Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Genocide Studies Media File -- August 30-September 6, 2006

Welcome back to another season of the Media File. Hope you all had a good summer. I spent a good part of mine travelling in several regions of Brazil -- see the photo galleries on my website.

A reminder that my new textbook, Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction (Routledge/Taylor & Francis), is now available.

Consider inviting colleagues and friends to subscribe to Genocide_Studies and the G_S Media File. All it takes is an email to


"MEPs Back Armenia Genocide Clause in Turkey Report"
By Lucia Kubosova, 5 September 2006
"Turkey should recognize the Armenian genocide as a condition for its EU accession, MEPs argue in a highly critical report adopted by a broad majority in Strasbourg on Monday (4 September). The parliamentarians in the foreign affairs committee strongly criticised Turkey's slow pace on reforms and urged clear progress in solving the Cyprus issue. ... Some deputies expressed their concerns over the impact of the strong language in the parliament's annual evaluation -- ahead of the European Commission's report on Ankara due on 24 October. 'Being a hero in Strasbourg is easy but will this report as it is written actually help Turkey's real reformers? No, it will make their life and work harder,' argued German Green deputy Cem Ozdemir. Dutch Socialist member Jan Marinus Wiersma commented that a compromise text backed by the committee 'is more positive than the original proposal, but I'm afraid that the call for recognition of genocide of Armenians will attract the most attention in Turkey. This issue has so far not been specified as one of the formal criteria so to suggest that it is a "prerequisite" for Turkey's accession is bound to spark controversy,' he added. [...]"


"Serb Move May Trigger New War"
By Ian Traynor
The Guardian, 6 September 2006
"The prime minister of the Serbian half of Bosnia has called for a referendum enabling the Serbs of Bosnia to secede, an act that could trigger a new war and spell the end of the state of Bosnia. The remarks by Milorad Dodik came during an increasingly dirty campaign characterised by ethnic and nationalist mudslinging ahead of general elections in three weeks. They also suggested Serbia may be plotting to annex large tracts of Bosnia if Belgrade loses the southern province of Kosovo in the next six months. Talks are under way between Serbia and Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leadership, and are likely to result in independence, bitterly opposed by Belgrade. In an interview published in the Belgrade media, Mr. Dodik, prime minister of what is known as the Serbian Republic, comprising 49% of Bosnia, said a referendum on independence for his mini-state was 'inevitable' since Bosnia-Herzegovina had no long-term future. As a result of the wars of the 1990s in Kosovo and Bosnia in which Serbia tried and failed to maximise its territorial gains, Kosovo is under UN administration and poised to obtain independence from Serbia, while Bosnia is also in the final year of international governorship and struggling to become a functioning country."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]

"Execution Survivor Testifies in 'Srebrenica Seven' Trial"
Institute for War and Peace Reporting, 1 September 2006
"The testimony of a man who miraculously survived the mass executions that followed the fall of Srebrenica was heard this week in tribunal's biggest-ever case. Mevludin Oric is believed to be one of only 12 men to have escaped the July 1995 slaughter of 8,000 Muslim men and boys, carried out by Bosnian Serb forces soon after they overran the enclave. He said he had stayed alive only because he hid under a pile of dead bodies for hours before fleeing the execution site. Seven Bosnian Serb military and police officers are accused of responsibility for the Srebrenica massacre. Ljubisa Beara, Vujadin Popovic, Ljubomir Borovcanin, Vinko Pandurevic and Drago Nikolic face genocide and war crimes charges, while Radivoj Miletic and Milan Gvero are charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity. ... During this trial, Oric told the court that after the fall of Srebrenica, he walked with tens of thousands of others through forest to reach Tuzla -- a journey now known as the 'road of death.' This week, Oric repeated his earlier testimony and recounted how he was taken prisoner by Serb forces, escorted to a warehouse in Kravica, then to the Vuk Karadzic elementary school, and finally a school in the village of Gornji Grbavci, where 2,500 men and boys were crowded into the gym. Oric survived the ensuing massacre in a local field, shielded from a hail of bullets by the corpse of his nephew. After the Bosnian Serbs left, he set out on an 11-day trek to Tuzla, with another survivor. [...]"

