ad hoc Human Rights Court on East Timor has acquitted 11 of 14 Indonesian defendants tried thus far, in addition to two convictions for the only East Timorese on trial. The five sentences handed down were not commensurate with the crimes committed; four defendants received less than the legal minimum under Indonesian law. All remain free pending appeal. Few of the top architects of the terror in East Timor were even named as suspects, much less brought to trial. Other serious shortcomings of the Indonesian court include an extremely unprofessional courtroom environment packed with high-ranking military and militia; inadequate witness protection; and a prosecution that has presented weak and inaccurate indictments and arguments, painted a false picture of the conflict in 1999, and failed to present the overwhelming amount of evidence available. The East Timor Action Network/U.S. supports human dignity for the people of East Timor by advocating for democracy, economic justice and human rights, including women's rights. Additional background can be found at http://www.etan.org
Indonesia UNDANG-UNDANG REP. INDONESIA NOMOR 26 TAHUN 2000 - Pasal 8 - genosida
Lt. Trijoko Adiwiyono, Captain Anton Yuliantoro and 23 others. On May 17, 2000 a tribunal in the city of Banda Aceh, [Province of Aceh, northern-western tip of Sumatra Island] convicted 24 soldiers and a civilian in the July 23, 1999 murder of 56 students and their teacher, Tenugku Bantaqiyah, 55, at an Islamic boarding school in the remote central Aceh village of Beutong Ateuh. Bantaqiyah, whose son was among those killed, was a local religious leader and leader in the separatist Gerakan Aceh Merdeka [Free Aceh Movement or GAM], who have been fighting for an independent Islamic state since 1976. He was also a long time political prisoner, granted amnesty only five months earlier. The massacre began when the soldiers, allegedly searching for a GAM weapons cache, assembled the suspects to check their identity cards. This initial violence left 34 dead. The subsequent execution of 23 students, wounded in the initial raid, occured several kilometers away at a mass grave site.
The unprecedented tribunal, Indonesia's first human rights trial, was a joint civilian-military court with two military and three civilian judges, presided over by Chief Judge Ruslan Dahlan. Hasballah Saad, the Human Rights Minister, who is Acehnese, has played a leading part in the arrangements. The defendants received sentences of between 8 1/2-to-10-years.The verdict at the tribunal was abruptly announced May 17 at an unscheduled session convened under heavy security. After the verdicts were announced, the five judges were taken to the Banda Aceh airport in an armored personnel carrier and flown out of the province. At the time the verdict was announced the the prosecutors dropped their demand for the death penalty and acknowledged that the soldiers had been following orders from a senior officer, Lt. Col. Sudjono, who disappeared the previous November. Lieutenant Colonel Syafnil Armen and Lieutenant Colonel Heronimus Guru, both appeared as a witnesses at the trial but were not charged. Armen admitted to having ordered troops to bring back Teungku Bantaqiah, dead or alive and Guru was a platoon commander during the July raid. None of the 24 members of the military on trial was above the rank of captain and the majority were privates or non-commissioned officers.
The verdict was heavily criticized by Human Rights groups and members of the Aceh Merdeka who found the 10 year sentences insufficient and complained that the commanders who allegedly gave the orders were not among those brought to justice and doubted the convicted soldiers would serve their full terms. The trial began a month after a special envoy of President Wahid met with the Free Aceh Movement's guerrilla commander, Abdullah Syafei. The verdict came a day after the Indonesian government and separatist rebels, meeting in Switzerland, signed the first formal cease-fire agreement in 25 years of their fighting in Aceh.
news.com.au (Australia) 20 Aug 2002 Concern over court acquittals By Karen Polglaze AUSTRALIA was concerned about the acquittal by an Indonesian court of six officials accused of crimes against humanity in East Timor, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said. The process was meant to bring justice to the people of East Timor after the crimes committed in their territory following the August 30, 1999, vote for independence from Indonesia, Mr Downer said. "We'll make sure we follow this issue very closely," he said. "We have some concerns about what has happened." Last week, Indonesia's human rights court acquitted six officials including former East Timor police chief Timbul Silaen of crimes against humanity due to lack of evidence. The prosecution asked for Timbul to be imprisoned for more than 10 years. Four low-level military officers and one policeman were acquitted of being involved in the September Suai massacre where 50 people, including three priests, were killed in the grounds of the south coast town's cathedral. Separately, the court convicted former East Timor governor Abilio Soares for failing to control civilian militias, sentencing him to three years' jail. The international community bowed to reality in allowing Indonesia to try those accused of aiding and abetting killings, torture, rape and arson in 1999. But the court's findings have renewed concerns that justice will not be done. "On the face of it, we have some concerns," Mr Downer said. "This is a matter that we'll be discussing with the East Timorese because this is an argument about the way the East Timorese people were treated in 1999. "We know what happened to the people of East Timor in 1999 and it's a process which is meant to bring justice to those responsible for the crimes committed in 1999." Mr Downer said the prosecution could appeal the acquittals, and he would wait to see whether that occurred. But the alternative possibility of setting up an international tribunal to deal with these and other cases was unlikely to succeed because it would need the approval of the United Nations Security Council, he said. The International Criminal Court has no jurisdiction as it can hear only those crimes occurring after its establishment on July 1. Mr Downer said the East Timor government was looking at some alternative ideas which he would discuss with them but not in public.
Jakarta Post 28 Nov 2002 E. Timor militia leader sentenced to 10 years in jail Moch. N. Kurniawan, The Jakarta The ad hoc human rights court sentenced the former pro-Jakarta militia leader Eurico Guterres to 10 years in jail on Wednesday for his role in a massacre in East Timor three years ago, making him the second person of East Timorese origin to have been convicted in the landmark trial here. The verdict quickly sparked anger from Eurico, who questioned the fairness of the human rights trial for failing to punish military and police officers for their involvement in the atrocities that marked the territory's breakaway from the republic after 23 years of occupation. "It is unfair that a civilian like me must serve 10 years in jail, but all the military and police officers were acquitted even though they were responsible for the violence," a dejected Eurico said. "What I did was to try to maintain the unity of Indonesia, but now I have to go to jail." Eurico, however, does not have to start serving his jail term right away as the judges did not order his immediate imprisonment, despite the fact that they had convicted him of committing an extraordinary crime. The desolate ex-militia figure demanded that former president B.J. Habibie and former Armed Forces commander Gen. (ret) Wiranto be brought to justice for their crucial roles in the widespread destruction and violence prior to and after the referendum that resulted in East Timor's independence. Eurico said he was considering an appeal to the High Court. The verdict against Eurico has given rise to widespread suspicions that civilians are being scapegoated for the 1999 chaos in the former Indonesian province, while military and police officers are being allowed to escape scot-free. Prior to the start of Eurico's trial, former East Timor governor Abilio Jose Osorio Soares was sentenced to three years in jail. A total of 18 defendants have been or will be brought before the human rights tribunal. Eurico's sentence is still below the minimum sentence of 11 years in jail stipulated in Law No. 26/2000 on human rights tribunals, the legal basis for the trial. "We find him guilty of having allowed his followers to murder and torture people in the house of Manuel Viegas Carrascalao on April 17, 1999, in Dili, where 12 people were killed and three others injured," presiding judge Herman Heller Hutapea pronounced. Herman said that prior to the massacre, Eurico had delivered a speech to militia members during a ceremony broadcast by a local radio station ordering them to kill Manuel and his family. Manuel was one of the East Timorese leaders who supported independence for East Timor. "His speech fired up the militiamen and they responded by screaming "kill, kill, kill", and even fired shots into the air," Herman said. "As the militia's leader, Eurico should have realized that he could control and stop his followers from attacking Manuel's house, but he didn't do so." The court, however, said that the former East Timor military commander, Brig. Gen. Tono Suratman, and other government officials who attended the ceremony, must also be held responsible for the attack. "Tono ignored a report from Manuel that his house would be attacked by pro-Jakarta militiamen. He did not take any action until the incident occurred," he said. "Government officials attending the ceremony were also unwilling to use their powers to prevent the attack". Over 1,000 are believed to been killed during the widespread violence and some 250,000 people were forced to flee to East Nusa Tenggara after the referendum Human rights activists have called for an international tribunal to try the suspects, claiming that the ad hoc court had failed to provide justice for the victims of the atrocities. But observers have expressed pessimism that such an international tribunal for East Timor would materialize due to weak support from permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, including the U.S., Russia and China. Jakarta Post 30 Nov 2002 RI defers signing ICC Statute, JAKARTA: Indonesia will not ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) until after the country has reformed the current judicial system, a senior official said. Eddy Setiabudi, an official at the directorate of security and regional affairs of the Ministry of Home Affairs, said that ICC was only an alternative after the existing judicial system was no longer independent or effective. "We will ratify it after countries that have ratified it implement the Rome Statute. Besides, big countries like the U.S., Japan, China, Russia, and India have not ratified the Statute," he said in a discussion. ICC, which came into effect on July 1, 2002, has international jurisdiction over gross violations of human rights such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression. Some women activists said in the discussion that the ratification of the Statute could break the culture of impunity that often allowed violations to go unpunished. NYT 1 Dec 2002 Indonesian Human Rights Court Acquits 4 in East Timor Killings By JANE PERLEZ AKARTA, Indonesia, Nov. 30 — An Indonesian human rights court has acquitted four former security officials, including two army officers, on charges of crimes against humanity during the bloodshed that engulfed East Timor three years ago. The court's decision on Friday means that 10 Indonesian security officials who have been tried so far for crimes against humanity in the former Indonesian territory have been acquitted. The Bush administration had pressed Indonesia for convictions that would hold the military accountable for the blood bath in East Timor before and after a United Nations-sponsored referendum on independence in August 1999. Estimates put the number of civilians killed at more than 1,000. Administration officials have said that the United States will not resume full military ties — including the supply of weaponry — to Indonesia until the armed forces show some progress toward reform. But the Pentagon, eager to reinstate ties with the Indonesian military as part of the United States' campaign against terrorism, has persuaded Congress to approve funds to train selected Indonesian officers in the coming years. Initial financing of $400,000 for training under the International Military and Training program is expected to pass its final hurdle when Congress returns. Three of the acquittals announced on Friday by the presiding judge, Cicut Sutiarso, involved men charged with failing to prevent pro-Indonesian militias from attacking a church in the town of Liquica on April 6, 1999, and killing at least 22 people. The men were a soldier, Lt. Col. Asep Kuswani; a police officer, Lt. Col. Adios Salova; and the district leader, Leonita Martins. A fourth man, Lt. Col. Endar Priyanto, was the army chief in East Timor's capital, Dili, when militiamen attacked the house of a prominent independence leader, killing 12 civilians. He was charged with failing to stop the massacre. The Indonesian government convened the human rights court under pressure from Western powers. But the prosecution has proved to be staffed by weak lawyers, and the judges appear to be unschooled in their duties, human rights advocates say. The acquittals were "shocking" but "not surprising," said Sidney Jones, a human rights specialist who is the director of the International Crisis Group here. "It looks increasingly as though a deal was done between the prosecutor and the army to ensure that all officers were acquitted." Six more individuals, some of them senior military figures, are awaiting trial on charges connected with East Timor. The senior commander at the time of the violence, General Wiranto, and the head of military intelligence during the United Nations referendum, Zacky Anwar Makarim, have not been charged. Two civilians have been found guilty of charges related to the East Timor violence. Both of them are from East Timor. United Nations investigators and an Indonesian human rights commission found that the militia violence in East Timor was planned, supported and directed by the Indonesian military in an effort to prevent independence for the territory. East Timor was declared independent on May 20. The first United States ambassador to East Timor, Grover Joseph Rees 3rd, who was the chief counsel to the House International Relations Committee, is scheduled to be sworn in on Monday. AFP 1 Dec 2002 Violence claims at least six more killed in Indonesia's restive Aceh BANDA ACEH, Indonesia, Dec 1 (AFP) - At least six people, including two soldiers and a separatist rebel, were killed in the latest violence to hit Indonesia's restive province of Aceh, the military and the rebels said Sunday. Three civilians were shot dead by soldiers searching for rebels of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) in Manyang Baroh, in the North Aceh district, early on Sunday, the local GAM spokesman Teungku Jamaica said. Jamaica said that the three victims, who were arrested at their respective home and shot dead in front of the village mosque, were "civilians who had nothing to do with the GAM." An Aceh military spokesman, Colonel Firdays Komarno said that he has not received report of such incident. Komarno also said one soldier and one rebel were killed during a shootout in Seulimun, in the Aceh Besar district, on Saturday. The shootout followed an ambush on a 10-men military patrol, he said. He also said that rebels took the dead soldier's rifle while troops seized the rifle of the dead rebel. The local GAM spokesman Teungku Mukhsalmina confirmed that one rebel was killed in the incident. Komarno said that one soldier drowned while crossing a river in Lamno, West Aceh district. He was part of a team hunting down rebels who were crossing the river on a canoe when it suddenly overturned in the middle of the river. But the local GAM spokesman, Abu Hurairah, said that reports he had received said four soldiers had died in the incident. The violence took place a few days before the 26th anniversary of the GAM on December 4 and a scheduled signing of a peace pact between government and rebel representatives to end the long conflict on December 9. Komaro said that some 1,400 soldiers on Sunday entered their 33rd day of siege of a marshy area in Cot Trieng, North Aceh district, where several GAM leaders and troops were believed to be holding out. The siege has been tightened and the rebels are now confined to a two square kilometers area. Rights activists have said that since the conflict began in 1976, more than 10,000 people have been killed, some 1,200 of them in 2002 alone. Jakarta Post 2 Dec 2002 No hope of punishment military, police in rights cases Moch. N. Kurniawan, The , Jakarta Human rights activists see no hope that the ad hoc human rights court will uphold justice and punish military and police officers for their alleged involvement in the 1999 East Timor violence. Ifdhal Kasim of the Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (Elsam) said on Saturday that judges and prosecutors had seemingly perceived officers as "their colleagues, who carry out duties to safeguard territorial unity, thus they must be protected." "With such a view, no wonder prosecutors demanded minimum sentences for the officers and seemed uninterested in calling victims as witnesses, while judges had no courage, so just acquit the officers," he said. "Judges and prosecutors must start thinking that the officers who are tried in the rights court are those who misused their power to commit human rights abuses." Ori Rahman, coordinator of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), agreed with Ifdhal, saying there was no improvement in performance from judges and prosecutors handling human rights cases. "Their performances are very poor. Prosecutors still fail to present key witnesses, while judges have not upheld justice," he said. "This court can't be expected to run properly anymore." Ifdhal and Ori were commenting on the acquittal of a number of military and police officers of charges on crimes against humanity in East Timor. Ten of the total 18 defendants have already been cleared by the human rights court. Nine of them are military and police officers. So far only two civilians of East Timorese origin -- former East Timor governor Abilio Jose Osorio Soares and militia leader Eurico Guterres -- were found guilty of human rights violations by the court. Even so, they both received below the minimum sentence. Solahuddin Wahid of the National Commission on human rights (Komnas HAM) also expressed skepticism about the court because it only sentenced two East Timorese civilians, but acquitted Indonesian military and police officers. "Why only East Timorese. Are they the most responsible ones?" Solahuddin said. Ifdhal said the government must share responsibility for the acquittal of a number of military and police officers from charges of human rights abuses in East Timor in 1999. Since the beginning, he said, the government was reluctant to bring officers to the court as none of the high-ranking officers, believed to be responsible for the chaos, were among those who were even named as defendants. The government, through the Attorney General's Office, also failed to bring strong witnesses to the trial, which made it easy for the judges to acquit the officers. Ifdhal also said that unknowledgeable and poorly trained judges and prosecutors made for very poor performance. "The judges and prosecutors are not even given appropriate literature to learn about other human rights cases in other countries, although the information is very important to help them to take action. "So only the creative prosecutors or judges, who will spend extra time and money to get the information can understand human rights," he said. According to him, the relative decrease in international pressure on the ad hoc court amid the war on terrorism also gave a certain amount of leeway to the judges in acquitting the defendants. "Although it's unlikely, we hope that the United Nations Commissioner on Human Rights will declare disappointment over the Indonesian ad hoc court," he said The UN Commission on Human Rights was instrumental in forcing Indonesia to establish the ad hoc human rights court to try those behind the carnage in East Timor. Some human rights groups estimated that around 1,000 people were killed in East Timor before, during and after the East Timor self-determination ballot in August 1999. The carnage was believed to be conducted by pro-Indonesia militias, which were supported by elements in the Indonesian military. The U.S. government then penalized the Indonesian Military for the carnage by imposing an embargo on weapon sales to Indonesia. The U.S. has lifted the embargo on the sales of non-lethal equipment to TNI, but still maintains the embargo on other items including officer training. The trials are a one of several necessary requirements of the Leahy Law and must be satisfied before the U.S. can restore full military ties with Indonesia.
