Monday, March 05, 2007

Genocide Studies Media File
February 26 - March 5, 2007

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

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"Serbian Ultra-Nationalists Reject World Court Genocide Ruling"
Associated Press dispatch on, 5 March 2007
"Serbia's ultra-nationalists, who ruled with Slobodan Milosevic during the Balkan wars in the 1990s, Thursday rejected a World Court ruling that a massacre of thousands of Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica was an act of genocide. The International Court of Justice Monday cleared Serbia of committing genocide in the 1992-95 Bosnian war, but said the massacre by Bosnian Serb forces of more than 7,000 Muslim men and boys at the U.N.-protected enclave was genocide. The court said Serbia didn't have direct responsibility, but should have prevented it. 'What happened in Srebrenica is a crime, but it is not an act of genocide,' said Aleksandar Vucic, a leader of the Serbian Radical Party. 'For an act of genocide, you need a special premeditation that you want to kill a whole nation or a national group. This is not what happened in Srebrenica.' The Radicals, who are the biggest party in Serbia's parliament, rejected a call earlier this week by Serbia's pro-Western President Boris Tadic for the adoption of a parliamentary resolution that would apologize for the massacre in Srebrenica -- the worst carnage in Europe since World War II. Instead, Vucic said, the Radicals will table their own resolution that will include all victims of the Bosnian war, including Serbs."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]

"Court Declares Bosnia Killings Were Genocide"
By Marlise Simons
The New York Times, 27 February 2007 [Registration Required]
"The International Court of Justice on Monday for the first time called the massacre of Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica in 1995 an act of genocide, but determined that Serbia itself was not guilty of the enormous crime. Nonetheless, it faulted Serbia, saying it 'could and should' have prevented the genocide and, in its aftermath, should have punished the Bosnian Serbs who systematically killed close to 8,000 men and boys in July 1995. The ruling resulted from a civil lawsuit Bosnia had brought against Serbia, the first in which one country sued another for genocide. The 15 international judges who held nine weeks of hearings and deliberated for nearly 10 months relied in part on evidence presented in criminal cases heard by the United Nations Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, which has found two Bosnian Serb officers guilty of genocide for the Srebrenica massacre. In the end, the lawsuit resolved Monday may have been the most complex case handled in the 60-year history of the World Court, which the United Nations set up to resolve legal disputes between states. The ruling appeared to give some satisfaction -- and frustration -- to both sides. It freed Serbia of the stigma of being a genocidal nation and absolved it from having to pay war reparations, as demanded by Bosnia. At the same time, Bosnia obtained what it said it wanted from the outset: a recognition of Serbia's guilt. [...]"

"Genocide Ruling Sparks Anger"
Dispatches in the Toronto Star, 27 February 2007
"Muslim and Croat victims of Bosnia's 1992-1995 war, including Srebrenica massacre survivors, were outraged yesterday after the UN's highest court cleared Serbia of genocide. 'Europe has once again proved that it is against Muslims,' said Munira Subasic, a Bosnian Muslim who runs an organization for survivors of the 1995 slaughter at the town of Srebrenica. Subasic, who lost 22 family members including her father, husband and son in the mass killings in eastern Bosnia, said the ruling was a clear signal to Muslims that they 'can expect no justice from Europe.' In one of the biggest cases in its 60-year history, the International Court of Justice ruled Serbia failed to prevent the massacre of Muslims during the Bosnian war but was not directly responsible for the atrocities. It was the first time an entire state had been taken to court over allegations of genocide. The decision, closely watched by countries facing allegations of war crimes, was viewed by Serbia as a vindication for its role in the war. But it angered Bosnian leaders and ended their efforts to win reparations over the killing of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica. The court did find the army of Bosnian Serbs had committed genocide and that Serbia had 'known influence' over them. The 13-to-2 ruling in The Hague blamed Serbia for not taking 'any initiative to prevent what happened or any action on its part to avert the atrocities.' The murders in Srebrenica were the worst massacre in Europe since World War II. The town had been declared a safe haven by UN peacekeepers until it was overrun by Bosnian Serb forces in July 1995. [...]

"Serbia Condemned for Srebrenica Despite Acquittal on Genocide Charge"
By Ian Traynor
The Guardian, 27 February 2007
"The world court yesterday acquitted the state of Serbia of responsibility for genocide in neighbouring Bosnia in the mid-1990s. But in an unparalleled case concluded at the Peace Palace in The Hague, the UN's supreme judicial authority delivered a damning verdict on Serbia's role in the 1992-95 war, finding that Belgrade did nothing to prevent what the court described as an act of genocide at Srebrenica in 1995 despite its close links with and support for the Bosnian Serb military. The Serbian authorities stood by as almost 8,000 Bosnian Muslim males were massacred by the Bosnian Serb military at Srebrenica in July 1995 despite the full knowledge that mass murder was likely, the court found. Serbia had also failed to honour its international duty to apprehend those charged with genocide. The court ordered Serbia to arrest General Ratko Mladic, the architect of the massacre, who, as a result of yesterday's decision, will almost certainly be found guilty of genocide if put on trial at the war crimes tribunal, also in The Hague. The verdict, delivered by a panel of 15 international jurists headed by the British judge Rosalyn Higgins, was under close scrutiny since it was the first time the International Court of Justice, the UN's highest judicial organ and commonly known as the world court, had been asked to rule on whether a state was guilty of genocide. It was also the first time it had arbitrated a dispute stemming from the genocide convention, the treaty signed in 1948 as a result of the Nazi Holocaust of European Jewry. Strikingly, the court ruled that the mass murder of almost 8,000 Bosnian Muslim males at Srebrenica at the end of the war in July 1995 was indeed an act of genocide, but that the widespread ethnic cleansing by the Bosnian Serbs mainly in 1992, when tens of thousands were killed and up to two million uprooted, was not. [...]"


"Khmer Rouge Genocide Trial Close to Collapse as Judges Dispute Rules"
By Ian MacKinnon
The Guardian, 27 February 2007
"[...] The trial to bring to book the Khmer Rouge's leaders for the extermination of an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians in the 'killing fields' is on the brink of collapse even before the first indictment can be handed down. Now victims' families scarred by Pol Pot's savagery fear his ageing henchmen may escape justice and die free men because wrangling between Cambodian and United Nations-appointed international judges over the tribunal's ground rules is threatening to derail the process. Two attempts to resolve the disputes have foundered. Another effort to break the deadlock is set for a special session starting on March 5. But the senior international judge warns that another failure could prove fatal, forcing him and his colleagues to pull out. 'If next month the new rules are not adopted we will not go forward because it would be useless,' said the French investigating judge, Marcel Lemonde. 'Then we would have to examine the possibility of the international judges asking the UN to withdraw and drop the whole process. It's now or never.' The crisis comes a decade after the Cambodian government approached the UN to establish a tribunal to try senior Khmer Rouge leaders for the torture, starvation and mass slaughter of a quarter of their compatriots between 1975 and 1979. Tortuous negotiations over the scope of the hearings eventually led to the establishment of a hybrid court with 17 Cambodian and 12 international judges who took office last July -- a complexity human rights groups warned was a formula for disaster. [...]"

"Killing Fields Memorials 'To Stay'"
By Guy De Launey
BBC Online, 26 February 2007
"Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has turned down calls for the remains of thousands of victims of the Khmer Rouge to be cremated. He said it was important for the skulls to stay on display as evidence that millions died during the late 1970s. One memorial stupa, at Choeung Ek, has become the best-known site of the so-called Killing Fields. The trials of the surviving former leaders of the Khmer Rouge are due to start later this year. Memorials like the glass-sided structure at Choeung Ek's genocide museum have become a focus of controversy. Once they were quiet if grim reminders of what happened under Pol Pot's murderous regime, but now they have become tourist attractions. More than 100,000 people visited Choeung Ek alone last year. This has caused discomfort in a Buddhist country which largely believes that a body has to be cremated for its soul to escape. But the prime minister says those concerns are outweighed by the need to make sure that no-one can deny what happened three decades ago. Hun Sen's remarks come with the long-awaited Khmer Rouge trials still bogged down in disputes between local and international legal officials. Meetings next month will attempt to resolve the difficulties involved in making sure that the special courts provide an international standard of justice within the Cambodian system."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]


"S. Korea Raps Japan over Sex Slaves"
Associated Press dispatch in The Los Angeles Times, 3 March 2007 [Registration Required]
"South Korea rapped Japan's prime minister Saturday for disavowing his country's responsibility for using Asian women as sex slaves for Japanese troops in World War II. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had said Thursday that there was no proof that so-called 'comfort women' were forced into sexual slavery during the war. The remark triggered outrage throughout Asia. Abe's statement is 'aimed at glossing over the historical truth and our government expresses strong regret,' said a statement from South Korea's Foreign Ministry. The statement said the comment 'made (us) doubt the sincerity' of Japan's repeated apologies for its wartime past. 'We once again urge responsible leaders of Japan to have a correct understanding of history,' the ministry said. Historians say that about 200,000 women, mostly from Korea and China, served in Japanese military brothels throughout Asia in the 1930s and 1940s. Many victims say they were kidnapped and forced into sexual slavery by Japanese troops. Abe's statement contradicted evidence in Japanese documents, unearthed in 1992, that historians said showed that military authorities had a direct role in working with contractors to forcibly procure women for the brothels. The remark also cast doubt on a 1993 Japanese government apology to the sex slaves. Earlier, in Washington, South Korea's Foreign Minister Song Min-soon also criticized Abe, saying people who doubt that the Japanese Imperial Army forced Asian women into sexual slavery during the war had 'better face the truth.' South Korea was a colony of Japan in 1910-45. Many South Koreans still harbor resentment toward Japan's occupation. [...]"

"Abe Rejects Japan's Files on War Sex"
By Norimitsu Onishi
The New York Times, 2 March 2007 [Registration Required]
"Prime Minister Shinzo Abe denied Thursday that Japan's military had forced foreign women into sexual slavery during World War II, contradicting the Japanese government’s longtime official position. Mr. Abe's statement was the clearest so far that the government was preparing to reject a 1993 government statement that acknowledged the military's role in setting up brothels and forcing, either directly or indirectly, women into sexual slavery. That declaration also offered an apology to the women, euphemistically called 'comfort women.' 'There is no evidence to prove there was coercion, nothing to support it,' Mr. Abe told reporters. 'So, in respect to this declaration, you have to keep in mind that things have changed greatly.' The United States House of Representatives has begun debating a resolution that would call on Tokyo to 'apologize for and acknowledge' the military’s role in wartime sex slavery. But at the same time, in keeping with a recent trend to revise Japan's wartime history, a group of conservatives in the governing Liberal Democratic Party is stepping up calls to rescind the 1993 declaration. Mr. Abe, whose approval ratings have been plummeting over a series of scandals and perceived weak leadership, seemed to side with this group. A nationalist who has led efforts to revise wartime history, Mr. Abe softened his tone after becoming prime minister last fall. In fact, he first said he recognized the validity of the declaration, angering his conservative base. ... Historians believe some 200,000 women -- Koreans, Chinese, Taiwanese, Filipinos, as well as Japanese, Dutch and other European women -- served in Japanese military brothels. For decades, Japan denied that its military had been involved, calling the brothels private enterprises and the women prostitutes. [...]"

"Nationalists Fight 'Lie' of Rape of Nanking"
By Richard Lloyd Parry
The Times, 1 March 2007
"[...] This year marks the 70th anniversary of the notorious Rape of Nanking, when troops of the Japanese Imperial Army embarked on a rampage of looting, rape and murder in the former Chinese capital. Film-makers from Hollywood to Hong Kong are producing at least six different films on the subject. All accept the view of most Western and many Japanese historians that in three weeks in 1937 the Imperial forces killed tens of thousands of civilians in the city of Nanking. But now Japanese nationalists are uniting to insist on the opposite -- that the massacre was a vicious lie cooked up by Chinese communists to smear a proud and noble army. A revisionist documentary plans to prove Nanking to be a hoax. And 18 young members of the Japanese parliament have formed a 'Group to Study the Truth of the Nanking Incident.' 'We have to pass on true history to young people,' Eiichiro Washio, of the Democratic Party of Japan, said. 'We must fight this information war against the rest of the world.' ... The accounts of third-country citizens living in Nanking leave little doubt that atrocities did occur on a vast scale. 'The slaughter of civilians is appalling,' wrote an American doctor, Robert Wilson. 'I could go on for pages telling of cases of rape and brutality almost beyond belief. Two bayoneted corpses are the only survivors of seven street cleaners who were sitting in their headquarters when Japanese soldiers came in without warning or reason and killed five of their number.' It is on the accounts of these foreigners that several of the films are based, among them the 'Schindler of Nanking,' a Nazi businessman named John Rabe, who created an international safety zone in the city, where many Chinese found sanctuary. However, Satoru Mizushima, founder of a conservative TV channel, is attempting to raise 300 million yen (£1.3 million) to make The Truth about Nanking, a documentary that denies that anything very bad happened at all. It will debunk the gory photographs that claim to show victims and will suggest that John Rabe was a Chinese stooge. [...]"


"The Wars of Sudan"
By Alex de Waal
The Nation, 19 March 2007
"When history repeats itself for a third time, it is beyond tragedy. Since its independence fifty-one years ago, Sudan has suffered two civil wars between North and South, each of them as bloody as -- and much longer than -- today's crisis in the western region of Darfur. Quietly, Sudanese military planners are preparing for a third round of that war. Just two weeks before violent clashes erupted in the Southern city of Malakal at the end of November, Salva Kiir, the president of Southern Sudan -- who is also first vice president in Sudan's Government of National Unity -- issued a stark warning: 'The war will return to the South if peace is not achieved in Darfur, and that is really our fear.' ... There's no doubt that President Omar al-Bashir and his cabal of security chiefs bear the major responsibility for bringing Sudan to its current state of despair. Certainly urgent action is needed to stop the killing in Darfur, which first aroused the conscience of the Western world in 2003, spurring a well-organized mass movement and student campaign to 'save' the region. The impulse among Western activists and policymakers to entertain regime change, and to pressure and punish those whose misdeeds have inflicted so much death and destruction, is understandable. But ... while the crisis in Darfur has captured the attention of Western activists, that conflict developed partly because of the incomplete resolution of the North-South war. And both conflicts arose from the same general phenomenon: regional discontent with exploitation, of both people and resources, by the central government in Khartoum. The Darfur crisis can neither be understood nor resolved apart from the more deep-rooted North-South confrontation. [...]"

"Sudanese Pair Accused of War Crimes"
By Nora Boustany and Stephanie McCrummen
The Washington Post, 28 February 2007 [Registration Required]
"The International Criminal Court's prosecutor in The Hague outlined what he called operational, logistical and command links between Sudan's government in Khartoum and horse-mounted nomadic militias it recruited and bankrolled to carry out mass killings in the Darfur region, and he named a member of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir's inner circle as a suspect in the atrocities. In a 94-page prosecution document filed with the court's judges, Luis Moreno-Ocampo singled out Ahmad Muhammad Harun, now a state minister for humanitarian affairs who was state minister of the interior, along with Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-al-Rahman (also known as Ali Kushayb), a leader of the Darfur militia known as the Janjaweed, in a total of 51 crimes against humanity and war crimes. The filing marked the first accusations against named individuals as a prelude to a trial. The International Criminal Court's prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo reacts during a press conference in The Hague, Netherlands, Tuesday, in which he named former Sudanese minister Ahmad Harun as a suspect for war crimes in Darfur, saying he helped recruit janjaweed militias responsible for murders, rapes and torture. The chief prosecutor's accusations -- which fall short of a formal indictment -- come after a 21-month investigation that led to 60 countries and focused on the worst crimes committed in 2003 and 2004. The prosecutor also said his office was expanding its probe to look at current crimes, and in a teleconference with foreign journalists, he warned that other Sudanese government officials could be held responsible. ... The prosecutor described what he said was a pattern of incitement and recruitment that allowed the crimes to be committed. The U.S. government has labeled the killings in Darfur a genocide. [...]"

"Sudan Rejects ICC, Says It Will Try Darfur Criminals"
Agence France-Presse dispatch in The Mail & Guardian (South Africa), 28 February 2007
"Sudan on Tuesday rejected the legitimacy of the International Criminal Court (ICC), insisting it would try Darfur war criminals after the court named a minister and a militia leader as suspects. 'The Sudanese judiciary has the capacity and the will to prosecute those who have committed crimes in Darfur,' Justice Minister Mohammed Ali al-Mardi said when asked to react to the ICC's naming of the war-crimes suspects. He spoke after ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo in The Hague accused Secretary of State for Humanitarian Affairs Ahmed Haroun and Janjaweed leader Ali Kosheib of having 'jointly committed crimes against the civilian population of Darfur.' Mardi already on Monday rejected the ICC's authority, saying 'this court has no jurisdiction when it comes to trying Sudanese.' On Tuesday, Mardi said Kosheib was detained late last year but stressed that Haroun -- a former minister in charge of Darfur -- had been interrogated by the authorities and cleared of any suspicions over alleged crimes. 'Ali Kosheib has been detained since November 28 2006; he was interrogated and charges were pressed against him for crimes against human rights,' the minister said, adding that the suspect was still in custody. Mardi nevertheless rejected Moreno-Campo's allegations that Kosheib was a key Janjaweed leader. 'He belongs to a regular force, the Popular Defence Forces (PDF), whose creation is backed by legislation,' the minister said at a press conference convened in Khartoum minutes after the ICC prosecutor's announcement. Human rights groups have accused the paramilitary PDF -- together with the Janjaweed militia -- of acting as proxies for the regular army by meting out fierce punishment on civilians in response to the rebel uprising that started four years ago in the western Sudanese region. [...]"


"Anniversary of Deadly Taiwan Riot"
By Caroline Gluck
BBC Online, 27 February 2007
"Commemorative events are being held throughout the week as Taiwan marks the 60th anniversary of what is known as the '2/28 incident.' The event was an uprising that began on 28 February 1947, sparked by the beating of a female vendor by authorities for selling untaxed cigarettes. Between 18,000 and 28,000 people are said to have been killed in riots and a subsequent crackdown. Chiang Kai-shek, leader of the Kuomintang, or Chinese Nationalists -- then based in mainland China -- ordered his troops to Taiwan to quell the riots. Two years later, he and his supporters fled to the island after losing to the Communists in the Chinese civil war. For decades, when Taiwan was under martial law, the massacre was a taboo. Even in recent years, the incident remains highly sensitive and politically divisive. It touches on issues that are the most hotly debated in Taiwan: national identity and tensions between native Taiwanese and mainland-born Chinese. The passing years have done little to heal the pain for the relatives of those who were killed or disappeared. Most are still looking for answers about what happened to their family members. [...]"


"Mourning an Armenian-Turkish Editor"
By James Vaznis
The Boston Globe, 5 March 2007
"As the nearly century-old debate rages half a world away about whether Turks committed genocide against Armenians, members of both cultures came together yesterday to commemorate what some see as the latest casualty of the conflict. Hrant Dink, an Armenian-Turkish editor, was slain in Istanbul in January. His newspaper columns had long demanded respect and improved conditions for Armenians and recognition of the deep and tortured history of Armenians in Turkey. Dink was gunned down in broad daylight Jan. 19 on a sidewalk outside his office -- allegedly by a teenage boy. Hundreds of Armenian-Americans -- and some Turkish-Americans -- gathered yesterday for a commemoration known as a Karsunk, the traditional end of the mourning period of a person's death and an opportunity to reflect on a person's legacy. Many expressed optimism that Dink's death will enable Armenians to gain worldwide recognition of a genocide they say Turks began against their people in 1915, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 1.3 million Armenians. 'His legacy is for Armenians to live side by side with Turks without retribution,' said Tamar Barkhordarian, a nurse from Watertown. 'He risked his life for freedom of speech.' His death prompted tens of thousands people, including empathetic Turks, to walk in silence through the streets of Istanbul on the day of his funeral. 'He had the guts and courage to speak about human rights and to speak about the injustice that has been done to the Armenian ancestry of Turkey,' said Apo Torosyan, an artist from Peabody. 'He knew his life was in danger by speaking out.' Some Armenian-Americans declined to be interviewed for this story in fear that Turkish government officials would punish relatives who live in the country. But in a show of support, some Turkish-Americans and Turks turned out for the commemoration. [...]"

"Band's 'Screams' Help Raise Awareness"
By Eileen Duffy
South Bend Tribune, 1 March 2007
"Carla Garapedian was raised on Elton John -- not Black Sabbath. So the prize-winning filmmaker and former BBC News anchor never imagined she'd attend a nü metal band System of a Down's concert, let alone collaborate with the group on a documentary. Like Garapedian, System of a Down's members are all Armenian Americans whose grandparents survived the Armenian genocide early in the 20th century. Also like Garapedian, System of a Down has enjoyed international commercial success while confronting human rights violations -- specifically, genocide. But when Garapedian found herself outside a benefit concert the band headlined in April 2004, she knew none of this. She was simply sitting at a booth, handing out pamphlets on the Armenian genocide to support a group called the Armenian Film Foundation. But she soon found the band's fans consistently waved her information away, telling her that System of a Down's music had already taught them about the atrocity -- and other genocides as well. 'Here was a level of political awareness that I hadn't seen in this generation of young people before. I had an impression that people in the 17-to-22 age frame were not particularly interested in genocide and certainly not interested in talking about history,' she says. 'But they were. This group was.' A few months later, Garapedian was sitting down with System of a Down's lead singer, Serj Tankian, to discuss a joint project. The two chose to create a documentary focusing not just on the Armenian genocide, but on the history of genocide denial. Such was the birth of 'