Sunday, April 02, 2006

Genocide_Studies Media File
March 26 - April 2, 2006

A compendium of news stories, features, and human rights reports pertaining to genocide and crimes against humanity. Compiled by Adam Jones. Please send links and feedback to To receive the Genocide Studies Media File as a weekly digest, simply send an email to


"Burundi Has Talks to Form Reconciliation Body"
Sapa-AFP dispatch in The Independent (South Africa), 1 April 2006
"Burundi has concluded a first round of talks to form a Truth and Reconciliation Committee (TRC) and a special court with a United Nations team as part of plans aimed at pacifying the tiny central African nation ravaged by more than a decade of civil war. According to a statement released Saturday, the officials discussed the formation of a judicial panel, procedures of holding consultation with the people, amnesty as well as the establishment, jurisdiction, function and financing of the TRC. 'These discussions were to make the first contact between us,' said Jean-Polydor Ndayirorere, an official in Burundi's first deputy president's office who led the government side. The United Nations delegation, led by Nicholas Michel, the world body's deputy secretary in charge of judicial affairs, said Burundi has to abolish the death penalty, recognise genocide and war crimes, crimes against humanity and independence of the special court as critical considerations in talks to form the TRC. [...]"


"Justice and Impunity in Latin America"
By Lisa Viscidi, 27 March 2006
"Guatemala's Efrain Rios Montt earned the nickname 'the General' after taking power in a 1982 coup d'etat. His sixteen-month rule is considered one of Guatemala's bloodiest periods since the Spanish conquest. Under the General's command, entire villages were massacred in a bloody counterinsurgency campaign, and some 150,000 mostly indigenous Guatemalans were killed. Despite his gruesome history, Rios Montt remained a powerful political figure and in 2003 ran as a presidential candidate despite a constitutional ban prohibiting former dictators from entering the race. In 1999, Maya activist Rigoberta Menchú submitted an indictment against the former dictator, but over six years later, the trial is still pending. Rios Montt is not an anomaly in Latin America. From El Salvador to Chile, ex-military leaders guilty of violent crimes perpetrated during the region's 'dirty wars' of the 70's and 80s roam free. Many, like Rios Montt, wield enough political power to ensure that their macabre pasts remain buried from public scrutiny. Throughout Latin America, human rights groups are seeking to convict these criminals, but most have confronted the greatest obstacle to a functioning justice system -- impunity. In Guatemala, the state has made little attempt to investigate or prosecute those responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of war victims -- most likely because a large percentage of these criminals still hold high government positions. In the few cases that have ended in conviction, only the material authors, those at the lowest level of the military, have been punished, while the intellectual authors remain immune to prosecution. [...]"


"Rights Watchdogs Probe Papua Massacre Claims"
AAP dispatch in The Sydney Morning Herald, 26 March 2006
"Human rights watchdogs in Papua are investigating reports that up to 16 students have been murdered by Indonesian security forces. The reports come amid rising tensions between Indonesia and Australia, after Canberra granted protection visas to 42 Papuan asylum seekers who claim genocide by Indonesian security forces. Australian Democrats Senator Natasha Stott Despoja said yesterday she had information from activists that 16 bodies had been found in forests near the scene of recent student riots in which four police and an Indonesian air force officer were stoned to death by protesters. Indonesia has bolstered paramilitary police numbers in the separatist-minded province since the riots against a US-owned gold mine, raising fears of more bloodshed as security forces launch reprisals. Senator Stott Despoja said her source, who she would not name, claimed 16 university students had been found dead in the forests near Cendrawasih University in Abepura, on the outskirts of the provincial capital Jayapura. 'The report's sources are reliable but are not prepared to be named to protect their own safety,' she told AAP in Australia. But Aloysius Renuaren, the Papua director of the Indonesian human rights watchdog Elsham, said the deaths were only rumours sweeping through the province. 'It's what people are saying,' he told AAP. [...]"


"Bound, Blindfolded and Dead: The Face of Atrocity in Baghdad"

By Jeffrey Gettleman
The New York Times, 26 March 2006 [Registration Required]
"[...] In the last month, hundreds of men have been kidnapped, tortured and executed in Baghdad. As Iraqi and American leaders struggle to avert a civil war, the bodies keep piling up. The city's homicide rate has tripled from 11 to 33 a day, military officials said. The period from March 7 to March 21 was typically brutal: at least 191 bodies, many mutilated, surfaced in garbage bins, drainage ditches, minibuses and pickup trucks. There were the four Duleimi brothers, Khalid, Tarek, Taleb and Salaam, seized from their home in front of their wives. And Achmed Abdulsalam, last seen at a checkpoint in his freshly painted BMW and found dead under a bridge two days later. And Mushtak al-Nidawi, a law student nicknamed Titanic for his Leonardo DiCaprio good looks, whose body was returned to his family with his skull chopped in half. What frightens Iraqis most about these gangland-style killings is the impunity. According to reports filed by family members and more than a dozen interviews, many men were taken in daylight, in public, with witnesses all around. Few cases, if any, have been investigated. Part of the reason may be that most victims are Sunnis, and there is growing suspicion that they were killed by Shiite death squads backed by government forces in a cycle of sectarian revenge. That allegation has been circulating in Baghdad for months, and as more Sunnis turn up dead, more people are inclined to believe it. [...]"
[n.b. In a political-military context, the worst gendercidal killings occurring anywhere in the world today, with the apparent exception of Darfur.]


"Mitsubishi Awaits Judgment on War Crimes"
By Christopher Reed, 25-26 March 2006
"A Japanese judge is to rule on Wednesday, March 29, in a case that could shame the nation's leading corporation for using Nazi-style slave labor during the second world war. Yet whereas Germany long ago admitted such crimes against humanity, Japan still evades the issue. In an extraordinary legal gambit, the giant Mitsubishi conglomerate with the famous triple-diamond logo, is denying liability for thousands of Chinese serf laborers in its coal mines. It argues that Japan never even invaded its neighbor and although millions of Chinese died, the firm's lawyers told the judge that Japanese hostilities in Asia's 1931-45 war 'should be viewed essentially as a political dispute.' That would be like Germany claiming its wartime conquests in eastern Europe and Scandinavia were merely local disagreements over the relative importance of Teutonic culture. A realistic and more pertinent comparison is that Mitsubishi became in imperial Japan what the Krupp steel and armaments corporation was to Germany: a fascist war machine. But whereas Krupp chief Alfried Krupp and 10 directors received three to 12 years imprisonment each in the 1947 Nuremberg trials for enslaving thousands, Mitsubishi has never even been fined. ... In addition to enslaving thousands, Mitsubishi owned, built and operated 17 so-called 'hell ships' that carried prisoners of war and press-ganged workers to Japan and other countries, where they were forced to work in appalling conditions. They were paid a pittance that was often stolen by their employers, worked 12-15 hour days, were brutally mistreated by guards, and suffered widespread malnutrition and premature deaths. This has all been documented by numerous survivors, including Americans. [...]"


"85-Year-Old Convicted of Helping Nazis Kill Jews"
Associated Press dispatch in The Guardian, 28 March 2006
"A court in Vilnius yesterday convicted an 85-year-old Lithuanian man of helping the Nazis murder Jews but deemed him too frail to be jailed. Algimantas Dailide helped round up Jews for the Nazis as part of the Nazi-backed Vilnius security police during the second world war, when nearly 90% of Lithuania's Jewish population was killed. The judge said the defendant had been aware of committing crimes against Jews, but had not personally taken part in the killings. Prosecutors had asked for a five-year jail sentence. Dailide, who travelled willingly from his home in Germany to stand trial, denied the charges."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]


"Liberia's Ex-Leader Handed Over for War Crimes Trial"
By Xan Rice
The Guardian, 30 March 2006
"The fugitive former Liberian leader Charles Taylor arrived in Sierra Leone in handcuffs and a bulletproof jacket last night to face an international war crimes tribunal after being caught trying to cross the border from Nigeria into Cameroon. Mr. Taylor had been on the run since Monday, when he left his safe haven in the south-eastern Nigerian town of Calabar. Last night, UN peacekeepers who had escorted him on a helicopter flight from Liberia to Freetown led the former president through the razor-wire gates of a fortified court compound where he joined nine others accused of involvement in atrocities during Sierra Leone's civil war. After being placed in his cell, he was read a list of the charges against him. ... Mr. Taylor, 58, is set to become only the second former head of state -- after Slobodan Milosevic -- to appear before an international court for alleged crimes against humanity during his presidency. He has been indicted on 11 counts for backing Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front rebels, who were notorious for hacking off the limbs of their victims in a decade-long civil war. Officials said the special court had recently reduced the number of charges from 17 to allow for a more focused prosecution. The conflicts in Sierra Leone and Liberia, financed by Mr. Taylor using blood diamonds and timber, also spread into parts of Guinea and Ivory Coast, and cost tens of thousands of lives. [...]"

"Charles Taylor Cleared for Extradition"
Sapa-AFP dispatch in The Mail & Guardian (South Africa), 26 March 2006
"Charles Taylor, Liberia's exiled former warlord and president wanted internationally on crimes against humanity charges, was set to return on Saturday after Nigeria agreed to his extradition. Taylor (58) gained notoriety for plundering his own West African state, encouraging rebellion in neighbouring Côte d'Ivoire and making Guinea anxious about its own potential for revolution. He also armed and trained the notorious Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in Sierra Leone, Liberia's eastern neighbour, in exchange for still-unknown amounts of 'blood diamonds,' fuelling a 10-year conflict that left more than 200 000 dead and thousands more with missing limbs. Comparing himself to Jesus as he finally yielded to massive international pressure to step down from the presidency he claimed in 1997 after a seven-year rebellion, Taylor, a charismatic showman, asked Liberia to treat him kindly in the annals of history as he went into ayslum in Nigeria in 2003. His fortunes changed when President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf came to power last November and she demanded he be extradited. 'We hope action will be taken not only to ensure Mr Taylor the day in court which he has asked for or to ensure that he does so in an environment that is free and fair to him and that enables him the full right of self-defence,' Johnson-Sirleaf said this week after meeting United States President George Bush. 'The longer we wait to bring this matter to closure, the more difficult it will be for us to move forward as a nation and as a people.' [...]"


"Rwanda's Kagame Defends Genocide Film"
The Advertiser (Australia), 28 March 2006
"A new film on Rwanda's genocide reduced many survivors to tears at its premiere in Kigali today. President Paul Kagame said the movie would help to ensure memories of the mass murder were kept alive. Survivor Claudine Nyirumwiza emerged from the film with tears rolling down her face. 'I hate a machete. I hate seeing a machete anywhere because it reminds me the pain of slow death that my close relatives went through,' she said. ... Despite a heavy downpour, the premiere of Shooting Dogs drew some 1500 people to Kigali's Amahoro stadium, where thousands sought refuge during the 100 days of killing. The film's title refers to the way UN troops shot dogs eating the corpses that littered the streets of the Rwandan capital. A genocide survivor group has accused the film-makers of causing fresh trauma to many survivors who worked as extras. But Mr. Kagame defended the film, one of several recent accounts of the bloodletting. 'The film as such is going to be a continued part of our memory relating to the genocide and I think that memory needs to be kept,' he told reporters. [...]"

"Rwandans to See Genocide on Big Screen"
By Xan Rice
The Guardian, 27 March 2006
"A British film criticised for distressing survivors of the Rwandan genocide will have its world premiere in Kigali tonight. Shooting Dogs, financed by the BBC and featuring John Hurt and Hugh Dancy, will be shown on a giant inflatable screen to 5,000 people in the Rwandan capital's main football stadium. Guests include thousands of local extras who worked on the film and the Rwandan president, Paul Kagame, who has backed it despite concerns from survivor organisations. The £4m production tells the story of the massacre of 2,000 Tutsis who had sought sanctuary at a secondary school in the first few days of the 1994 genocide. They believed that a small group of Belgian UN peacekeepers based at the Ecole Technique Officielle would protect them. But as bands of Interahamwe militia surrounded the campus the peacekeepers pulled out. French soldiers helped evacuate the handful of westerners who had also sought sanctuary in the school, but the Rwandans were left on their own. Assisted by the national army, the Hutu militiamen systematically slaughtered their victims with machetes. [...]"