Survival International 21 May 2003 Papua: soldiers convicted over tribal leader's death Seven low-ranking members of the Indonesian special forces have been convicted of causing the death of Papuan tribal leader Theys Eluay in November 2001. But the soldiers, three of whom remain in the army, have been given jail terms of only two to three and a half years, angering Papua's tribal peoples. Reports of torture and murder by the military continue. http://www.survival-international.org/tc%20papua.htm
AP 13 Mar 2003 Indonesia Sentences General in East Timor Attacks By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS AKARTA, Indonesia, March 12 — An Indonesian general was sentenced today to five years in jail for failing to prevent two deadly attacks against civilians during East Timor's break with Indonesia in 1999. He is the highest-ranking officer to be convicted over the violence. The officer, Brig. Gen. Noer Muis, is among 18 Indonesian officials and militiamen who have been tried over the violence, which erupted before and after a United Nations-sponsored independence referendum on Aug. 30, 1999. The special human rights court in Jakarta has acquitted 12 defendants. Two lower-ranking officers and two civilians have been sentenced to prison terms ranging from 3 to 10 years. Two other trials are still in progress. Human rights activists have criticized the trials, saying they are intended to defuse an international drive to set up a United Nations war crimes trial for East Timor. General Muis, who was Indonesia's last military commander in East Timor, was accused of allowing pro-Jakarta militias in the town of Suai to attack a church in which 27 people died on Sept. 6, 1999. On the same day, the court said, the general stood by as hundreds of pro-Jakarta militiamen and police officers invaded the home of a Roman Catholic bishop, Carlos Belo. At least 15 civilians died in that attack. "The defendant did not kill anyone, but he failed to prevent and stop the attacks," Justice Adriani Nurdin told a human rights tribunal in Jakarta. "The defendant's action has resulted in many victims and has created a negative image of Indonesia in the eyes of the world." General Muis has consistently denied any wrongdoing and said he would appeal. That would allow him to remain free until the Supreme Court rules on his case. Like most of the officers on trial, the general has remained in the service. He now teaches a human rights course at the military's academy. Nearly 2,000 civilians were believed killed and 250,000 forced to flee their homes when troops and their militia proxies launched a campaign of terror aimed at forcing people to vote for continued union with Indonesia. East Timor gained full independence in May. .
Israel Israeli Law on the Crime of Genocide, 5710 -1950
Karl Adolf Eichmann, (March 19, 1906 - May 31, 1962), was convicted in 1961 of crimes against humanity and crimes against the Jewish People. After an unsuccessful appeal, he was sentenced to death on December 2 and hanged on May 31, 1962.
Eichmann joined the Austrian Nazi Party in 1932 and the Schutzstaffel (SS) in 1933, eventually becoming SS Obersturmbannfuehrer [Lt. Col.] in charge of the Department for Jewish Affairs from 1941 to 1945. He was the organizer of the the January 20, 1942 Wannsee Conference where details of the "Final Solution" were decided and chief of operations in the deportation of Jews to extermination camps. Detained by American soldiers in 1945, he used false names and was not recognized by his captors. He escaped from the Oberdachstetten POW Camp on January 5, 1946, two days after being named by his former deputy Dieter Wisliceny in testimony at the Nuremberg Tribunal [IMT, "Blue Series," Vol. 4, p. 355 http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/imt/proc/01-03-46.htm#wisliceny ]. After hiding in Germany for 4 years, in 1950 Eichman fled via Austria to Italy, where in a Franciscan monastery in Genoa, he acquired a refugee passport bearing the name Ricardo Klement, which he used to receive an visa for Argentina. He arrived in Argentina in August 1950 where he lived for ten years, even bringing his family from Germany. On May 11, 1960 he was abducted by agents of the Israeli Mossad (Secret Service). Amid protests by Argentina at the U.N., Eichman was taken to Israel where his trial in Jerusalem from April 2 to August 14, 1960 resulted in his conviction under the Nazis and Nazi Collaborators (Punishment) Law 5710-1950. On February 29, 2000 Israel released Eichmann's handwritten 1,300 page memoirs in connection with the defense of Deborah Lipstadt, who was being sued for libel by David Irving. Irving, a British historian unsuccessful brought a lawsuit against Lipstadt, after she accused him in a book of denying the Holocaust. [The Attorney General Versus Adolf Eichmann Criminal Case 40/61] http://www.pbs.org/eichmann/ The 2-hour documentary, The Trial of Adolf Eichmann, premiered on April 30th, 1997. http://motlc.wiesenthal.com/pages/t020/t02038.html ]
John Ivan Demjanjuk, born April 3, 1920 in the Ukraine, a former Red Army soldier, who in German captivity is alleged to have volunteered for service in the S.S., receiving training in Trawniki, Poland. Demjanjuk, became a U.S. resident in 1951 and citizen in 1958, living as an auto-worker in Cleveland, Ohio. Demjanjuk was stripped of his citizenship in June 1981 and folowing an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations was extradited to Israel in February 1986. At the conclusion of his trial, which lasted from February 1987 to April 25, 1988, he was sentenced to death for being "Ivan the Terrible" - the infamous operator of the gas chamber at Treblinka extermination camp. After evidence was produced that "Ivan the Terrible" was actually a man named Ivan Marchenko, his sentence was overturned by the Israel Supreme Court on July 29, 1993 on the grounds of reasonable doubt. Though evidence remained that Demjanjuk had nevertheless still been a guard at a Nazi death camp, the Supreme Court disallowed his retrial on other charges. He returned to Ohio where his U.S citizenship was reinstated in February 1998. At that time the U.S. Appeals Court that had approved his 1986 extradition, criticized the Office of Special Investigations saying prosecutors had behaved ``recklessly'' and perpetrated a ``fraud on the court'' for not disclosing infomration about Marchenko. The whereabouts of Marchenko remain unknown.
In May 1999 the U.S. Government, which remains convinced that Demjanjuk was a guard in several concentration camps, including the Sobibor extermination camp and the Majdanek and Flossenburg concentration camps, began proceedings to again strip him of his US citizenship. In March 2000, Demjanjuk launched Demjanjuk's $5 million a lawsuit against the US Justice Department, accusing investigators of practicing mental torture. The lawsuit was dismissed.In May 2001 a new proceeding began before U.S. District Judge Paul Matia in Cleveland. Demjanjuk's is lawyer, Michael Tigar claims his client is once again the victim of mistaken identity. Demjanjuk, who rarely ventures out of his suburban Seven Hills, Ohio home, often sees his grandchildren. His son-in-law, Ed Nishik, complains that Demjanjuk has been impoverished and devastated by a persecuting U.S. government.
[See : The Demjanjuk Case Factual & Legal Details http://www1.ca.nizkor.org/hweb/people/d/demjanjuk-john/israeli-data/; http://www.usdoj.gov/opa/pr/1999/May/195crm.htm; http://motlc.wiesenthal.com/pages/t017/t01753.html]
In August 1997 in Tokyo a war crimes compensation case was filed by 180 Chinese plaintiffs, relatives of a group of more than 2,100 allegedly killed either in wartime biological attacks or while being used as guinea pigs in other horrific Unit 731 experiments. The case has been proceeding slowly. According a statmeent made in Janaury 2001 by Shizuo Mizushima, director of a Japanese citizens' support group ABC, they plaintiffs are seeking a "sincere" apology and damages of 10 million yen (US$85,000) each from the Japanese Government. After decades of denial, Japan several years ago acknowledged that Unit 731 existed but has refused to confirm its activity. Unit 731 was set up in Manchuria after the Japanese Kwangtung army formed a puppet state in northeastern China in 1931. With headquarters in Harbin and several branches with torture chambers, the 2,000 strong unit operated till the end of World War II.
In January 2001 testiony was heard from the Chinese Bacteriologist Huang Ketai who said at least 109 people had died from the plague in Ningbo in November and December 1940 following the an air drop in on October 27, 1940 by a Japanese military plane of wheat and fleas to the city. The first patient suffering from bubonic plague appeared on October 29, 1940. The dropping of the fleas mixed with wheat by air has been confirmed by the Chinese government and was witnessed by many locals. "Obviously, the outbreak was deliberately created," Huang said. "It perfectly matches the area and the timing of the Japanese military's wheat dumping." Unlike usual outbreaks of bubonic plague, the Ningbo instance occurred in a small area, lasting just 34 days with no dead rats but one found, he said. He said the fleas, a kind not native to the region, were infected with "plague with artificially intensified toxicity," which he added only Unit 731 could do. Infected houses, hospitals and other buildings were burned and had to be left untouched for decades.
Austria Paragraph §321 of Austria's Strafgesetzbuch on genocide
Dusko Cvjetkovic, 26, a Bosnian Serb, was acquitted in a Salzburg Court after he was accused of committing arson, murder and genocide in July 1992 in the village of Kucice in Bosnia. Despite the acquittal, the Cvjetkovi case established the jurisdiction of Austrian courts over a crime committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In March 1995 the Austrian Supreme Court ruled that Austrian courts could have jurisdiction given the defendants presence in Austria and the unavailability of courts in Bosnia. Cvjetkovic, who came to Austria as a refugee in April 1993, was arrested in Salzburg in May 1994. The trial was repeatedly adjourned in October and December 1994, when the prosecutor experienced problems with witnesses contradicting their affidavits, including third-hand hearsay in their testimony and records of statements to police which proved both inaccurate and to contain translation errors. [See Axel Marschik, “The Politics of Prosecution: European National Approaches to War Crimes”, in Timothy L.H. McCormack & Gerry J. Simpson, eds, The Law of War Crimes (1997), pp. 65, 79-81).]
Belgium Belgium's Law on serious violations of international humanitarian law
Alphonse Higaniro, Gertrude Mukangango, Maria Kisito Mukabutera and Vincent Ntezimana, "the Butare four" («4 de Butare») were convicted of genocide on June 8, 2001 in Brussells, Belgium for acts occurring in Rwanda in 1994. The four were convicted by twelve jurors in a trial presided over by Judge Luc Maes. Higaniro received a 20 -year sentence, Mukangango received a 15-year sentence and Mukabutera and Ntezimana received 12-year sentences.
At the time the trial began on April 17, 2001 as many as 170 witnesses were expected to appear, including 50 flown to Belgium from Rwanda. The trial was possible under the principle of universal jurisdiction, in force in Belgian since 1993 when a law was passed empowering Belgian courts to hear cases of suspected offenders apprehended in Belgium for international crimes occuring outside of Belgian territory. Details:
Alphonse Higaniro, 52, was an ideologist of "Hutu power" in of the ruling MRND Party and owner match factory in Butare. Belgian prosecutors are now preparing a case against him. Higaro was part of the ruling circle of Rwanda - his wife is the niece of Juvénal Habyarimana and daughter of Doctor Akingeneye, personal doctor of the president. He was detained by Belgian authorities in 1995 but later released after the ICTR in Arusha declined to prosecute him. Higaro is also accused of having a role in the assassination of the ten Belgian blue helmets of MINUAR (Mission of the United Nations for Rwanda). and encouraged his employees to take part in the genocide. [http://www.diplomatiejudiciaire.com/Higaniro/Higaniro2.htm]
Gertrude Mukangango, 42, born Consolata Mukangango, Benedictine Mother Superior, and Sister Maria Kizito Mukabutera, 36, born Julienne Makubuteraa instigated killings at the Convent of Sovu, near Butare, and helped the local militia in a massacre that claimed between 5,000 and 6,000 lives. The two nuns are alleged to have not only have refused Tutsis fleeing for their lives entrance to the convent, but denounced the Tutsis to their killers. Mukangango forced hundreds of Tutsis hiding in the convent to leave on April 21, 1994, knowing they were going to be killed; Mukabutera provided gasoline on April 22, 1994 that was used to set ablaze a building where 500 Tutsis were hiding near her convent and health center outside the southern Rwandan town of Butare. The prosecution alleges some 600 died on May 5, 1994. After the genocide the two nuns went to Belgium in 1994 and have since been living in theBenedictine abbey in the village of Maredret outside Namur in the Belgian Ardennes.
Vincent Ntezimana, 40, was professor of physics at the University of Butare, wrote an ideological proclamation of the Rwandan genocide and also was involvement in massacres of thousands of Tutsis and moderate Hutus. He allegedly drew up lists of his academic colleagues to be killed. Ntezimana bears responsibility for the deaths of at least seven Tutsis, including a colleague and his wife, slain by Hutu extremists. After the genocide he was part-time lecturer to the University of Leuwen from 1994 to 1995, with a grant from the Belgian government. Beginning in April 1995 he was held on suspicion in Belgium. The case was dismissed by the Belgian courts on July 22, 1996, but later reopened.
The trial of the 'Les quatre de Butare’: ('The Butare four') occured in the shadow of that Beglium's past conduct in Africa. On a visit to Rwanda in 2000, Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt apologized for Belgium's failure to do more to prevent the genocide. After three decades as colony of Germany, Rwanda was a Belgian colony until independence in 1962. The trial was held in the Palais de Justice in Brussels, built in 1883 by King Leopold II two years before he created a private empire in the Congo (adjacent to Rwanda) plundering that nation and committing crimes many consider to be acts of genocide.
Lawyers for Higaniro, Mukangango and Mukabutera (Sister Maria Kisito) appealed their convictions to the Court of Cassation, Belgium's highest judicial authority, claiming irregularities in the trial. The court rejected the appeal on January 9, 2003. A fourth man convicted at the same trial, Ntezimana, did not appeal his 12-year sentence. Lawyers representing the defendants said they may take the case to the European court of human rights in Strasbourg, France. ``For Belgian justice, it is finished. There is no more recourse,'' said Serge Wahis, who represented Sister Maria Kisito. ``We will now look calmly at the possibility of taking this to the European court of human rights in Strasbourg.''
Abdoulaye Yerodia, is foreign minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo (Brazzaville). Belgian prosecutors issued an international arrest warrant on charges of crimes inciting racial hatred. He is accused of making public comments in August 1998 describing ethnic Tutsis as "vermin" worthy of "extermination."
Bosnia - Herzegovina Bosnia-Herzegovia Penal Code, Article 141
Borislav Herak and Sreten Damjanovic, two Bosnian Serbs, were convicted on March 30, 1993 by a Sarajevo Military court for killing and raping while serving in the Serbian militia in Bosnia. The two men were sentenced to death by firing squad, a sentence was never carried out. The trial received great attention by the Western media and government officials. Borislav Herak's confession to having committed 35 killings and 16 rapes was the centerpiece of the trial. The men had been arrested on November 11, 1992, and weeks later Herak's confession became the basis for a story by John F. Burns, in the November 27th, 1992 New York Times. The conviction was largely on the basis of Herak confession. The trial occured amid tense siege conditions in Sarajevo. The second defendant Damjanovic denied everything. In 1997 Bosnia and Herzegovina abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes. The death sentences was later reduced to 40 years and on April 9, 1999 the Supreme Court of Bosnia's Moslem-Croat Federation reduced the maximum sentence handed down to to 20 years because of mitigating circumstances.
Dinko Sakic, 78, former commander of Jasenovac Concentration Camp between April and November 1944, was convicted on 10 May 1999 by the Zagreb County Court of war crimes against civilians and sentenced to a maximum of 20 years imprisonment. From the 1940s until his extradition in 1998, Sakic had lived in Argentina under the name Ljubomir Sakic Bilanovic.
Denmark Denmark - Law Nr. 132 of April 29, 1955 on genocide
Refik Saric, Bosnian Muslim, was convicted by a Danish Court on November 24, 1994 for the imprisonment and torture of prisoners of war, grave breaches provisions of the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions. He was sentenced to eight years. The verdict was upheld by the Supreme Court on 15 September 1995. [See Prosecution v. Refik Saric, Danish High Court, Third Chamber, Eastern Division, 25 November 1994]
In August 1999, an unnamed 26-year-old Danish mercenary from Haderslev, South Jutland was investigated for activities in Kosovo fighting with the Serbian army in the Spring of 1999. The investigation was launched following a newspaper confession appearing in the Danish tabloid Ekstra Bladet, in which the man claimed to he had engaged in ethnic cleansing activity, including the killing of at least twenty civilians. Charges against the man include beating up and shooting an unspecified number of civilian men, as well as assisting in the unlawful killing of a Muslim family, including a woman and two children. A raid on the man's apartment in the town of Haderslev produced a diary in which two Finnish nationals were named as fighting alongside the him in Kosovo [See Finland]. Haderslev police investigated whether the man can be charged with treason, in addition to murder. The grounds for a treason charge would be that the man assisted enemies of the Danish state during a time of war, an activity which according to §102, 1. of the penal code is punishable by up to 16 years in jail.
Finland Finnish Penal Code on Genocide and Ethnic Agitation in Finnish and English
On August 2, 1999 Finnish police in Turku detained an unnamed 25-year-old Finnish mercenary suspected of involvement in the killing of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. Police also were searching for another 29-year-old man suspected of taking part in atrocities while serving with Serb troops in Kosovo. Persecutors anticipated prosecuting the two Finnish men under the Finnish Law on Genocide, which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. A week after his arrest the 25-year-old Finnish man was released after investigations produced no further evidence, beyond the published confession of the Danish mercenary implicating him [see Denmark].
France Article §211-1 of France's Code Pénal in French and English
Alfredo Astiz In 1990, in France, Argentinean naval officer, were condemned in absentia to a life sentence for the disappearance of two nuns, Léonie Duquet and Alice Domon in 1977. In March 1999, a second complaint for the disappearance of twelve people was accepted by French justice. Astiz narrowly escaped extradition to France in 1982, after surrendering to British troops in the Falkland Islands. Britain eventually handed him back to Argentina under conventions governing the treatment of prisoners of war.
Klaus Barbie (Oct. 25, 1913 -Sept 25 1991) Lyon SS chief, convicted on July 4, 1987 for responsibility for the deportation of 842 people from Lyons, about half of them Jews and half of them members of the French Resistance. Barbie escaped justice for nearly 40 years, and was allegedly assisted by American intelligence officers who sought his assistance in anti-Soviet intelligence. In 1951 he emigrated to Bolivia, under and the name Klaus Altmann acquired Bolivian citizenship in 1957.. In 1952 and again in 1954 Barbie was tried in absentia and sentenced to death in France for his part in more than 4,000 killings and the deportation of more than 7,000 Jews to the concentration camps. Barbie was discovered by Beate Klarsfeld in 1971 and was eventually expelled from Bolivia in 1983, returning to France to stand trial for crimes against humanity. His trial from May 11 to July 4, 1987 attracted world attention. He died in 1991 at age77. [http://www.diplomatiejudiciaire.com/Barbie.htm; http://motlc.wiesenthal.org/text/x23/xm2364.html; http://members.aol.com/voyl/barbie/Barbie.htm]
Alois Brunner, Austrian-born Nazi, was convicted in absentia and sentenced to death by French court. in 1954. At the time he was living under a false name in Germany. Brunner is held responsible for deporting 130,000 Jews to death camps between 1942 and 1945, including 300 French children deported just days before the liberation of Paris. Though some reports have circulated that he died in 1992, he was believed to be living in Syria at age 87.
Helmut Knochen (b. 1910) SS and SD Security Service Officer, was extradited to France in October 1946, brought to trial there, and sentenced to death, in 1954. Previously in June 1946 a British military court in the British zone of Germany sentenced Knochen to death for the murder of British pilots who had been taken prisoner. As senior commander of the Sicherheitspolizei (Security Police) and SD in for occupied northern France he was in charge of deporting French Jews to extermination camps as well as the execution of many Frenchmen. Knochen death sentence sentence in France was commuted in 1958 to life imprisonment. President Charles de Gaulle granted Knochen a pardon in 1962 and he was sent back to Germany, where he retired in Baden - Baden. [http://motlc.wiesenthal.org/text/x12/xm1290.html]
Pierre Laval (1883-1945) a French politician, was three times Premier between 1931 and 1936, later head of the Vichy government in France from December 1942 to 1944. Laval was convicted in 1945 of high treason and complicity with the enemy, and sentenced to death. Laval followed Nazi orders, insisting that the Jews were only being sent to work camps in the East. After the war he fled to Spain. His short, poorly run, much criticized trial, was followed by a failed suicide attempt, and his execution by a firing squad on October 15, 1945.
Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, former priest of Saint Famille Church in Kigali, Rwanda was briefly detained in 1995 from Notre-Dame des Andelys (Eure) in Nimes, France, when an investigating magistrate opened a criminal investigation on charges of "genocide, torture, ill-treatment, and degrading and inhuman activities" in Rwanda in 1994. Munyeshyaka is alleged to have selected individuals to be killed, left people to starve to death and demanded sex in return for sparing peoples lives. Witnesses claim that during the killing he carried a weapon and wore a flak-jacket. I n 1994 he fled first to Goma, Zaire and in October of that year French Catholic leaders helped him to recieve a visa to France. In January 1998, the Cour de Cassation overturned a March 1996 judgement concerning the investigating magistrate's jurisdiction and held that there was universal jurisdiction under international law. The Court based their decision on Security Council Resolution 955, which established the International Tribunal for Rwanda. On June 23 1999 the Cour de Cassation extended the scope of the jurisdiction to genocide and crimes against humanity on the basis of Law 96- 432 of 22 May 1996.
Carl Albrecht Oberg (1897 - 1965), was Hoherer SS - und Polizeifuhrer (Higher SS and Police Leader) responsible for the "Final Solution" in France. On October 10, 1946, he was extradited by the US authorities in Germany to France, and on October 9, 1954, was sentenced to death. Oberg was responsible for putting into effect the order for wearing the yellow Jewish badge as well as the deportation of 80,000 Jews from France most of whom were killed in extermination camps in Poland. On April 10, 1958, his death sentence was was reduced to life imprisonment and further reduced on October 31, 1959 under a presidential amnesty to twenty years imprisonment. In 1965, he was pardoned by President Charles de Gaulle and repatriated to Germany, where he died the same year.
Maurice Papon (b. Sept. 3, 1910) was a former Vichy French Cabinet minister, convicted in April 1998 by a Bordeaux court of complicity in crimes against humanity and sentenced to 10 years, which he is serving in La Sante prison in Paris. Papon was found guiilty for his wartime role deporting 1,590 Jews from Bordeaux, most to the Auschwitz death camp. Papon remained free on appeal until October 10, 1999, ten days before he was to have begun serving his sentence, he fled to Switzerland where he was arrested on October 21, 1999 at the Hotel Roessli in the mountain resort of Gstaad, about 60 miles south of Bern. On the same day the Court of Cassation, France's highest court, ruled that Papon lost his right of appeal by failing to report to prison as required before the hearing. On June 8, 2001 the European Court of Human Rights, set up by the Council of Europe in 1959, dismissed a Jaunary 2001 complaint by Papon which argued that his prison sentence was ``inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment'' under the terms of the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights. The court noted that none of the 43 member states of the Council of Europe has an upper age limit for detention, nor have the conditions of his incarceration ``reached the level of severity required to bring it within the scope'' of the Convention [http://www.diplomatiejudiciaire.com/Papon.htm; http://www.echr.coe.int ]
Paul Touvier (1915-July 17, 1996), a Vichy official and Lyon militia chief (called the "the Hangman of Lyon"), was sentenced in 1994 to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity. After the war he was convicted twice in absentia for crimes against humanity, but was allegedly hidden until 1967 by the right-wing elements in the Catholic church. In 1971 he was pardoned by President Georges Pompidou, but forced back into hiding by public outrage. In 1989 he was arrested in a convent in Nice. In 1994 he was convicted for the execution of of seven Jewish hostages, shot in Tilleux in June 1944, in reprisal for the assassination by the French Resistance of the Secretary of State to the Information of the Vichy government, Philippe Henriot. He died in Fresnes prison in Paris."
Germany Paragraph §220a (genocide) of Germany's Strafgesetzbuch in German and English
In 1954, the Federal Republic of Germany added Paragraph §220a on genocide to the criminal code. However because genocide was not in the criminal code when the Nazis were in power, the Federal Republic does not apply the law against persons accused of Nazi era crimes instead prosecuting accused persons for murder, physical injury, and deprivation of liberty. The Central Office of the Judicial Administrations of the Lander for Investigation of Nazi Crimes [Zentrale Stelle der Landesjustizverwaltungen zur Aufklarung von NS - Verbrechen ] was established on December 1, 1958, at Ludwigsburg, near Stuttgart. The Zentrale Stelle was given the task of investigating Nazi crimes in the period from 1933 to 1945.
Kurt Christmann (b. June 1, 1907), Commander of the mobile extermination unit Sonderkommando 10a of Einsatzgruppe D, was sentenced on December 19, 1980 by a Munich court to ten years imprisonment. Christmann was previously named at the Krasnodar Trial of July 1943 for his role in the killing of over 6,000 Jews, invalid children and other civilians during the occupation of that city between August 1942 and February 1943. Christmann received his doctorate in economic at the University of Monaco. He joined the Nazi Party in May 1933 and later joined the SS . Sonderkommando 10a was established in June 1941 and disbanded in July 1943 and operated in the area of the 171.Infanterie-Division of the XXX.Armee-Korps. Chritsman was the second commander of Sonderkommando 10a replacing Heinz Seetzen (1906-1945) in June 1942 at about the same time Walther Bierkamp (1901-1945) took the place of Otto Ohlendorf (1907-1951). Ollendorf became infamous for his testimony as a witness at Nuremberg in January 1946. After he left the Einstatzkommando in July 1943 Christmann went to Salisburg and after the war fled to Argentina returning to Germnay in 1956. For details see: StA Munich I AZ:Ks 314 Js 15264/78, verdict of against Christmann and others, pp. 14ff. (ZSL Coll.: 569) 50; Judicial proceedings in the case of the acts of cruelty committed by the German facist invaders and their accomplices in the territory of the town of Krasnodar and the Krasnodar area during the period of their temporary occupation (14 - 17 July 1943), Moscow, 1943; Also StA Munich I AZ 114 Ks 4a-c/70 verdict of 14 July 1972, case against Kurt Trimborn, pp. 29-33 (ZSL Coll.: 460)
Alfons Goetzfried (b. 1919, an ethnic German in Odessa, Ukraine) was convicted in by a Stuttgart Superior Court in May 1999 and sentenced to ten years for for taking part in mass executions of 17,000 Jews. The killings occurred as part of the the November 3 and 4, 1943 "Harvest Festival" operation at the Majdanek camp in Poland. Over 42,000 people, mostly Jews, were killed in the operation. Goetzfried had testified previously in Nazi war crimes trials in Russia and Britain. According to the prosecution, Goetzfried admitted these murders while a witness in 1997. As a witness Goetzfried admitted that he shot 500 people himself. Goetzfried was originally captured on May 9, 1945, and held in a Soviet prison near Prague. In 1947, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison. In 1991, he left the Soviet Union for Germany, Goetzfried came under suspicion after he provided testimony in an unrelated war crimes investigation in 1997 and was arrested in March 1998. In his own trial in April 1999 he denied his earlier statement saying instead his role was to "load the machine guns with magazines and loaded other pistols. But that was it. I cannot remember shooting anyone myself." Goetzfried said the action "made me sick. I vomited. They gave me medicine, and later I had to load the weapons." When the judge asked how he had felt at the time, he answered, "It was completely sad and terrible. Men, women and children were shot. They were screaming and moaning." Sentenced in May 1999 to ten years of a possible maximum 15-year sentence, Goetzfried was released in consideration of more than 10 years in Soviet labor camps and one year imprisonment while awaiting trial after his March 1998 arrest. At the time of his trial Goetzfried was reportedly still under investigation for his alleged role in more than 40,000 murders near Lvov, Ukraine, and Lublin, Poland.
Wilhelm Koppe (1896-1975) was a former senior SS commander in occupied Poland,. On October 26, 1939, Koppe was appointed Hoherer SS - und Polizeifuhrer (Higher SS and Police Leader; HSSPF) in the Warthegau (the Poznan region), a post he held until November 9, 1943. Koppe was one of the leading figures in the establishment of the Chelmno extermination camp, where 320,000 people were killed, and in the liquidation of the ghettos in the Warthegau. After the war in remained in Germany, living under the assumed name Lohmann, and working as a factory manager.His real identity was discovered in 1961, and he was arrested and prosecuted in 1961 The proceedings against him were discontinued in 1966, and he was released on medical grounds. Germany.[http://motlc.wiesenthal.org/text/x13/xm1325.html]
Anton Malloth, 89, Austrian-born former SS staff sergeant and concentration camp guard, was convicted on May 30, 2001 in Munich and sentenced by Judge Jürgen Hanreich to life imprisonment for the murder of three Jewish prisoners at Theresienstadt in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia between 1943 and 1945. A witness claimed he saw Mr. Malloth shoot and kill a Jewish laborer in September 1943 after catching him hiding cauliflower under his jacket. Prosectors also say the Mr. Malloth sprayed water at two naked prisoners in freezing temperatures in January 1944 until they died. In addition, Mr. Malloth faces a lesser charge of attempted murder for allegedly beating and kicking a Jewish inmate to death who failed to report on time; authorities cannot determine conclusively if the person died. Other witnesses at the trial said Malloth was one of the most brutal guards at the camp. Prosecutors said he was motivated by racial hatred and "arbitrarily made himself master over life and death." Austrian born Malloth took Italian citizenship after World War I, but became a German in 1939 so that he could join the SS. After the war he fled to Italy. He was sentenced to death in absentia by a Czechoslovak court in 1948 and his Italian citizenship was revoked in 1956 after the Italian authorities discovered he had lied about his past. He was not, however, deported for three decades and worked in Northern Italy as a salesman for an electrical-goods company until he was finally deported to Germany in 1988. German prosecutors in Dortmund twice investigated him, but dropped the case for lack of evidence. After a new witness from the Czech Republic came forward prosecutors in Munich reopened the investigation. Although Maloth has cancer of the esophagus, medical experts pronounced him fit to stand trial (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 23 Apr 2001, BBC May 30, 2001
Joseph Schwammberger (b. 12 Jan 1912), Commandant of Przecsyl Ghetto, was convicted of 32 homicides and sentenced to life imprisonment [on 27 August 1990]. After the war Schwammberger left Europe, arriving in Argentina from Marseilles, France on March 19, 1949. He lived in Argentina for forty years, the last 14 years during an extended extradition process. On January 9, 1976 the Federal Republic of Germany requested his extradition. The extradition was finally approved on February 28, 1988, and confirmed by the Argentinean Supreme Court on March 20, 1990.
Julius Viel (1919- 2002) , Waffen-SS Untersturmführer (2nd lieutenant), was convicted on April 3, 2001 by Ravensburg district court in southern Germany for the 1945 murder of seven Jewish prisoners inmates at Theresienstadt concentration camp. Viel was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment. Judge Hermann Winkler said Viel had acted "out of lust for murder and base motives" and not on orders. The victims were digging anti-tank trenches at Leitmeritz, near the camp, when they were killed. The seven dead and their birth years are: Ladislav Kras, 1917; Wilhelm Kaufmann, 1915; Victor Shutz, 1902; Victor Stern, 1891; Joshua Baruch, 1921; Severin Klastimel, 1896; and Robert Friedmann, 1899. Viel who became a journalist after the war, had been investigated for the murders in the 1960s, but the case was closed after a lack of evidence. In the 1990s around 360 witnesses in Germany, Austria, Britain and Canada were interviewed in a two-year investigation into the case. In 1998 Adalbert Lallier, a former Nazi, and Hungarian-born retired economics professor from Concordia University in Cananda, broke more than 50 years' silence to testify. The Judge declared that Viel's many years as an acclaimed journalist and newspaper editor did not diminish the gravity of his original crime., but were a factor in reducing the sentence. In February 2002, the court permitted Viel to be released from prison for cancer treatment at a normal hospital where he died that same month.
Cases from the Former Yugoslavia:
Novislav Djajic, 34, was sentenced on May 23, 1997 to five years imprisonment after being convicted by a Bavarian state court of 14 counts of being an accomplice to murder and attempted murder - grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention and Protocol I. The same court acquitted him in charges of crimes of genocide and attempted genocide. Djajic, who had been living in Munich since 1993, admitted witnessing the massacre of 14 Muslims in his hometown of Trnovace on June 22, 1992. [ Public Prosecutor v. Djajic, No. 20/96 (Sup. Ct. Bavaria, 3d Strafsenat, 23 May 1997) (reported in 92 AJIL (1998), pp. 528-532) ]
Nikolai Jorgic, was convicted on 26 September 1997 of 11 counts of genocide and 30 counts of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment by the Düsseldorf High Court (Public Prosecutor v. Jorgic, Oberlandesgericht Düsseldorf, 26 September 1997). His appeal was denied on April 30, 1999 see Federal High Court of Germany ruling on Nikola Jorgic genocide case
Djuradj Kusic, a Bosnian Serb, was arrested in Munich in September 1997 on suspicion of murder and complicity in crimes against humanity in former Yugoslavia. A Federal Prosecutor has opened a criminal investigation.
Maksim Sokolovic, 58, Bosnian Serb, former head of a Bosnian Serb paramilitary unit, went on trial in a Düsseldorf court on December 8, 1997 accused of murder and complicity in genocide, rape and torture during the Bosnia war.
Italy Italy's law on Genocide of 9 October 1967, n. 962
Gen. Manuel Contreras and Brig. Raúl Iturriaga, formerly of the Chilean Directorate of National Intellidence (DINA), were convicted in absentia in June 1995 by an Italian judge as the intellectual authors of the attempted murder in Rome on October 6, 1975 of Bernardo Leighton (Chilean Christian Democrat leader and former Minister of Interior in the 1960s) and his wife, Anita Fresno. The crime was carried out by an Italian neo-fascist gunman acting on DINA orders in the context of Operation Condor an extensive transnational organized effort to destroy political opponents of governments in the Southern cone region of South America. Contreras and Iturriaga were sentenced to twenty and eighteen years of imprisonment, respectively. A higher tribunal confirmed this sentence in July 1996. The Chilean government of 1995 , which was a party in the Italian case, welcomed the verdict in a press conference held by then Deputy Secretary General of Government Edgardo Riveros along with Chile's ambassador in Italy. Despite the conviction and the statements, neither Chile nor Italy has taken further action to implement the sentence.
Herbert Kappler (1907-1978) SS - Obersturmbannfuhrer in Rome from 1943 to 1944. Kappler was convicted in 1947 by an Italian military tribunal and sentenced to life imprisonment. He was extradited to Italy by the British authorities in Germany in 1947. Kappler planned and executed the deportation of about ten thousand Jews of Rome as well as reprisal killings of other Italian civilians. During the night of October 15, 1943 some 1,259 Italian Jews were arrested. On October 18, 1943, a total of 1,007 Jews were sent to Auschwitz;. Only 10 survived. . On March 23, 1944, Italian partisans killed 33 Germans with a bomb on Via Rasella in Rome. An order was received from Adolf Hitler to kill 10 Italians for each German soldier. Kappler, together with Pietro Caruso, the chief of the Italian police, was responsible for selecting the victims. Political prisoners, and Jews were sent to the Ardeatine Caves near Rome, shot in the neck in small groups, and buried under the sand; the entrances were subsequently sealed by exploding charges. Altogether, 335 persons were killed at the Ardeatine Caves, among them seventy- eight Jews. Thirty years after his imprisonment, Kappler was taken to a hospital in Rome 1977, from which he managed to escape. He died a year later in Germany. [http://motlc.wiesenthal.org/text/x12/xm1223.html]
Erich Priebke, 84, and Karl Hass, 85, two former SS captains, sentenced to life imprisonment [date], losing an appeal in March 1998. The two men assisted in the 1944 killing of 335 men and boys in the Ardeatine Caves near Rome in 1944. Priebke was arrested after being extradited from Argentina in 1995 [See Kappler].
Friedrich Wilhelm Konrad Siegfried Engel (b.January 31, 1908), former SS-Obersturmbannführer (lieutenant colonel) in charge of the Genoa branch of an SS intelligence unit, was convicted in absentia on November 15, 1999 by an Italian military court in Turin (Tribunale militare di Torino) head on charges of war crimes. The Tribunal, presided over by Dr. Stanislao Saeli, sentenced Engel to life imprisonment for killing 246 Italians in four separate massacres at Benedicta (April 6-11, 1944 147 killed), Turchino Pass (May 19, 1944, 59 killed), Portofino (December 2-3, 1944 22 killed) and Cravasco (March 23, 1945, 20 killed) during the final two years of the war in the northwest region of Liguria. [For the Sentence see http://www.associazioni.milano.it:4080/isec/ita/memoria/engsent.htm ]
In 1999 Engl was called the "Boia di Genova" (Butcher of Genoa) in the Italian media for his role in organizing reprisals against Italians for attacks against Germans. In April 2001 the case against came to attention again when German television television researchers traced the "Henker von Genua" after finding his name in the telephone directory. The television program reported Engel had been living freely for decades in Hamburg, working after the war as a lumber salesman before retiring in the 1970s. Italy immdiately requested extradition, though German law bars the extradition of citizens for crimes committed abroad. Engel had previously been investigated in 1969, but the case had been dropped for reasons that are not known because the files were lost.. .In April 2001 German prosecutors translated files of the 1999 Italian military trial and in October 2001 began seeking witnesses with the aid of an Italian historian, Carlo Gentile.
In an April 2001 statement Engel acknowledged he was present at the reprisal killings of 59 Italian prisoners of war killed in May 1944 reprisal shootings at a Turchino mountain pass outside Genoa, Italy.in Genoa in 1944. and voiced regret, acknowledged he was "jointly responsible" for the Genoa killings, but said he was only carrying out orders. The shootings at the Turchino Pass were in retaliation for an attack on a movie theater that killed six and injured 15 members of Kriegsmarine during an attack on May 14, 1944 by the Italian partisan group G.A.P. on the cinema "Odeon" in Genoa, as part of the partisan fight to drive Nazi occupying forces out of the country.
In October 2001 he denied ever killing anybody or giving an order to kill. In another statement in February 2002 he said , "I never killed anyone and never issued an order that people should be killed, and anything that contradicts that is false. It is very late in life to face the charges," he said. "But I cannot do anything about it. I'm 93 years old, so you can imagine what my health is like. I have serious heart problems and other difficulties and illnesses that I have to deal with."
Friedrich Engel was convicted by the Hamburg State Court on July 5, 2001 on 59 counts of murder and sentenced to seven years in prison for the Turchino Pass killings.. "It was a cruel and illegal killing, which Engel helped bring about," said presiding Judge Rolf Seedorf. At the trial which began on May 7, 2001, sesins were held twice-weekly sessions and were restricted to the morning in order to accomadate the 93 year old Engel. In the afternoon he was allowed to return to his Hamburg home, where he spent most of his time tending to his garden. In the trial prosecutor Jochen Kuhlmann and sought life in prison. He described the killings as particularly cruel, saying the Italian captives were bound in pairs and forced to walk onto a plank over an open grave where they were shot. Engel's lawyer, Udo Kneip, pleaded for acquittal, arguing that the prisoners had died an "honorable death." and pointing out that the Hamburg state court lhad recently upheld arguments that such reprisal killings were not explicitly outlawed under rules of war in 1944.
The trial revealed that Engel headed the intelligence unit with tracking enemies of the Nazis. Engel admiited he had approved the list of prisoners from Genoa's Marassi jail to be shot and was present during the killings, but did not order the massacre or shoot anyone. One witness, however, told the court that Engel "clearly had the job of supervising the killings" and at one point ordered a lieutenant to shoot a captive who was not yet dead. Judge Seedorf, who was born in 1944, said to Engel "You were the highest-ranking person at the site, so one must conclude that events unfolded the way you had imagined, and, I might add, to your satisfaction." Olivia Bellotti, a lawyer representing victims' families at the trial, said, "It is important that there was a conviction, that someone was held responsible." Despite the prosecutors request for a life Sentence, the Court took into account the "exceptional circumstances" created by the long interval since the crimes and a spotty witness testimony and issued a lesser sentence of Seven years. court said Friedrich Engel was too old to serve his seven-year sentence. Engel, who was born in Warnau Havel (Prussia) was enrolled to the Hitlerjugend, the Nazi Youth Organization from 1924 to 1931, before joining the Sturmabteilungen (SA) from 1932 to July 1934. He received a degree in Philosophy n 1936 and joined the SS the same year.
BBC 7 September, 2001 Kosovo assault 'was not genocide' The court ruled there was no attempt to destroy the Albanian ethnic group A United Nations court has ruled that Serbian troops did not carry out genocide against ethnic Albanians during Slobodan Milosevic's campaign of aggression in Kosovo from 1998 to 1999. The controversial ruling by the UN-supervised Supreme Court in the Kosovan capital, Pristina, has angered Albanians, and some UN officials are reported to be preparing to challenge it. The decision comes as authorities in Serbia begin the excavation of another mass grave believed to contain the bodies of around 50 Kosovar Albanians. Four graves have already been investigated, revealing the remains of 340 victims. UN 'unhappy' The court, Kosovo's highest legal body, said there had been a "systematic campaign of terror, including murders, rapes, arsons and severe maltreatments". Crimes against humanity and war crimes did take place, it said, but "the exactions committed by Milosevic's regime cannot be qualified as criminal acts of genocide, since their purpose was not the destruction of the Albanian ethnic group... but its forceful departure from Kosovo". However the BBC's Paul Wood in Belgrade says that some UN legal officials are deeply unhappy and have begun a campaign to have the ruling overturned. The decision was based on the 1948 Geneva convention which defines genocide as the intent "to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group as such". Milosevic debate The court, which is comprised of two international judges and one Albanian, was ruling on the case of a Serb, Miroslav Vuckovic, convicted of genocide by a district court in Mitrovica. International officials have raised concerns about the treatment of Serbs by Kosovo's Albanian dominated judiciary. Mr Vuckovic's conviction has now been overturned and he will face a retrial in Mitrovica. The decision is likely to reopen the debate on whether Slobodan Milosevic should face genocide charges at The Hague, where he already stands accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The tribunal is currently preparing indictments of genocide against Mr Milosevic in connection with atrocities carried out in Bosnia and Croatia. Mass grave Serbian authorities in the western Serbian town of Bajina Basta began on Thursday to excavate a mass grave thought to contain the bodies of Kosovo Albanians. They are believed to have been transported out of the province in an attempt by Mr Milosevic to cover up atrocities and possible war crimes carried out during his campaign of terror. Serbian police believe around 800 victims of the conflict in Kosovo have been buried around Serbian territory. The gruesome revelations of the bodies are credited with changing public opinion in Serbia and increasing acceptance that war crimes were carried out under the Milosevic regime.
Latvia Article 71 of the Penal Code of Latvia
Mikhail Farbtukh , 83, a former Soviet security official, was convicted in September 1999 of genocide and sentenced to seven years' imprisonment. He collected information on 31 families which led to their arrests and deportation from Latvia in 1941.
JTA 10 Oct 2001 Latvian Jews troubled by 'genocide' conviction of a former Soviet official By Benjamin Smith RIGA, Latvia, Oct. 10 (JTA) -- The recent conviction of a Soviet official for ``genocide" has many Jews questioning Latvia's commitment to an honest historical reckoning. Late last month, a court in Riga sentenced Mikhails Farbtuhs, an 83-year-old former member of the Soviet secret police, to seven years in prison for deporting families from Latvia to Siberia in the late 1940s. Latvian nationalists hailed the Sept. 27 ruling as a victory over memories of Soviet domination, which began with the USSR's annexation of Latvia in 1940. In the ensuing five decades of Soviet rule, which ended when Latvia gained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, thousands of Latvians were jailed, deported or killed by Soviet security forces. For Jewish observers, the court's decision and the use of the word ``genocide" raised concerns over what they view as the selective amnesia with which this small Baltic nation approaches its history. During World War II, some 75,000 Latvian Jews perished in the Holocaust -- 90 percent of the nation's prewar Jewish population. Experts say the scale of the tragedy might have been smaller if the local population had not helped with the killings. The Latvian government has faced repeated criticisms for its failure to prosecute Nazi-era war criminals. Farbtuhs was the second person convicted under Latvia's laws against genocide. Alfons Noviks, who headed the Soviet Union's security police during the second wave of deportations in 1949, died in prison in 1996 while serving a life sentence. Farbtuhs has appealed the verdict and will remain free until a higher court's decision some time next year. In the meantime, Latvians can be heard celebrating his conviction as a second set of Nuremberg Trials, this time dealing with the actions of Soviet officials. The parallel between Soviet and Nazi crimes troubles Jews in Latvia. ``There is no similarity between this case and Nuremberg," said Ronit Ben-Dor, press secretary of the Israeli Embassy to the Baltic states. ``The deportations were not on such a large scale as the Holocaust," and they don't fit the guidelines for international law on genocide, she said. Unlike the Nazis, she added, the Soviets targeted political dissidents, not an entire religious or ethnic group. Latvia's new chief prosecutor with the Division of Totalitarian Crimes, Janis Osis, did little to silence such critics when he spoke with JTA about Farbtuhs' case. ``This is not different from what happened in Germany. This is even worse -- what Stalin did to Latvians -- and not only Latvians, but to all of Latvia's population." Most Western historians question the application of the term ``genocide" to Soviet crimes in Latvia. ``It was not Stalin's design to exterminate the Latvians from Europe," says David Kirby, who studies Baltic history at the University of London. In fact, Kirby sees an attempt to avoid awkward questions of Latvian complicity in the Holocaust behind the focus on Soviet crimes. ``It's an easy ploy to say, 'But we were victims too.' " A march of Latvian SS veterans this year and last brought a storm of protest from Israel and a number of Jewish groups worldwide. The Latvian SS Legion was formed in 1943 under a directive issued by Hitler. For many Latvians, the legion is considered heroic because its soldiers fought against the Soviet forces that overran the country at the beginning of the war. While the Latvian government has launched a historical commission to study both Nazi and Soviet crimes, Kirby worries it will be hard to find researchers willing to dig up secrets of the Nazi era. But for Latvians like Matthew Kott, curator of Riga's Occupation Museum, trials like Farbtuhs' mark a unique opportunity for the Baltic states to exorcize their Soviet past. ``Everybody else in the world is involved in the act of seeking out Nazi war criminals," he said. ``The only people who are involved in the prosecution of Soviet crimes are the people hurt by those crimes. ``The Americans don't care, no one cares. If the Latvians don't do it, nobody will try,'' he said.
Konrads Kalejs, 86, Latvian chief prosecutor Rudita Abolina said the government uncovered evidence that Kalejs was a chief guard at a Nazi-run concentration camp in Salispils, about 25 miles from the capital, Riga. He is suspected of being an officer in the Arajs Kommando, a Nazi-sponsored death squad responsible for the murder of some 30,000 people, mostly Latvian Jews, during World War II. Latvia is currently trying to extradite him from Australia where he is living after being deported from the US, Canada. British officials failed to act quickly to detain him in January 2000, when left suddenly for Australia.In April 2000 Australia and Latvia signed a treaty of extradition. The treaty should be ratified by the two Parliaments by the end of year 2000.
Vasili Kononov, former Soviet partisan and Soviet KGB officer was prosecuted in January 2000 for genocide by Latvian officials, in connection with the deportation of more than five-hundred Latvian families in 1949.
Yevgeny Savenko, 86, former Soviet counter-intelligence agent who holds a Russian passport was convicted in July 2000 by the Kurzeme District Court, in the city of Liepaja (Western Latvia). The court sentenced him to two years in prison for crimes against humanity and genocide for his part in the persecution of fifty-two Latvians after the country was occupied by the Soviet Union in 1940. Arrested October 12, 1999, his trial began on February 28, 2000 amid protests by Russian Foreign Ministry.
Lithuania Article 99 of the Lithuanian Criminal Code
Aleksandras Lileikis, 92, was put on trial for committing atrocities against Jews during the period of Nazi occupation in Lithuania. He is suspected of having handed Jews over to death squads in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, when he was deputy head of the Nazi-sponsored Lithuanian security police, known as the Saugumas.The Court halted the trial January 1999 due to Lileikis's age and health condition. The trial of Lileikis was briefly continued via video-conferencing, but was later suspended indefinitely. Lileikis is in hospital for a variety of ailments, and medics will not permit the trial to continue with the defendant in this state. A US Federal District Court in Boston found that Aleksandras Lileikis, 88, of Norwood, Mass., had been chief of the Nazi-sponsored Lithuanian Security Police (Saugumas) in Vilnius and had played a prime role in the destruction of the Jewish community.
Kazys Gimzauskas, 92, deputy of Lileikis, trial resumed April 25, 2000 under a law allowing trials to proceed even if the accused is too ill to appear in court. Charged with genocide for allegedly sending scores of Jews to their deaths when he was an officer in the Vilnius security police during the 1941-44 Nazi occupation. from 1941 through 1944, Gimzauskas allegedly was a senior official in two units of the Saugumas, the Nazi-sponsored Lithuanian Security Police. The Saugumas played a major role in the annihilation of that nation's Jews. The government alleged that Gimzauskas served in the Lithuanian city of Kaunas in 1941 and was deputy province chief of the Saugumas in Vilnius from late 1941 until July 1944. In the latter job, he was second-in-command to Aleksandras Lileikis. Documents signed by Gimzauskas and found in the Lithuanian Central State Archives show that he ordered the arrest, interrogation, incarceration and turnover to the German Security Police for execution of civilians, including many Jews. Gimzauskas lived in the US from 1956 to 1994, a retired machinist who once lived in St. Petersburg, Florida, in June 1996, after he had returned to Lithuania, he was stripped of his US citizenship [New York Times, July 5, 2000 pA8]. In February 2001 a Lithuanian court found Gimzauskas guilty of collaborating with the Nazis in genocide during World War Two.
Antanas Mineikis, 80, died November 1997 at an old-age home where he had recently suffered a stroke. After the war, Mineikis fled Lithuania and settled in the United States. He was deported to Lithuania after he was stripped of his U.S. citizenship in 1992 for concealing his wartime service in a Nazi-led execution squad. The Lithuanian prosecutor general had investigated Mineikis' past, but later stopped the probe, citing a lack of evidence.
Darko Knezevic, on 11 November 1997, the Netherlands Supreme Court [Hoge Raad] held that a Military Court had could exercise universal jurisdiction to try Darko Knezevic for laws and customs of war, including grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions committed in the former Yugoslavia [Prosecution v. Darko Knezevic, Sup. Ct. Neth., 11 November 1997]
BBC 2 Nov 2002, Poles blamed for wartime massacres As many as 1,600 Jews were killed in Jedwabne At least 30 organised massacres of Jews in Poland during World War II were carried out by local people rather than occupying German Nazis, a new report has revealed. It [report] brings to light information that was so far buried in the archives and puts the facts in a broad perspective Pawel Machcewicz, editor of the report The investigation by Poland's Institute for National Remembrance (IPN) was carried out after allegations made two years ago that Poles killed 1,600 Jews in the north-eastern village of Jedwabne in 1941. The report - due to be published on Monday - says the Jedwabne pogrom was not an isolated incident, and that hundreds of Jews were murdered in similar attacks by Poles in more than 20 towns in the same region. The evidence about the Jedwabne pogrom has shaken many Poles' view that they were only victims during the war, as all the massacres had previously been blamed on Nazi troops. Buried information The 1,500-page report "Around Jedwabne" lists the names of more than 100 murdered Jews and at least as many of suspected killers, according to Rzechzpospolita newspaper, which saw a preview of the report. About three million Polish Jews died in the Holocaust IPN researchers dug out records from 1946-1958 investigations and trials and translated written testimonies which survivors had given to a regional Jewish history commission. "It brings to light information that was so far buried in the archives and puts the facts in a broad perspective," Pawel Machcewicz, editor of the report, told the Associated Press news agency. But Mr Machcewicz said it was hard to establish figures for the exact number of Jews killed by Poles because of conflicting testimony and lack of other evidence. Cover-up For decades, Polish communist authorities covered up the role of Poles in the Jedwabne massacre, blaming Nazi killing squads for the murders. But a book by Polish emigre historian Jan Gross "The Neighbours", published in 2000, challenged the official version of events. Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski made a historic apology for the killings at a 60th anniversary ceremony in Jedwabne last year, but insisted Germans were behind the pogrom. After World War II, 12 people were convicted by a Polish communist court in 1949 for having helped the Germans carry out the killings. They received sentences varying from 30 months to life in prison. One person was executed. Instytut Pamieci Narodowej - Komisja Scigania Zbrodni przeciwko Narodowi Polskiemu. http://www.ipn.gov.pl/index_eng.html
Henryk Mania, 78, of Szczecin in northwestern Poland, was convicted in July 2001 by the Konin Regional Court and sentenced under Poland's 1944 decree on prosecuting Nazi-era criminals to eight years in prison for participating in acts of genocide at the Chelmno death camp from Dec. 8, 1941 to April 7, 1943. At Chelmno Jews and Gypsies were killed by exhaust fumes inside sealed trucks beginning in 1941. It was the first case brought by the government's Institute of National Remembrance (www.ipn.gov.pl) which in June 200 of began investigating archives and documents relating to Communist- and Nazi-era crimes. Mania testified that he had been forced to work in the camp and threatened with death if he tried to escape. Judge Marian Pogorzelski said the defendant and other Poles who worked at the camp had "lived on friendly terms with German commanders." arrested in November 2000, Mania is specifically accused of beating Jewish prisoners, taking their valuables and leading them into gas chambers. Polish sources say as many as 300,000 people, mostly Jews from the ghetto in the city of Lodz, were killed at Chelmno. Henryk M. is the only survivor of seven Poles who were on the camp technical staff, investigators said. The others never faced charges.
Mania's lawyer, Jaroslaw Ladrowski, has taken the case all the way to the Supreme Court and the defendant was freed pending the outcome of the appeal. In 2002 Ladrowsk argued before the Pozanan Court of Appeals that Mania had been a prisoner himself and was forced to work at the camp by the Nazis, who threatened to kill him if he disobeyed or tried to escape. The Appeals Court however upheld the 2001 ruling, citing evidence that Mania had shown eagerness to beat victims and rob them of their belongings. On April 8, 2003 verdict was upheld by the Supreme Court of Poland. "There is no doubt that Mania was a prisoner," said Judge Rafal Malarski, "but his role was confirmed unequivocally.''
Wojciech Jaruzelski (b. July 6, 1923), former General and Poland's communist leader from December 1981 to December 1990 and six co-defendants, mostly former military commanders, were brought to trial in May 2001 in Warsaw District Court for the killing on December 17, 1970 of shipyard workers protesting food-price increases. At least 44 people were killed and more than 1,000 wounded in the Baltic coast cities of Gdynia, Gdansk, Szczecin and Elblag. Jaruzelski, the defense minister at the time, is charged with participating in order the military to fire on demonstrators. The indictment claims that by law of the Polish People's Republic, only the Cabinet of Ministers could make the decision on using weapons. In 1970 the decision was made by the late former head of the Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR), Wladyslaw Gomulka. None of the people from the highest authorities of the PZPR, who were present during the cabinet meeting dealing with the December 1970 protests, raised an objection to the decision, including Jaruzelski.
Jaruzelski, on his opening statement October 18, 2001, contended the case against him was motivated by political revenge. He argues that the prosecutors who prepared the indictment against him are biased and ignored key evidence. Dismissing the charges as emotion-driven accusations "spread by the media." Jaruzelski argued that "The prosecutor already has suggested that what happened then was an act of genocide against the Polish nation." In the packed courtroom Tuesday were army veterans who turned out to support the old general. ``It's a political game dictated by the desire to get back at Jaruzelski for the fact that he introduced martial law,'' said Aleksander Chmielewski, an ex-lieutenant.
Soon after Jaruselski's statement the chief judge fell ill, causing a three month delay. When the trial resumed on February 26, 2002 the court ordered the trial to begin again because the break had exceeded maximum 35 days allowed by trial procedures. Delays continued through 2002. The court began hearing witness testimony in September 2002 when a man who was a prosecutor in 1970 testified he didn't investigate the killings because he was never ordered to do so. Prosecutor Bogdan Szegda wants the court to hear some 1,200 witnesses in the trial.
Jaruzelski suffers from high blood pressure as well as back and kidney problems. He wears dark glasses, even indoors, because of sensitivity to light and walks with a cane. Doctors are expected to keep a close watch on the retired general, and the court has agreed to limit hearings to three or four hours. The case was also delayed in May 2001 when Jaruzelski's attorneys, Witold Rozwens and Kazimierz Lojewski, quit after the court refused to throw out what they contended was a flawed and lengthy indictment. Rozwens complained that the 400-page indictment calls for 1,200 witnesses to testify and statements of another 3,200 to be read in court. Evidence in the case fills about 200 volumes.
Jaruzelski was first charged with criminal conduct in a 1970 killings by a court in Gdansk in 1993, but court proceedings were halted in 1996 because of jurisdictional issues and the poor health of Jaruzelski and other defendants. In 1999 Poland's Supreme Court ordered a new trial and moved it to Warsaw, where Jaruzelski lives. The 1970 killings galvanized Poles to fight communism, especially in the Baltic shipyards. The founder of the Solidarity movement that eventually toppled communist rule, Lech Walesa, was a member of the Gdansk shipyard's strike committee in 1970.
From a family of landed gentry, Jaruzelski was educated in Catholic schools during the 1930s. During the German-Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939, Jaruzelski was deported to the Soviet Union where he performed forced labor in the Karaganda coal mines in Kazakhstan. Later in the war he was selected for Soviet Officer Training School. He participated in the liberation of Warsaw and Berlin as an officer in the First Polish Army, a Soviet-sponsored corps. After WWII, Jaruzelski fought the anti-communist Polish Home Army from 1945 to 1947 and joined the Communist Party in 1947. Jaruzelski swiftly advanced in the Polish Army rose becoming a General in 1956 and Minister of Defense in 1968, shortly before the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in which Polish troops participated.
Czeslaw Kiszczak, 75 former communist-era General and Polish interior minister , began trial on May 16, 2001 for the killing nine and injuring 25 coal miners on 16 December 1981 during the martial-law crackdown on the Solidarity movement. Prosecutors allege General Kiszczak sent a coded message ordering riot police to use live ammunition to stop the strike. After the declaration of martial law, several hundred miners of the Wujek and Manifest Lipcowy coal mines barricaded the entrances to their mines and went on strike. The troops summoned to unblock the mines opened fire. General Kiszczak faces up to ten years in prison if found guilty. He was acquitted of the same charges in 1996, but an appeals court ordered a retrial. Kiszczak, 75, says he forbade the use of weapons and, according to his attorney, "does not want to seek protection in the statute of limitations.... He counts on an acquittal, which for him, as a former politician, is more important." Kiszczakwas an aide to then communist leader, General Wojciech Jaruzelski, who ordered martial law in December, 1981, to crush the Solidarity trade union and democracy movement.
Twenty-two former members of the ZOMO riot police were acquitted by Katowice District Court on October 30, 2001 in the killing nine and injuring 25 coal miners on 16 December 1981 (see Kiszczak above). Chief Judge Aleksandra Rotkiel said evidence failed to provide "indisputable proof" of the charges in the indictment. During the two year trial the defendants testified that they fired only warning shots over the heads of the miners. Defense lawyers said testimony and ballistics evidence suggested that nearby army troops could have killed the miners. Prosecutors acknowledged that 20 years after the shootings hard evidence is difficult to find. Documents dealing with the orders issued at the time were long ago destroyed. Some witnesses, including the provincial police commander in charge, have died. Relatives and friends of the dead shouted "Shame!" and "So who was shooting?" after the verdict was announced. The defendants were acquitted of the same charges in 1997 after a 4 1/2-year trial, but an appeals court found procedural mistakes and ordered a retrial. Former Justice Minister Lech Kaczynski criticized the sentence, saying it proves only that the country's judicial system is either unable or unwilling to deal with crimes committed by functionaries of the communist era. The trial of former interior minister, Czeslaw Kiszczak, who allegedly gave an order to shoot is still in progress.
Romania Article 356 of the Romanian Penal Code in English
Nicolae Ceausecu, Communist dictator of Romania brought before a trial on December 25, 1989so brief that it could be considered a summary execution. Together with his wife he was charged with genocide under Article 356 of the Romanian Penal Code for the massacre at city of Timisoara in western Romania on December 17, 1989. During the massacre 689 persons were killed and 1, 2000 were wounded.
Tudor Postelnicu, former interior minister; Emil Bobu, former Politburo member, Ion Dinca, former deputy prime minister; and Manea Manescu, former Vice President were convicted on January 27, 1990 in complicity in genocide for the massacre at Timisoara on December 17, 1989.
Constantin Dascalescu (1923-2003), Romanian premier from 1982 to 1989, was arrested in December 1989 on charges of genocide for for allegedly contributing to the massacre of 689 persons in Timisoara that month. The charges were later reduced to first-degree murder. Dascalescu was sentenced to life in prison in 1991, but was later released on medical grounds. He died in May 2003. Sent by Communist dictator Ceausescu to crush the Timisoara revolt, Dascalescu at first refused to talk to the demonstrators, declaring, "I won't speak to hooligans." He later changed his mind and met with representatives of the crowd. About 150 people who had been detained by the secret police were released on his orders during the negotiations.
Russia Article §357 of the Russian Federal Criminal Code in Russian and English
Vasilly Petrovich Tishchenko, and 10 others were tried by a Soviet military tribunal in Krasnodar from July 14 to 17, 1943 the first War Crimes Trial of World War II. Presided over by Colonel N.Y. Moyorov, the men were charged under Articles 58-1 and 51-1b of the RSFSR Criminal Code for the deaths of thousand so of Soviet citizens including Jews killed in the first weeks of the occupation and and later hospital patients. The tribunal sentenced 8 of the 11 to death by hanging. Three others were sentenced to 20 years hard labor. Those sentenced to death were executed in public on July 18. . Tishchenko, 29, was the highest ranking of 11 Russian collaborators from Krasnodar who in June 1942 voluntarily joined the auxiliary unit of Sonderkommando 10a under the command of Dr. Kurt Christmann. The unit was part of of Einsatzgruppe D which used gas vans in the murder of thousands by carbon monoxide poisoning in the North Caucasus region on Russia in 1942.
Otozo Yamada, Ryuiji Kajitsuka, Kiyoshi Kawashima, Takaatsu Takahashi, Tomio Karasawa, Toshihide Nishi, Masao Onoue, Shunji Sato, Zensaku Hirazakura, Kazuo Mitomo, Norimitsu Kikuchi, and Yuji Kurushirna, twelve Japanese soldiers and scientists captured in 1945 were tried in by a Soviet Military Tribunal in Khabarovsk, Siberia between 25 - 30 December 1949. Prosecuted by State Counsellor of Jurisprudence of the Third Class, LN Smirnov, the defendants were accused of researching Bacterial Warfare and experimenting on human beings. The defendants received sentences of between 2 to 25 years, specifially twenty-five years in a Tabour correction camp for Yamada, Kajitsuka, Takahashi and Kawashima; Twenty years for Karasawa and Sato; Eighteen years for Nishi; Fifteen years for Mitomo; Twelve years for Onoue; Ten years for Hirazakura; Three years for Kurushima; and Two years for Kikuchi.
The highest ranking Japanese individuals were General Otozo Yamada, who was commander-in-chief of the Kwantung Army and Lieutenant-General Ryuiji Kajitsuka, chief of the Medical Administration in the Kwantung Army, a bacteriologist, and a doctor of medical science. Other researchers worked in a section of Unit 731 that produced in a factory germs on a large scale, bred fleas, white rats, mice and guinea pigs in vast numbers to grow the bacteria, manufactured anthrax, glanders, cattle plague and sheep plague for use in bacteriological warfare, worked to produce a medium for rapid growth of typhoid, paratyphoid, dysentery and tuberculosis germs, as wwell as took part in Unit 731 preparations for germ warfare attacks on China. Yamada admitted that Unit 731 "was formed with the object of preparing for bacteriological warfare, chiefly against the Soviet Union, Mongolia and China." The subject of experimentation on human beings ("Jintai Jikken") by Unit 731, in which the prisoners were dissected after their death or vivisected to death, recieved less attention at the trial.
The Soviet trial produced evidence supporting the wartime charges by Nationalist Chinese of biological warfare by Japan, but took place in a period of Cold War antagonism. During the trial Pravda stated that the United States was "preparing for new crimes against humanity," i.e., bacteriological warfare. The United States at the time of the trial was pressing the Soviet Union to return thousands of Japanese prisoners held in Siberian labor camps since the end of World War II. William J. Sebald, MacArthur's diplomatic chief, was quoted in a United Press story in the Nippon Times on December 29, 1949, as saying the story of the trial might just be fiction and that it obviously was a "smoke screen" to obscure the fact that the Soviets had refused to account for the missing Japanese prisoners. On two occasions Gen. MacArthur's staff falsely denied knowledge of Japanese Bacteriological Warfare operations in China during the war. Previously the United States secretly offered scientists from Unit 731, including the founder, General Shiro Ishii, immunity from prosecution in exchange for his knowledge of such weapons. In recent years evidence made public by the Khabarovsk tiral has been confirmed. [ Materials on the Trial of Former Servicemen of the Japanese Army Charged with Manufacturing and Employing Bacteriological Weapons (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1950)]
The court will also hear allegations that another soldier, Lieutenant-Colonel Ivan Fyodorov, ordered his men to open fire on the village without good reason.
Yuri Budanov , Colonel commander of a tank regiment ]commander of the 160th tank regiment in Chechnya
acquited in December 3`1, 2002 on charges of manslaughter by a military court in Rostov-on-DonNorth Caucuses Military District Court recognised Budanov as mentally ill, irresponsible for his actions and relieved him of the criminal charges.
that ruled the Russian officer insane and ordered his psychiatric treatment.
rangled her in an angry outburst during an interrogation.murder of 17-year-old Elza Kungayeva in March 2000Kheda Kungaeva allegedly abducted from her village near Urus Martan in March last year.
south-west of the Chechen capital, Grozny
On the night of 26 March 2000 commander of military unit 13206 Colonel Yuriy Budanov arrived at the village of Tangi Chu in Chechen district of Urus Martan in an armoured vehicle accompanied by servicemen of signals company Sergeants Grigoriev, Lee Yen Shou and private Yegorov. Acting under Bouganov’s orders, his subordinates kidnapped 18 year-old Elza Kungayeva from No 7 of Zarechnyi Pereulok and took her to the regiment’s station. Around 3 in the morning of 27 March 2000 Budanov strangled the girl in the back of ZIL-131 lorry. Under his order, private Yegorov and sergeants Lee Yen Shou and Grigoriev took away Kungayeva’s body and buried it in the woodland near the 3rd Tank Battalion station. On the morning of 28 March 2000, around 10 o’clock, Kungayeva’s body was exhumed. This was stated in the forensic examination report carried out a day after the incident by Vladimir Lyapenko, head of the Medical Department of Russian Defence Ministry Rostov Central Laboratory No 124 for Medical And Forensic Identification. At first, Tank Regiment Commander Colonel Budanov was charged with rape of Elza Kungayeva.
Lt Roman Bagraev, the officer in charge, did not refuse to obey, but delayed while he substituted anti-tank ammunition for high- explosive shells in order to reduce civilian casualties. His senior officers were enraged that their orders had not been carried out immediately. They beat up Lt Bagraev and Col Budanov ordered him to be tied up, after which he was placed in a pit í a favorite Russian way of keeping Chechen prisoners. Later the same night Col Budanov took a light tank and drove through Tangi-Chu to the house of Vissa Kungaev, 47, an agricultural specialist. Col Budanov has since claimed that he had been told by an informer that Kungaev's daughter Kheda was a rebel sniper. The driver of the tank confirms that Col Budanov was drunk. At 1am the colonel, accompanied by three soldiers, burst into the house. Vissa, the father, ran next door to his brother's house to get help. He left his five children behind. According to them, the soldiers first grabbed Kungaev's younger daughter Khava in her bedroom, but when she screamed Col Budanov said, "Let her go. Take that one" í pointing at Kheda. One of the soldiers threw a blanket over Kheda's head and took her back to the tank. She was, according to her last school report dated 1999, "very modest, kind, extremely shy and timid." Col Budanov took her back to his command vehicle. He ordered all the other soldiers out and put on loud music. It was then, her family alleges, that the rape took place. Soldiers said they heard screaming, but claimed it was of two people arguing, "not of a woman screaming for help."
Inde UK 21 May 2001
the first soldier to be accused of carrying out atrocities during the military campaign since operations began in Chechnya almost a year and a half ago. Trial began ion February 2001 Prosecutor Alexander Derbenyov and the suers' defense lawyer had demanded that Budanov be sentenced to 12 years in prison, stripped of his military rank and awards, and not allowed to hold official posts for three years.
Colonel Budanov has admitted the murder, but denies it was pre-meditated.He told the court he detained the woman because he thought she was a sniper.
Ivan Fyodorov, who was found guilty Tuesday of abuse of authority for participating with Budanov in the beating of another officer. He was sentenced to three years' imprisonment, but was expected to be freed under an amnesty announced in 2000 for people sentenced to three years
Lieutenant Bagreyev, who on the evening of 26 March refused to obey the Head of Regimental HQ, Ivan Fyodorov’s order to open fire at the village of Tangi Chu, was beaten up by Budanov and Fyodorov and put into a pit. or less.
BBC (28 Feb 2001) A Russian army colonel has gone on trial accused of kidnapping and murdering a young Chechen woman during the war in the republic. Colonel Yuri Budanov is He is appearing before an army tribunal in the southern city of Rostov. Colonel Budanov is charged with kidnapping and murdering an 18-year-old Chechen woman, He then stThe cases are being used by Russia to show that it will take action if crimes are committed in Chechnya. But organisations monitoring human rights believe these trials are just the tip of an iceberg.
Mar 2002 The prosecution of a Russian officer, Yury Budanov, accused of murdering an 18-year-old Chechen girl who had also been raped is a rare instance of legal action being taken, but the trial in his home city of Rostov-on-Don is still in progress more than a year after it opened.
During the often-delayed trial, court-ordered psychiatrists conducted four evaluations of Budanov's health. The first team ruled he was sane, the second ruling was never made public, and the two most recent examinations concluded that he was temporarily insane at the time of the murder.
insane based on three court-ordered psychiatric evaluations
About 50 activists from the Russian National Unity ultranationalist group, wearing black armbands with the group's insignia, stood outside the court on Tuesday to demonstrate moral support for Budanov.
. "During the trial, local nationalists and skinheads constantly rallied outside the court building. It affected the attitude of both our side and the side of the defendant," switched from an ordinary criminal trial into a political issue.Meanwhile, top Russian officers consider Budanov almost a hero. In his most recent interview for one of the Russian mass media, General Manilov, a former representative of the General Staff of the Ministry of Defense a
More than 160 investigations of crimes allegedly committed by Russian troops in Chechnya have been opened, including 14 murder investigations, since late 1999, said Alexander Mokritsky, military prosecutor for Russian troops stationed in the Caucasus. More than 50 troops have been found guilty, he said, quoted by ITAR-TASS news agency. Last month, prosecutors appealed a military court's decision to clear Russian Colonel Yury Budanov of criminal responsibility for killing a young woman while serving in Chechnya.
, By Nabi Abdullaev, MAKHACHKALA, Dagestan The prosecution's case against seven men accused in the attack on an OMON unit in Chechnya last year hit a snag Tuesday when the first witness — one of the defendants — retracted his statements. One of the main charges against the men — participation in an illegal armed formation fighting federal troops — was based on testimony given by one of them, 18-year-old Eduard Valiakhmetov, after he was taken into custody. He was the first witness called in the trial, which opened Monday in Dagestan's Supreme Court. Valiakhmetov testified that the other defendants definitely were not the ones whose photographs the investigators had shown him, asking him to identify them as members of an Islamic rebel's detachment. "I was under pressure from the investigators," he told Judge Butta Uvaisov. Valiakhmetov, a native of Tatarstan, denied being a member of the rebel formation and said he had been taken hostage in Chechnya. He said he went there in 1999 to study Islam and martial arts in one of the training camps organized by Khattab, a warlord of Arab origin. Camp authorities accused him of being an FSB syp and took him hostage, the defendant said. A similar story was earlier told to investigators by another defendant, Shamil Kitov, 31. The column of Perm OMON troops was attacked in southern Chechnya on March 29, 2000. The rebels killed 32 servicemen on the spot and took 11 hostage, offering to trade them for Colonel Yury Budanov, who is accused of murdering a young Chechen woman. When federal authorities refused, the hostages were killed. Moscow Times 23 May 2001
Since Budanov was taken into custody in March 2000 he has undergone three psychiatric examinations. The last examination, conducted at the Serbsky Institute of Psychiatry, established that "Budanov could not be fully aware of the actual character and social danger of his actions, and could not control them." The examination was conducted at the order of the court, which found the results of the previous examinations to be incomplete and insufficiently substantiated. The results of the second examination were announced in court on May 14, 2002, and suggested that Budanov was insane at the time of Kungayeva's murder.
girl's father Visa Kungayev appealAs a father who has lost his daughter I cannot accept such a verdict," he says.
Prague Watchdog 4 Jan 2003 http://www.watchdog.cz/
Reuters 8 March 2002 Chechen rebel leader wants war crimes tribunal By Karl Emerick Hanuska AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The Chechen rebel leadership is pushing for the creation of a war crimes tribunal like that for the former Yugoslavia to try alleged atrocities by Russian forces, a senior Chechen representative says. "Those who committed genocide against the Chechen people must answer for their crimes. A forum for this is our key goal," Akhmed Zakayev, chief envoy of the breakaway region's president Aslan Maskhadov, told Reuters in a rare face-to-face interview on Friday. He was speaking in Amsterdam a day after meeting Carla Del Ponte, the chief prosecutor at the Hague Yugoslav war crimes tribunal. The chances of Russia agreeing to subject itself to a similar United Nations institution, however, are slim. Chechnya is in its second war in a decade and Maskhadov, elected in 1997 after forcing the Russian army to withdraw, has been waging a guerrilla campaign against troops sent back into the province in 1999 when the Kremlin blamed Chechens for bombings that killed over 300 people in Moscow and other cities. Chechen officials charge that Russian security forces rigged the blasts themselves as an excuse to invade the region, which remained formally part of Russia but de facto a separate entity. Moscow has accused Muslim Chechen leaders of being allied with Islamic militants like Osama bin Laden, which they deny. "No matter what the war's outcome is and whether or not we are acknowledged as an independent state, the Chechen people must be guaranteed the same human rights as anyone else in Europe," said Zakayev, a bearded, soft-spoken former actor. He said the talks with Del Ponte were purely "consultative", part of a series of steps to get the international community involved in ending violence in Chechnya, where tens of thousands have died since the first war began in late 1994. Chechens have long called for a greater international role in a conflict that Moscow says is a purely internal matter. RUSSIAN ANGER Russia, which rallied behind the U.S. war in Afghanistan after drawing parallels between the September 11 attacks and its own problems in Chechnya, protested in January when officials in Washington, London and Paris met Maskhadov's envoys. The creation of a U.N. institution comparable to the Hague tribunal to deal with Chechnya is highly improbable given that the court for Yugoslavia was set up by the U.N. Security Council -- on which Moscow has a permanent power of veto. Russia denies systematic abuses by its forces and says any wrongdoing by individual soldiers is properly investigated and punished. But rights groups note that few cases are brought to trial and not one Russian serviceman has yet been convicted. Zakayev praised Del Ponte, who is Swiss, for what he called courage in ensuring that the victims of war atrocities had been given the chance to speak out. "One can only be overwhelmed by her courage in a sea of hypocrisy," he said during the interview in Amsterdam. "This tiny woman like no one before has demonstrated the mettle and the courage to try and show the world that crimes will not be left unpunished." Zakayev said he was heartened by the fact the Hague tribunal was now trying former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic for genocide and crimes against humanity in the 1990s. "What I saw there was a man who thought he was untouchable, who considered himself nearly a god...sitting in the dock. That really gave me hope about what tomorrow might bring," he said. But Zakayev faulted Western nations for failing to force a settlement in Chechnya and said that without the involvement of the international community there could be no peace there. "That is what was wrong with Chechnya after the first war. It did not have the financial or political support to stand up to the security services of Russia and other nations around the world who were active there," he said. "We are a part of Europe and so Europe and the rest of the West must be a part of the solution."
Sweden Lag 169 of Sweden's Lagboken (Act of 20 March 1963)
Sinisa Jazic, in February 1995, the Public Prosecutor ordered the opening of a criminal investigation against Sinisa Jazic, a Bosnian Serb, for the murder of Bosnian Muslims in detention camps in the territory of the former Yugoslavia.
Alfredo Astiz, Captain a member of task force 332 (GT332), based in the Navy Mechanics School (ESMA: Escuela Mecanica de La Armada), a secret detention center, and extermination camp in the capital Buenos Aires). Swedish courts have linked Astiz with the death of Dagmar Hagelin, aged 17, a Swedish girl, living in Buenos Aires. Hagelin was shot and kidnapped on January 27th, 1977 carried to the ESMA, wounded but alive. At least three survivors of the ESMA saw Dagmar and talked to her in captivity. She was mentally sound and her physical condition was improving when she was finally killed by her captors. Dagmar Hagelin was kidnapped by mistake, and her disappearance became an international problem to the Argentine dictatorship. To prevent leaks about the atrocities in the ESMA, Dagmar's captors decided to kill her. [see Astiz in France section above] placed under arrest (on 28 December 2001) in Argentina, on the basis of the international warrant issued in connection with the detention order against Astiz pronounced by Stockholm City Court. The charge is kidnapping.
Fredrik Sandberg, age 25, was convicted on Janury 4, 2002 for "Hets mot folkgrupp" (agitation against an ethnic group) in violation of Sweden's hate speech law and sentenced to 6 months in prison by the Gotland District Court. Two years ago Sandberg's neo-nazi organization the Nationalsocialistisk Front (National Socialist Front), a Swediah neo-Nazi organization, published a new, 60-page edition of the 9136 Nazi booklet Die Judenfrage (The Jewish Question) and sold it on its Web site
Goran Grabez, a Bosnian Serb, was acquitted in 1997 of the charge of violating the laws and customs of war by torturing prisoners in in the Omarska and Keraterm detention camps in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the summer of 1992. After his arrest in Geneva, Grabez argued it was a case of mistaken identity, and offered an alibi defense claiming he was in Austria and Germany when the alleged crimes took place. The court found that confused testimony by prosecution witnesses left sufficient doubt about his identity. [Military Tribunal, Division 1, Lausanne, Switzerland, 18 April 1997, reported in 92 AJIL. (1998), pp. 78-82), http://www.ichrdd.ca/PublicationsE/Impunity/News0797.html ]
Fulgence Niyonteze, 35, Rwandan, engineer and former mayor of Mushubati, Gitarama prefecture, central Rwanda, was convicted by a Swiss military court in Lausanne on April 29, 1999 for murder, incitement to murder and war crimes during the Rwandan genocide of 1994. He was sentenced the same day to life imprisonment, but the sentence was reduced on May 25, 2000 to 14 years. Niyonteze was arrested in August 1996. Initially prosecutors sought to charge him with genocide, but the judge refused hear this charge because of lack of domestic law and Switzerland was not at that time a party to the genocide Convention. In December 1999 the Swiss parliament ratified the Genocide Convention and approved parallel domestic legislation.
Ernst Haldiman a German-speaking Swiss national and member of the Nazi SS was sentenced on April 28,1948 by a Swiss Military Court to twenty years in prison for his part in the December 24, 1944 mass execution of 34 men aged between 17 and 32 years in the Belgian village of Bande, in the Arrondissement of Marche. The victims were killed one at a time by gunshots fired into neck and thrown into a cellar. Afterward a volley of machine gun bullets was fired into the bodies to make sure that the men were dead. Haldiman was released on parole on June 27, 1960. Bande was first liberated by American troops on September 7, 1944, but retaken on December 22 by German forces during the December 16 Ardennes counteroffensive ( Battle of the Bulge ). On September 5, two days before the first liberation, a unit of Belgian maquis (underground) killed three German soldiers. The 34 men killed on December 24 were questioned and then executed in reprisal for these killings. One man, Léon Praile, 21, escaped to later testify. The village of Bande was liberated a second time on January 10, 1945 by British troops and an investigation of the killings lead to the identification of Haldiman by a Belgian War Crimes Court. The events in Bande were mentioned during session 50 of the Nuremberg Trial on February 4, 1946 by University of Louvain professor of history M. van der Essen in response to French Prosecutor Edgar Faure. [See http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/imt/proc/02-04-46.htm; http://www.1939-45.org/articles/massarde.htm; http://ardenne44.free.fr/page25.html]
Emilio Massera, former navy chief, in December 1998 a Swiss court has requested has requested the extradition of former Admiral and deputy military junta member Emilio Massera for kidnapping a person with Chilean and Swiss nationality in Argentina in 1977.
Jorge Rafael Videla (b. Aug. 2, 1925), Argentina's President and Army chief between 1976 and 1981, is already the object of a Swiss arrest warrant for the 1977 disappearance of a Swiss-Chilean
Jürgen Graf, born in 1951, was convicted in Baden in July 1998 of inciting racial hatred by promulgating Holocaust denial and sentenced to 15-month in prison. Graf fled from through Poland, Russia, Ukraine and Turkey before seetling in Tehran, Iran on November 17, 2000.
Anthony (Andrzej) Sawoniuk, born 7 March 1921, was convicted in April 1999 on two counts of murder for his role in killing Jewish families in 1942 in his hometown of Domachevo while working at age 20 in a local German-controlled police force in Belarus. The prosecution case was based upon eyewitnesses accounts of events wich occured 57 years earlier. Soon after the trial began on February 8, 1999, British jurors traveled to the crime scene in Belarus. Swaoniuk originally entered Britain in 1945 shortly after making a switch in December 1944 in Italy from a Belorussian Waffen SS Unit to a Polish unit fighting alongside the British Army. He later worked for 25 years until 1986 as a ticket collector British Rail, an lived in Bermondsey estate in southeast London. Allegations against him, began in 1993, leading to his arrest in 1996. Sawoniuk appealed his conviction on the basis of "abuse of the process of the court". The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Bingham, said: "In our judgment the conclusion reached by the judge, despite the unprecedented passage of time since 1942, was correct." Since losing this appeal Sawoniuk has been in Gartree Prison in Leicester serving his sentence.
Szymon Serafinowicz (1911-1997) a former police chief in Nazi-occupied Belarus during World War II and retired carpenter from Dorking, Surrey, was indicted July 1995, and tried in April 1996 for crimes committed in 1941-42 in German-occupied Belarus, including the murdering three unknown Jews. He was the first person to be charged under the 1991 War Crimes Act. The trial was discontinued when the judge ruled that Serafinowicz unfit for trial due to Alzheimer's disease. He died seven months later in August 1997.
UPI 11 Oct 2002 Officers convicted of Kosovo war crimes By Stevan Zivanovic BELGRADE, Yugoslavia, Oct. 11 (UPI) -- A military court on Friday found Yugoslav army officers guilty of war crimes against civilians in Kosovo -- for the first time in the almost three and one-half years since the end of the 11-week conflict with NATO over the province in 1999. At the same time, another war crimes trial is being held in the civilian district court in Prokuplje, Serbia proper, against two members of a special anti-terrorist police unit known called the Scorpions. The most famous of those on trial for crimes against humanity in Kosovo, the former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, has already had his case heard before the United Nations tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands. Milosevic's trial continues, however, regarding his alleged command responsibility for similar crimes in Croatia and Bosnia, two other parts of what was once Yugoslavia. And the court is still waiting for Belgrade to hand over two of the three senior army officers -- Veselin Sljivancanin and Miroslav Radic, accused of the destruction of the Croatian town of Vukovar in November 1991 and the arbitrary killing of over 250 Croat civilians taken away from the town's hospital. The third accused, Gen. Mile Mrksic, turned himself in to the tribunal and just had his request for provisional release refused. Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and his army commander, Gen. Ratko Mladic, are still on the run despite years of efforts by international forces in Bosnia and the tribunal's pressure on Belgrade to catch them and bring them to justice. But Biljana Plavsic and Momcilo Krajisnik, two of the men's former close associates and co-defendants with Milosevic for alleged genocide and other crimes in Bosnia, are facing a trial that is scheduled in The Hague for next month. Krajisnik was arrested in Bosnia by international peacekeeping troops and turned over to the tribunal in April 2000. Plavsic, another former president of Republika Srpska -- the Serb half of Bosnia-Herzegovina -- surrendered voluntarily in January 2001 and has been on provisional release for the past year. She recently changed her plea from innocent to guilty to charges of war crimes against Muslims and Croats in Bosnia in the early 1990s. Friday's military court finding in the central Serbian town of Nis jailed Lt. Col. Zlatan Mancic for seven years and Capt. Rade Radivojevic for five years on charges of ordering two soldiers to kill two Albanians during the conflict in April 1999. Mancic was also found guilty of extorting money from Albanian civilians in a refugee convoy. The law specifies jail terms of five to 40 years for those convicted of war crimes. Radenko Miladinovic, presiding over the trial chamber, said Mancic and Radivojevic as security officers had been obliged to ensure civilians were given protection but had instead ordered murders. Both officers denied the charges. Two former soldiers who actually carried out the murders, Danilo Tesic and Misel Seregij, both 24 years of age, were sentenced to four and three years imprisonment, respectively. They admitted murdering the two Albanians and burning their bodies. The court gave those soldiers less than the minimum sentences in view of extenuating circumstances: Miladinovic explained that they had committed the murders in the belief that they themselves would be killed if they refused to carry out the order. Nevertheless, he was firm in adding, all four men had violated the Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians. They were released pending appeals within the next 15 days. At Prokuplje, meanwhile, none of the five witnesses testifying Friday confirmed that Scorpion members Sasa Cvjetan and Dejan Demirovic, both 27, committed a war crime of killing several Albanian civilians in the Kosovo town of Podujevo on March 28, 1999. Scorpions commander Boco Medic, one of the witnesses, told the court he was confident that none of his troops had committed the murders. His men were distinguished by "Serbian military honor and uprightness," he declared. "If I had learnt that any of my fighters had committed such dishonorable deeds, I would personally have punished them (with death) on the spot," said Medic. Earlier this week, some 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) away in The Hague, a Belgrade journalist told the Milosevic trial panel about his wartime tours of the regions. Dejan Anastasijevic said he had heard of the operations of Scorpion members in eastern Croatia and Bosnia where they struck terror into the local population, but had never seen them. "People there told me, 'Where SAJ (Scorpion) men treaded, the grass did not grow'," he said. Milosevic denied that any police units commanded by the Serbian government had ever crossed into the neighboring territories of the former Yugoslavia.
Schabas, William A., “National Courts Finally Begin to Prosecute Genocide, the ‘Crime of Crimes’”, Journal of International Criminal Justice, Volume 1, Issue 1, April 2003: pp. 39-63. Abstract | Full Text (25 Page PDF file)
The 1948 Genocide Convention contemplates prosecution by the national courts of the territory where the crime took place, and by an international criminal court. The drafters of the Convention meant to exclude universal jurisdiction, although courts have since tended to interpret Article VI of the Convention as being merely permissive, and in no way a prohibition of universal jurisdiction. Finally, within the past decade, the national courts of the territory where genocide was committed, other national courts and the international tribunals created by the Security Council have undertaken genocide prosecutions. Alongside the activities of the two ad hoc international tribunals, national courts in Rwanda, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Kosovo have held trials based on the provisions of the Convention. The Rwandan trials now number in the thousands, but those in the other jurisdictions have been essentially symbolic. As for universal jurisdiction, the mere handful of genocide prosecutions (for instance in Germany, Switzerland, and Belgium) show that it can fill the gaps in the Convention. The problems appear to be political rather than judicial.
Individual criminal responsibility for violations of international humanitarian law committed in non-international armed conflicts by Thomas Graditzky
31 March 1998 International Review of the Red Cross no 322, p.29-56.