"Is the Fragile Peace in Bosnia Crumbling?"
By Dejan Anastasijevic, 29 August 2006
"Until recently, Bosnia-Herzegovina was often described as a shining example of succesful international effort in post-conflict reconstruction and nation building. Since the war ended eleven years ago, hardly a shot was fired, towns and villages were repaired, and many refugees have returned to their homes. But now, a month ahead of crucial presidential and parliamentary polls, ethnic tension spurred by local political leaders is running so high that Bosnia's relapse into war no longer seems unthinkable. ... Although Bosnian politicians have so far refrained from calling up voters in their constituencies to reach for the guns, they have done just about everything else to provoke and insult the opposing ethnic groups. ... The main fault line is not so much religion, but the legacy of war: Muslims, who were ill-prepared for the war, took much more casulties than Serbs, who were well armed and supported by Serbia; they now feel that Serbs were unjustly rewarded by being allowed to have their own statelet in Bosnia. Tihic, and other leading Muslim politicians have repeatedly stated that Republika Srpska 'is built on genocide and agression' and should therefore be abolished. Serbian leaders, such as Srpska's Prime Minister Milorad Dodik, would have none of that. 'Serbs are sick and tired of being collectively treated as war criminals by Sarajevo,' Dodik said in a newspaper interview on Monday. 'In the end, we may have no other options but to call for a referendum. It would be, after all, a democratic solution.' [...]"


"A Survivor Documents Cambodia's Nightmare"
By Seth Mydans
International Herald Tribune, 4 September 2006
"Youk Chhang knelt among the coconut palms behind an isolated Buddhist temple and began asking, very gently, how a man named Sous Thy had become part of the killing machine of the Khmer Rouge. Sous Thy squatted beside him in this quiet, private place, a weathered farmer of 45, revealing bit by bit the secrets he had kept for the past quarter of a century.
Yes, he said, he had been a record keeper at Tuol Sleng prison, the torture chamber where at least 14,000 people died during Khmer Rouge rule, from 1975 to 1979, when 1.7 million Cambodians lost their lives. He had been recruited as a teenager, knowing nothing but the rice fields around him, he said, and had spent his years at the prison, hearing the screams of the tortured prisoners, terrified for his own life. ... Youk Chhang, who is now 45, heads the Documentation Center of Cambodia, a private organization that over the past decade has collected a trove of 600,000 pages of documents, 6,000 photographs and 200 documentary films recording the Khmer Rouge rule. With funding mostly from the U.S. government and from Sweden, he and a staff that has now grown to 50 people have mapped some 20,000 mass grave sites, 189 prisons and 80 memorials, and have transcribed 4,000 interviews with former Khmer Rouge cadre. [...]"


"Lawlessness Hampering East Congo Aid Effort -- UN"
By Daniel Flynn
Reuters dispatch, 2 September 2006
"Lawlessness is hampering efforts to help 45,000 displaced people at a camp in Congo's northeast after an armed robbery forced foreign aid workers to withdraw this week, a U.N. official said on Saturday. Tens of thousands of people have been forced into camps in Democratic Republic of Congo's Ituri province during the last 10 months as fighting raged between militias and the national army, trying to re-establish its control over the territory. The armed attack on the residence of Medicins Sans Frontiers (MSF) in the town of Gety on Monday prompted the Swiss branch of the medical charity to evacuate its foreign staff to the regional capital, Bunia. 'This is complicating things. MSF has withdrawn its expatriate staff and other NGOs are extremely worried and are thinking of doing the same thing,' said Modibo Traore, head of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Bunia. ... Traore said displaced people in Gety had sufficient food after the U.N. World Food Program had recently distributed supplies, but an outbreak of cholera was claiming lives. Officials estimate around 10 people die every day at the camp. The people sheltering in Gety, around 40 km (25 miles) south of Bunia, are among 1.7 million Congolese who have been displaced by years of war and violence. [...]"


"Croatia Mistreats Serb Returnees, Human Rights Watchdog Says"
Deutsche Presse Agentur dispatch (on, 4 September 2006
Serb refugees returning to Croatia are facing widespread violence, intimidation and discrimination, an international human rights watchdog said Tuesday. Human Rights Watch also urged the European Union to press EU-hopeful Croatia for improving the life of its Serb minority, saying that progress in this area must be a criteria in the bloc's negotiations with Zagreb. 'Serb returnees in Croatia still live a precarious existence,' said HRW's Europe and Central Asia director Holly Cartner. In a new report, the organization deplores a 'recent upsurge of violence and intimidation against members of the Serb minority in Croatia,' including murders and bomb attacks. Out of 350,000 local Serbs who fled their homes in Croatia during the 1991-1995 war, some estimated 120,000 have returned, HRW said. It also critizised assaults and damage to Serb-owned houses and vehicles. Croatian police forces failed to clamp down on the perpetrators in most cases, HRW said. In addition, Zagreb has failed to provide Serb refugees with housing rights which they lost during the war, the organization said. Progress in restoring electricity to Serb returnee communities was slow, HRW said, adding that Serbs were being refused full access to their agricultural land. The human rights body also urged Zagreb to recruit more Serbs and other minorities for the public sector such as the judiciary. The EU opened membership talks with Croatia last October. The ex-Yugoslav country is widely expected to join the bloc in 2010."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch. The text of the Human Rights Watch report is available here.]


"Report: Czechs, Others Sterilize Gypsies"
By Jeffrey White
The Christian Science Monitor, 6 September 2006
"It is only after a male visitor leaves the room that Helena Gorolova, standing next to her husband, lowers her voice and says, 'as a woman I feel worthless.' Ms. Gorolova cannot have any more children. Sixteen years ago, she says, doctors at a hospital here sterilized her while she gave birth to her second son by caesarean section. In the throes of labor they had her sign a form authorizing the sterilization, but did not explain what it was. 'They said, "You have to sign this or you will die,"' says Gorolova. 'At that time I would have signed my own death sentence, I was in such pain. I had no idea what the word [sterilization] meant. I signed something, but I didn't know what it was.' Gorolova says doctors sterilized her not because her life was danger, but because she is Romany, or a Gypsy. Human rights activists say that the fall of communism here 16 years ago did not put an end to a Soviet-era practice that targeted Romany women for sterilizations -- sometimes offering money in exchange for consent -- as a means of population control. Now, a UN committee is poised to agree with them. A draft report from the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, expected to be finalized and released this week, says the Czech government failed to fully answer to the charges of more than 80 Romany women who have come forward since 2004 and said they were sterilized without informed consent. These cases, which date from 1986 to 2004, formed the basis for a sweeping Czech public defender report released in December after a yearlong investigation. That report concluded that the cases had merit, and urged the government to change legislation involving sterilizations and compensating victims. The UN committee is now demanding the same thing. [...]"


"We Should Nuke Iran"
By Michael Coren
The Toronto Sun, 2 September 2006
"It is surely obvious now to anybody with even a basic understanding of history, politics and the nature of fascism that something revolutionary has to be done within months -- if not weeks -- if we are to preserve world peace. Put boldly and simply, we have to drop a nuclear bomb on Iran. Not, of course, the unleashing of full-scale thermo-nuclear war on the Persian people, but a limited and tactical use of nuclear weapons to destroy Iran's military facilities and its potential nuclear arsenal. It is, sadly, the only response that this repugnant and acutely dangerous political entity will understand. The tragedy is that innocent people will die. But not many. Iran's missiles and rockets of mass destruction are guarded and maintained by men with the highest of security clearance and thus supportive of the Tehran regime. They are dedicated to war and, thus, will die in war. Frankly, it would be churlish of the civilized world to deny martyrdom to those who seem so intent on its pursuance. Most important, a limited nuclear attack on Iran will save thousands if not millions of lives. The spasm of reaction from many will be that this is barbaric and unacceptable. Yet a better response would be to ask if there is any sensible alternative. Diplomacy, kindness and compromise have failed and the Iranian leadership is still obsessed with all-out war against anybody it considers an enemy. [...]"
[n.b. Words rarely fail me, but they do in this case. For a dose of sanity, see the published responses published.]


"Israel Afraid of Retribution for War Crimes against Lebanon", 4 September 2006
"Three weeks after a cease-fire ended Israel's monthlong war against Hezbollah guerrillas, Israel is increasingly concerned that government officials and army officers traveling abroad could face war crimes charges related to the country's actions in Lebanon, officials said Monday. A Foreign Ministry official said a special legal team is preparing to provide protection for officers and officials involved in the 34-day conflict in Lebanon. More than 850 Lebanese were killed during the conflict, most of them civilians. The human rights group Amnesty International has accused Israel of war crimes, including indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks on civilian targets, AP reports. Israel has said all of its actions were legal, and accused Hezbollah of hiding among civilians in Lebanon and deliberately targeting Israeli civilians in rocket attacks. The fighting left 159 Israelis dead, including 39 civilians hit by Hezbollah rockets in Israel's northern cities. The Amnesty report also criticized Hezbollah's attacks on civilians. The Foreign Ministry official said the legal-defense team, which includes representatives from the Justice and Defense ministries, is maintained by the government to help officials facing the possibility of war crimes charges abroad. It was first put together to deal with charges related to Israeli actions in the West Bank and Gaza. He would not comment on a report in the Haaretz daily that the ministry has urged top officials against making inflammatory statements that might be used against them in legal proceedings. [...]"

"UN Denounces Israel Cluster Bombs"
BBC Online, 30 August 2006
"The UN's humanitarian chief has accused Israel of 'completely immoral' use of cluster bombs in Lebanon. UN clearance experts had so far found 100,000 unexploded cluster bomblets at 359 separate sites, Jan Egeland said. Israel has repeated its previous insistence that munitions it uses in conflict comply with international law. Earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert rebuffed UN chief Kofi Annan's calls for a swift end to Israel's air and sea blockade of Lebanon. ... UN efforts to rid Lebanon of cluster bombs have been under way since the conflict ended. Earlier estimates from UN experts had suggested a total of about 100 cluster bomb sites. Mr. Egeland described the fresh statistics as 'shocking new information.' 'What's shocking and completely immoral is: 90% of the cluster bomb strikes occurred in the last 72 hours of the conflict, when we knew there would be a resolution,' he said. The UN ceasefire resolution which ended the month-long conflict between Israel and Hezbollah was agreed by the Security Council on Friday, 11 August, and came into effect on Monday, 14 August. ... Mr. Egeland added: 'Cluster bombs have affected large areas -- lots of homes, lots of farmland. They will be with us for many months, possibly years. 'Every day, people are maimed, wounded and killed by these weapons. It shouldn't have happened.' Mr. Egeland said his information had come from the UN Mine Action Co-ordination Centre, which had undertaken assessments of nearly 85% of the bombed areas in Lebanon. Earlier this week the US state department launched an inquiry into whether Israel misused US-made cluster bombs in Lebanon during the conflict. A senior White House official told the BBC that the investigation would focus on whether US-made weapons were used against non-military targets. [...]"


"Holocaust Denier Verdict Upheld"
BBC Online, 4 September 2006
"British historian David Irving has had his conviction for denying the Holocaust upheld by the Austrian Supreme Court. But another court has yet to rule on his appeal against a three-year jail term, which he is serving in Vienna. The 68-year-old was imprisoned after pleading guilty at a one-day trial in Vienna on 20 February. During the trial, Mr. Irving said he now believed Jewish people had been gassed during World War II. He had previously admitted in court that in 1989, he denied that Nazi Germany had killed millions of Jews. The historian was also on trial for claiming the November 1938 Kristallnacht pogrom, when Nazis attacked and torched thousands of Jewish businesses and synagogues, was not the work of Nazis but of others who had dressed up as stormtroopers. He said Adolf Hitler had attempted to protect the Jews. Mr. Irving was found guilty by an eight-person jury. The second ruling, at a regional tribunal, is not expected for at least two months."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]

"Holocaust is Not a Myth: Annan"
Sapa-AFP dispatch in The Sunday Times (South Africa), 3 September 2006
"United Nations (UN) chief Kofi Annan has raised concerns with Iranian leaders over a Tehran exhibition of cartoons on the Holocaust as he told the Islamic republic the genocide was an undeniable historical fact. Annan expressed his worries as he met with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, saying the right to freedom of speech had to be exercised with 'sensitivity' and that the Holocaust was an 'undeniable historical fact.' However, Iran's foreign ministry spokesman, who said he had visited several former concentration camps in eastern Europe, said the scale of the Holocaust had been 'greatly exaggerated' and that all points of view could be expressed. 'We all remember the uproar after the publication of the Danish cartoons,' Annan said, referring to deadly protests that took place across the Islamic world following the publication of cartoons deemed insulting to the Prophet Mohammed. 'The tragedy of the Holocaust is undeniable historical fact. We have to teach our children over World War II and we have to be careful that words can hurt,' Annan told a news conference after his meeting with the president. [...]"


"Namibia: Bundestag MP Supports Cause for Reparations"
By Mbatjiua Ngavirue
New Era (Namibia) (on, 2 September 2006
"The Namibian government is also the government of Herero, Nama and Damara victims of German atrocities during the 1904-1908 war and should therefore seek reparations on their behalf, says visiting German parliamentarian, Hüseyin-Kenan Aydin. Aydin said there is clear historical proof to show that what happened during the 1904-1908 war was genocide. His position is that the Namibian government must accept the historical proof and approach the German government for reparations on behalf of its citizens. He compared the situation with the genocide carried out by Ottoman Turkey against the Armenians, which was formally recognized as genocide by the European parliament with calls being made for reparations to be paid. The German government argues that there is no demand from the Namibian government for reparations to be paid. 'I do not share the Namibian government's view and, even if they do not demand reparations, it is the German government's responsibility to compensate the victims. There is, however, also responsibility on the part of the Namibian government, and it is not good enough for them to say it is up to the affected groups to seek redress,' Aydin felt. ... He said that, as Germans, they have the responsibility to acknowledge that what happened in 1904 was a carefully considered decision to destroy the Herero people. Authoritative records indicate the extermination policy pursued by Germany resulted in 80% of the Herero people being killed and 50% of the Nama population. [...]"


"Hundreds of Chechens Forced to Flee Russian Town as Restaurant Brawl Erupts into Race Riot"
By Tom Parfitt
The Guardian, 5 September 2006
"Several hundred Chechens and dark-skinned people from the Caucasus have been forced to flee a town in north-west Russia after a brawl in a restaurant prompted a race riot at the weekend. The exodus of minorities from Kondopoga in the Karelia region near the border with Finland follows events on Saturday when a mob rampaged through the town and burned down the Chayka (Seagull) restaurant belonging to an Azeri businessman. The conflict was triggered by the death last week of two ethnic Russians after a fight in the restaurant. ... Police said yesterday that 109 people had been arrested in connection with the riots, which developed after a demonstration about the restaurant brawl on Saturday. The protest of about 2,000 people was partly organised by xenophobic groups calling for revenge on Caucasians over the internet. ... The riots reflect growing social tension after a wave of racist attacks that have seen ultra-right groups target immigrants and people from Russia's north Caucasus republics. Last month 10 people died when two men placed bombs in a Moscow market where they thought there were too many Asian traders. Ramzan Kadyrov, the prime minister of Chechnya, launched an attack on police in Karelia yesterday, blaming them for not taking stronger action against rioters. 'I appeal to the Russian authorities, to all sane Russian forces to do the utmost to prevent the nationalist infection and xenophobia that is ripening in society and spreading like a cancer throughout the body of our common home,' he said. [...]"


"Rwanda: Country to Scrap Death Penalty in Hunt for Genocide Suspects"
By Aimable Twahirwa
The East African (on, 5 September 2006
"Rwanda will pass a law ending capital punishment by December 2006 to encourage European countries to extradite suspected masterminds of the genocide that occurred in the country in 1994. The decision leaves the country in a bind. Foreign governments, the UN and non-governmental organisations applaud it. But the Rwandan public -- still reeling from the rampage that left 800,000 dead and countless injured or infected with HIV/Aids after being raped -- want genocide perpetrators to hang. Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama admits the majority of the population made it known during the writing of the constitution that they do not want to scrap the death penalty, given the magnitude of the suffering from the genocide, in which extremist Hutu militias massacred Tutsis and moderate Hutus. He said its abolition now was necessary in order to achieve a sense of closure. Unless the country abolishes capital punishment, it will not be able to try in its own national courts the masterminds of the genocide, he said. For more than a decade, the Rwandan government has demanded the return of suspects living abroad. Some nations, notably Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and Switzerland, have refused to extradite the suspects because the countries feared the suspects may be executed. These countries preferred instead to prosecute them in their own courts. Only the US, which allows the death penalty, has extradited a genocide suspect to Rwanda. It deported Enos Kagaba from the northern state of Minnesota in 2005 after he was judged to have entered the country illegally. [...]"

"Rwanda: Two New Trials And Three Judgments Due in September at the ICTR"
Hirondelle News Agency (On, 1 September 2006
"The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has a busy schedule for September 2006 with the opening of two new trials and the delivery of the verdict in three other cases. The debates will be resumed in other trials opened before the recess, among which that of Colonel Théoneste Bagosora, one of the most prominent accused at the ICTR. The new trials are Simon Bikindi's -- a famous musician accused of having composed songs inciting the genocide, and that of Siméon Nchamihigo -- a former deputy prosecutor in Cyangugu (south west of Rwanda). ... The other convict, Nchamihigo, is accused of having taken part in massacres in his region. Bikindi, 52 years old, was arrested in Netherlands on July 12th 2001. He is represented by Wilfreda Nderitu from Kenya and Jean de Dieu Momo from Cameroon. Nchamihigo, 47 years old, was arrested in Tanzania on May 19th 2001. At the time, he worked as an investigator within the defense team of a convict on trial before the ICTR. His lawyer is Denis Turcotte from Canada. The ICTR is currently deliberating on four verdicts, three of which are to be handed down in the course of September. Jean Mpambara - former mayor of Rukara (East), Colonel Tharcisse Muvunyi -- former director of the Non-Commissioned Officer's School of Butare (South) in 1994, and André Rwamakuba -- former Minister of Primary Education and Secondary Education should find out what the future holds. The first two cases will be settled on the 12th and Rwamakuba's verdict will be issued on the 20th. [...]"


"French Minister Speaks of Darfur 'Genocide' for First Time"
Agence France-Presse dispatch on The Tocqueville Connection, 6 September 2006
"French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy on Wednesday condemned what he called the 'genocide' in the Sudanese province of Darfur -- the first time a French government figure has used the term. 'France is taking steps to stop the genocide as fast as possible,' he said on Radio Monte Carlo, recalling that France has backed a UN Security Council resolution to deploy a beefed-up UN force in Darfur. The term 'genocide' has been used by the US to describe militia actions against the civilian population of Darfur, but the word is angrily rejected by Khartoum and has not been taken up by the rest of the international community. Questioned later by journalists, foreign ministry spokesman Jean-Baptise Mattei indicated that Douste-Blazy's words did not mean a change of French policy. Refusing to use the word 'genocide,' Mattei said: 'The minister expressed our sharp concern about the situation in Darfur.'"
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]

"Catastrophe Foretold"
The Guardian (editorial), 6 September 2006
"Burning villages, bombers and helicopter gunships scouring the African skies, refugees fleeing as diplomacy continues its maddeningly slow pace: the view from Darfur again points to disaster as the Sudanese government pursues a new offensive against rebel areas -- while doing all it can to block the deployment of an effective UN peacekeeping force. There are certainly plenty of diversions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Gaza and, recently, Lebanon. But Darfur, arguably, is the worst of them all, another Rwanda or post-Tito Yugoslavia in the making. Arguments about whether what is happening there constitutes genocide or 'just' ethnic cleansing are as irrelevant as whether Iraq is experiencing civil war or 'just' extreme sectarian violence: whatever the label, the situation is dire and will probably worsen within days or weeks, warn both the UN and the EU. [...]"

"Darfur Faces Fresh Wave of Killings"
By Rob Crilly
The Times, 5 September 2006
"Frantic diplomatic efforts were being made yesterday to keep foreign peacekeepers in Sudan’s war-torn western region of Darfur as government troops continued a week-long assault on rebel-held villages. Human rights groups gave warning that the region was poised to topple into an abyss of rape and genocide if African Union soldiers leave at the end of the month as scheduled. The Sudanese Government is blocking the arrival of a United Nations force and yesterday appeared to order the immediate withdrawal of AU soldiers. Hundreds of thousands of people have died and millions have been made homeless since fighting began in 2003 between rebels and government forces. James Smith, the chief executive of the Aegis Trust, which campaigns against genocide, said that the expulsion of peacekeepers would make it impossible for aid agencies to help Darfur’s displaced millions. 'By crippling that lifeline, the Government of Sudan is deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction. Under the terms of the United Nations Genocide Convention, this constitutes genocide,' he said. Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary-General, called on the Sudanese Government to reconsider its position. [...]"

"Sudan Says AU Can Stay in Darfur But Not under UN"
By Opheera McDoom
Reuters dispatch, 4 September 2006
"Sudan will allow African Union troops to remain in its turbulent Darfur region but only if their AU mandate was extended beyond Sept. 30 and not as part of a U.N. force, a presidential advisor said on Monday. Sudan raised alarms that its turbulent west could descend into full-blown war after a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Sunday AU troops monitoring a shaky ceasefire must leave when their mandate expired. The spokesman called the decision final. Presidential Advisor Mustafa Osman Ismail said the government was responding to the AU's stated position that it could not sustain its 7,000 troops in Darfur beyond its mandate. 'The AU has refused to extend its mandate beyond Sept. 30. If they don't want to extend their mandate, they have to go,' he said. One African diplomat said the government softened its position overnight because they realised expelling the AU would end all implementation of an AU-brokered May peace deal. 'I am sure the Foreign Ministry spokesman and others were not talking from the tops of their heads yesterday,' the diplomat said. A U.S-British backed U.N. resolution passed on Thursday, which Khartoum rejects, said more than 20,000 U.N. troops would take over peacekeeping from AU forces who have been unable to end the violence that has ravaged Darfur for 3 1/2 years. AU troops were expected to fill the gap before the arrival of the U.N. and ultimately be absorbed into the U.N. operation according to the resolution. [...]"

"Sudan: Darfur: It's Genocide Now -- And Could Be on Scale of Rwanda 1994"
Aegis Trust press release (on, 4 September 2006
"Responding this morning to news of Sudan's expulsion of the African Union Mission in Darfur, Dr. James Smith, Chief Executive of the Aegis Trust, stated: 'Ordering the AU Mission to leave will make it virtually impossible for aid agencies to continue operating in Darfur. Three million people, predominantly Darfur's black Africans, are reliant on the food aid and humanitarian relief they provide. By crippling that lifeline, the Government of Sudan is "deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part." Under the terms of the United Nations Genocide Convention, this constitutes genocide. Millions of lives are in grave and immediate danger. The genocide now faced could be on the scale of that in Rwanda in 1994. The Government of Sudan will bear full responsibility for lives lost, whether through starvation or further violence.' [...]"

"Darfur Villages Burn as Army Tramples on UN Peace Plan"
By Katharine Houreld
The Times, 3 September 2006
"Helicopter gunships thudded over the dusty streets of El Fasher in North Darfur this weekend as the Sudanese government stepped up its latest offensive in defiance of a United Nations resolution. John Prendergast, of the International Crisis Group, a non-governmental organisation that reports on conflicts, described seeing burnt-out villages and speaking to refugees who had been attacked by roving bands of heavily armed men in pick-up trucks. 'Humanitarian access has shrunk dramatically in the last two months, violence has increased and on top of that already gloomy picture we have a fresh offensive,' he said. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and 2m displaced since African rebels took up arms in 2003 to protest against perceived bias from a government dominated by Arabic-speakers. Sudanese government forces armed and organised Arabic-speaking tribes into the Janjaweed militias, which raped, tortured and murdered countless civilians. [...]"

"Sudan Rejects Darfur Resolution"
BBC Online, 31 August 2006
"The Sudanese government has vehemently rejected a UN Security Council resolution that would send a UN force to Sudan's Darfur region. 'The Sudanese people will not consent to any resolution that will violate its sovereignty,' the official Suna news agency quoted the government as saying. The resolution requires the consent of Khartoum for the force to be deployed. Killings, rape and displacement are continuing in Darfur despite the presence of African Union peacekeepers. In three years of fighting some 200,000 people have been killed, according to the UN, and more than two million driven from their homes. The Sudanese government has suggested it send at least 10,000 of its own troops to the region, but Western nations and human rights groups say that could make matters worse. Earlier on Thursday, the Security Council voted 12-0 to despatch 17,500 UN soldiers and 3,000 UN police to Darfur. China, Russia and Qatar abstained, saying they supported the contents of the resolution but wanted Sudan's consent before adopting it. The US described the abstentions as 'inexplicable.' [...]"

"Backstory: From Shakespeare to Sudan"
By Clara Germani
The Christian Science Monitor, 31 August 2006
"[...] If the Bush administration calls the Darfur crisis in western Sudan 'genocide,' if those green 'Not on our watch' banners cropping up around the nation prick your conscience, and if Hollywood stars drop in on the issue, it's due in no small part to the work of the relentless Smith College professor with a laptop and a thick hide. 'As a one-man nongovernmental organization, he has done more than any other individual or group I know of to keep the crisis in Darfur on the agenda of political leaders and the public,' says Susannah Sirkin, deputy director of Physicians for Human Rights. In the past seven years, [Eric] Reeves has published hundreds of tart essays. His signature weekly analytical blog is read religiously by hundreds of policymakers involved with Sudan, and Congress has called him to testify several times. 'This is a man who decided to make a difference -- and he has,' says Ted Dagne, an Africa expert at the Congressional Research Service. ... His solitary job here in greenest New England, far from the dusty suffering of Africa, is voraciously gathering information from published reports and from kibitzing with anyone going in and out of Sudan (reporters, relief workers, diplomats). He pumps out a 5,000-word analysis each week ( 'That guy writes faster than I can think,' one Sudan expert says. [...]"


"Uganda Truce Spurs Plan to Resettle Camp Dwellers"
Reuters dispatch in The Mail and Guardian (South Africa), 1 September 2006
"Uganda's government prepared to deliver to a $340-million recovery plan to leaders of the war-ravaged north on Friday as peace talks raised hopes of an end to one of Africa's longest insurgencies. About 1,7-million northerners are living in squalid camps having fled from two-decades of conflict between the military and cult-like rebels from the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). Hopes of returning home have been raised by a truce reached on Saturday at talks in neighbouring southern Sudan. Prime Minister Apolo Nsibambi said the first $10-million of the recovery plan would be spent urgently on resettlement kits, including farm tools and seeds, on re-opening remote roads in the north and on hiring more police officers. 'The government has taken immediate steps to resettle the internally-displaced people since there is a chance for total peace,' he said late on Thursday. Nsibambi said the finished 'National Peace, Recovery and Development Plan for Northern Uganda, 2006/2009' would be sent to northern leaders for input over the next two weeks. 'Cabinet will then consider it for approval,' he said. [...]"

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