"Rwanda: Tanzania Asked to Prosecute Genocide Suspects After ICTR Mandate"
Hirondelle News Agency on, 27 March 2006
"Tanzania is likely to take over the responsibility of prosecuting Rwandan genocide suspects whose trials under the current International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) will not be completed by the year 2008. 'The Tribunal's leadership has asked the Tanzanian government to complete prosecuting genocide suspects after its mandate,' said Dr. Mary Nagu, Tanzanian minister of Justice in a telephone interview with Hirondelle News Agency on Friday. The minister's remarks followed a meeting she held with the top officials of the Tribunal including its President Judge Erik Mose (Norway), the Chief Prosecutor Hassan Bubacar Jallow (Gambia) and the Registrar Adama Dieng (Senegal). The United Nations Security Council had directed the Tribunal to complete trials in the coming two years and appeal cases by 2010. Dr. Nagu said her ministry would look into the matter, after receiving a formal request, because extensive preparations were necessary before accommodating this international obligation. She said preparations may include resources like manpower, financial support from the international community and an examination of whether Tanzanian law allow the prosecution of someone who has committed a crime in another country. [...]"

"Justice in Jeopardy"
By Karen Palmer
Toronto Star, 26 March 2006
"[...] Last Nov. 5, Juvenal Uwilingiyimana, Rwanda's former agriculture minister and one-time minister for national parks and tourism, allegedly wrote a letter to the ICTR -- the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, which is prosecuting alleged war criminals in the 1994 genocide. The letter spoke of threats levelled at Uwilingiyimana by Réjean Tremblay and André Delvaux, two Canadian investigators working for the tribunal, of pressure to provide false testimony that would 'demolish' key members of the Akazu, the kitchen cabinet of the Rwandan Hutu government that allegedly masterminded a plan to wipe out the country's Tutsi minority in the spring of 1994. ... Uwilingiyimana was secretly indicted last summer for ordering executions at roadblocks, for allowing the training of Hutu militias in Rwanda's dense forests and for his role in helping prepare for the genocide, which saw peasants take up hoes and machetes to kill more than 800,000 people in the span of 100 days. ... Uwilingiyimana was on the verge of landing a sweetheart deal in return for signing a 92-page question-and-answer style statement that would be the basis for his testimony against key war-crimes suspects. Then, on Nov. 21, he disappeared. Almost a month later, his badly decomposed body was pulled from the Brussels-Charleroi canal. ... Defence lawyers -- including some prominent Canadians -- are convinced the mysterious death lends credibility to what they've been alleging for years: that tribunal staff is making up evidence and strong-arming witnesses into supporting it. [...]"
[n.b. This is a rather bizarre feature story that combines harsh criticisms of the ICTR with a disturbingly revisionist approach to the genocide.]


"If Not Peace, Then Justice"
By Elizabeth Rubin
New York Times Magazine, 2 April 2006 [Registration Required]
"[...] The Hague has become a symbol of both the promise of international law and its stunning shortcomings. We have reached a point in world affairs at which we learn about genocide even as it unfolds, and yet it is practically a given that the international community will not use military intervention to stop it. Militias called janjaweed, recruited from Arab tribes in Darfur and Chad and supported by the Sudanese government, continue to attack, rape and kill villagers from African tribes -- more than 200,000 people have been killed in Darfur, and two million have fled their homes. For more than two years, politicians and activists have been shouting to the world that a genocide is unfolding in Darfur, calling it a slow-motion Rwanda in the hope that the shock of remembering the nearly one million people slaughtered in that African country in 1994 would prompt action. Coalitions of students, religious leaders and human rights groups have lobbied in Washington, have set up and have made green rubber bracelets, now worn all over the United States, that quote George Bush recalling Rwanda and promising, 'Not on my watch.' Yet the killing rolls on, and no one intervenes to bring it to an end, as if the genocide in Darfur were already history. [...]"

"Bush Condemns Darfur Genocide"
Sapa dispatch on, 30 March 2006
"United States President George W Bush says 'genocide has to be stopped' in western Sudan, and that involvement by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation should send a 'clear signal' of the West's intent. In unusually candid remarks on a range of international issues, Bush answered questions after a speech on Iraq at Freedom House in the nation's capital. Bush said: 'This is serious business. This is not playing a diplomatic holding game ... When we say genocide, that means genocide has to be stopped.' ... Washington had in the past used the term 'genocide' to describe the killings in Darfur, but equivalent references had not been forthcoming from the European Union, which said it didn't have enough information to justify use of the word. Bush said that the fragile peace settlement between Khartoum and southern Sudanese rebels that called for power and resource sharing should serve as a model for a settlement with western Sudan."


"Inspiration Behind the 'Terror Gang'"
By Richard Dowden
The Observer, 2 April 2006
"[...] The Acholi live in squalid camps where 1,000 people die each week, according to the World Health Organisation. A separate report last week by 50 charities in northern Uganda said 41 per cent of the dead are children under five. The violent death rate is estimated to be three times higher than in Iraq and the study says that the war is costing Uganda $85m a year. All this puts the region in the UN emergency category. The official line is that these camps were formed voluntarily to protect the people from the LRA, but in the past five years the Ugandan army has placed a free-fire zone outside them. People out after sundown are regarded as rebels. When the Burundi government used similar tactics against its rebels a few years ago, international donors moved quickly against it, but, protected by Britain, which needed Museveni as a rare African success story, Uganda gets away with it. The camps exist only because the UN and the charities feed the inmates. At Labuge camp on the outskirts of Kitgum, some 18,000 people live in traditional grass-roofed huts packed tightly together. Sanitation is minimal and rains make the camp a fetid swamp. If a fire starts, thousands of huts burn in minutes. Disease spreads more quickly. There is nothing for men to do but drink. Women are left with childcare, cooking and brewing beer. Ragged youngsters run wild. 'Children think food is something that comes off a UN lorry,' said a local priest. Fly over the once-rich farmland and you see an abandoned landscape with only the ghosts of fields and the blackened remains of homesteads. Two million people are losing the self-sufficiency of which they were so proud. [...]"

"Uganda's Daily Rate of Violent Deaths is Three Times Iraq's, Says Report"

By Katy Pownall
The Independent, 30 March 2006
"The rate of violent deaths in war-ravaged northern Uganda is three times higher than in Iraq and the 20-year insurgency has cost $1.7bn (£980m), according to a report by 50 international and local agencies released today. The violent death rate for northern Uganda is 146 deaths a week or 0.17 violent deaths per 10,000 people per day. This is three times higher than in Iraq, where the incidence of violent death was 0.052 per 10,000 people per day, says the report. 'The Ugandan government, the rebel army and the international community must fully acknowledge the true scale and horror of the situation in northern Uganda,' said Kathy Relleen, a policy adviser to Oxfam, one of the organisations behind the report. ... Almost two million people have been driven from their homes in the 20-year insurgency, and forced to live in government-controlled camps for their own protection. Rebels from the Lord's Resistance Army hold no territory but regularly abduct children, using the boys as soldiers and the girls as sex slaves. The report estimates that 25,000 children have been abducted during the war. [...]"


"Did American Marines Murder 23 Iraqi Civilians?"

By Raymond Whitaker
The Independent, 25 March 2006
"US military investigators are examining allegations that Marines shot unarmed Iraqis, then claimed they were 'enemy fighters,' The Independent on Sunday has learned. In the same incident, eyewitnesses say, one man bled to death over a period of hours as soldiers ignored his pleas for help. American military officials in Iraq have already admitted that 15 civilians who died in the incident in the western town of Haditha last November were killed by Marines, and not by a roadside bomb, as had previously been claimed. The only victim of the remotely triggered bomb, it is now conceded, was a 20-year-old Marine, Lance-Corporal Miguel Terrazas, from El Paso, Texas. An inquiry has been launched by the US Navy's Criminal Investigation Service after the military was presented with evidence that the 15 civilians, including seven women and three children still in their nightclothes, had been killed in their homes in the wake of the bombing. If it is proved that they died in a rampage by the Marines, and not as a result of 'collateral damage,' it would rank as the worst case of deliberate killing of Iraqi civilians by US armed forces since the invasion three years ago. ... US troops are frequently accused of massive over-reaction when attacked, even allowing for the stress of combat. According to human rights groups, the only unusual feature of the events of 19 November was that there was video evidence to contradict the military account. [...]"
[n.b. Re that last statement: Indeed. One wonders how many Iraqis "caught in the crossfire" have in fact been massacred by US soldiers. Hundreds at least, presumably.]


"Agent Orange: The Legacy of a Weapon of Mass Destruction"
By Jeremy Laurance
The Independent, 1 April 2006
"[...] Agent Orange, so-called because of the orange stripe on the drums in which it was stored, contained dioxin, one of the most toxic chemicals known. An estimated 80 million litres of the defoliant, containing 386kg of dioxin, were sprayed on Vietnam. One millionth of a gram per kilo of body weight is enough to induce cancers, birth defects and other diseases when exposure persists over a long period -- as the US veterans discovered in the years after the war. Cancers, birth defects and other diseases struck the returning veterans in unexpected numbers. Those who had had contact with the chemical sued the manufacturers and in 1984 won what was then the largest ever settlement of $180m against seven of the world's biggest chemical companies, including Dow and Monsanto. But more than 20 years on, while the Americans who did the spraying have been compensated, the Vietnamese who had the toxic chemical sprayed on them are still waiting for redress. Last year, Vietnamese veterans sued the same US chemical companies claiming that they knew Agent Orange contained a poison -- dioxin -- and their action in supplying it to the US government breached international law and constituted a war crime. They lost in the first round but they are pinning their hopes on an appeal, due to be heard in Brooklyn, New York, this month. [...]"


"Indians Crack Down on Gender Abortions"
By Scott Baldauf
The Christian Science Monitor, 31 March 2006
"In October 2001, when Dr. Anil Sabhani told a pregnant patient that she had a 'female fetus and it would be taken care of,' he wasn't talking about prenatal nutrition or health checks. He was talking about abortion. With his conviction on Tuesday, Dr. Sabhani now faces two years in jail in the first-ever conviction under a 12-year old Indian law that forbids doctors from revealing the gender of a fetus to its parents. The law was aimed at preventing the all-too-common and growing practice of sex-determined abortions, which have left India with far more boys than girls. Women's rights activists welcomed the convictions, but added that it will take more than a few high-profile trials to change India's centuries-old cultural preference for boys. 'This is 5,000 years of culture we're fighting against, but in the past decade, because of this [ultrasound] technique, and these unethical practices by medical professionals, the situation for girl children has gotten much worse,' says Varsha Deshpande, an attorney for the Dalit Mahila Vikas Mandal, a Maharashtra-based advocacy group for underprivileged women. [...]"

"Women Go 'Missing' by the Millions"
By Ayaan Hirsi Ali
International Herald Tribune, 25 March 2006
"In countries where the birth of a boy is considered a gift and the birth of a girl a curse from the gods, selective abortion and infanticide eliminate female babies. Young girls die disproportionately from neglect because food and medical attention is given first to brothers, fathers, husbands and sons. In countries where women are considered the property of men, their fathers and brothers can murder them for choosing their own sexual partners. These are called 'honor' killings, though honor has nothing to do with it. Young brides are killed if their fathers do not pay sufficient money to the men who have married them. These are called 'dowry deaths,' although they are not just deaths, they are murders. The brutal international sex trade in young girls kills uncounted numbers of them. Domestic violence is a major cause of death of women in every country. So little value is placed on women's health that every year roughly 600,000 women die giving birth. Six thousand girls undergo genital mutilation every day, according to the World Health Organization. Many die; others live the rest of their lives in crippling pain. According to the WHO, one woman out of every five worldwide is likely to be a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime. What is happening to women and girls in many places across the globe is genocide. All the victims scream their suffering. It is not so much that the world doesn't hear them; it is that fellow human beings choose not to pay attention. [...]"
[n.b. This article draws extensively upon my chapter, "Gendercidal Institutions against Women and Girls," for the DCAF report, "Women in an Insecure World" (2005).]


"School's 'Holocaust' Experiment Upsets Parents", 29 March 2006
"Several parents in Apopka, Fla., are upset over a surprise school 'Holocaust' project that some say tormented children, according to a Local 6 News report. Local 6 News reported that eighth-graders with last names beginning with L through Z at Apopka Memorial Middle School were given yellow five-pointed stars for Holocaust Remembrance Day. Other students were privileged, the report said. Father John Tinnelly said his son was forced to stand in the back of the classroom and not allowed to sit because he was wearing the yellow star. 'He was forced to go to the back of the lunch line four times by an administrator,' Tinnelly said. Tinnelly said the experiment upset his child. 'He was crying,' Tinnelly said. 'I said, "What are you crying about?" He said, "Daddy, I was a Jew today."' Other parents and children shared similar stories, Tinnelly said. ... 'Children were selected to be persecuted or privileged, some not told the rule,' Local 6 reporter Gerald Reznick said. 'Parents tell Local 6 they were not told prior to the school-wide experiment. Teachers felt that it would have defeated the purpose to tell the students ahead of time because that would have prepared them,' Principal Douglas Guthrie said. 'Students came in and all they got was a star.' ... Local 6 News aired a statement from The Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Florida; 'Of course, we applaud Apopka (Memorial) Middle School's effort to engage in Holocaust education with the hope of a tolerance education component in the classroom. That is the mission of The Center to teach tolerance through Holocaust remembrance and education. However, we do not encourage nor train teachers to engage in simulation exercises.' [...]"


"Where Will Africa Trials Lead?"

By Robyn Dixon
The Los Angeles Times, 2 April 2006 [Registration Required]
"[...] Many analysts regard [Charles Taylor's] arrest last week and transfer to the U.N.-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone as a watershed for the region, sending a message that the richest and most powerful are not beyond the reach of the law. Those who favor prosecuting Taylor argue that it will deter other African tyrants and warlords. But others argue that it could lead autocrats to the opposite conclusion: It makes no sense to leave power peacefully. So far, the courts have gone after leaders from weak or rogue states, not major powers, a point some Africans cite in characterizing international justice as something applied unevenly at the convenience of the most powerful countries. Two recent high-profile cases are examples: Taylor faces trial before a tribunal set up to investigate war crimes during the civil conflict in Liberia's neighbor, Sierra Leone. At the new International Criminal Court in The Hague, the first defendant is Thomas Lubanga, who was a militia leader during the civil war in the former Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo. Analysts say some African leaders are reluctant to set a precedent for international prosecutions because of their own dubious records. [...]"

"The Milosevic Lessons: Faster and More Efficient Trials"
By Marlese Simons
The New York Times, 2 April 2006 [Registration Required]
"[...] The Milosevic trial offers important lessons, which are now being debated. The court has understood that its strategy of trying Mr. Milosevic for his whole 'criminal enterprise' created an overly cumbersome case, signaling the pitfalls for future high-profile trials. It has not gone unnoticed here that in the trial of Saddam Hussein, the prosecution has focused narrowly on one infamous case of brutality to which he is linked as an active participant. But unlike Mr. Hussein, Mr. Milosevic was always far from the scene of action. He was accused of command responsibility, in planning and ordering the crimes of others. The way the prosecution made its case required charting the full political and military structure of Yugoslavia and its dissolution. One lawyer said there was no simple event, standing alone, that could be sliced off and pinned on Mr. Milosevic. Moreover, he argued, the point of the process was not just to seek retribution but to help shape the history of the war, to spur Serbs to end their denial of atrocities and reconnect Serbian society to the rest of Europe. Lawyers will be debating for a long time whether this can or should be the role of a criminal trial. Much finger-pointing has occurred over the trial's inefficient and slow pace. [...]


"'Unit's' Military Expert Has Fighting Words for Bush"
By David Kronke
Los Angeles Daily News, 26 March 2006
"['Eric Haney, a retired command sergeant major of the U.S. Army, was a founding member of Delta Force, the military's elite covert counter-terrorist unit.'] ... Q: What do you make of the torture debate? Cheney ... A: (Interrupting) That's Cheney's pursuit. The only reason anyone tortures is because they like to do it. It's about vengeance, it's about revenge, or it's about cover-up. You don't gain intelligence that way. Everyone in the world knows that. It's worse than small-minded, and look what it does. I've argued this on Bill O'Reilly and other Fox News shows. I ask, who would you want to pay to be a torturer? Do you want someone that the American public pays to torture? He's an employee of yours. It's worse than ridiculous. It's criminal; it's utterly criminal. This administration has been masters of diverting attention away from real issues and debating the silly. Debating what constitutes torture: Mistreatment of helpless people in your power is torture, period. And (I'm saying this as) a man who has been involved in the most pointed of our activities. I know it, and all of my mates know it. You don't do it. It's an act of cowardice. I hear apologists for torture say, 'Well, they do it to us.' Which is a ludicrous argument. ... The Saddam Husseins of the world are not our teachers. Christ almighty, we wrote a Constitution saying what's legal and what we believed in. Now we're going to throw it away. [...]"

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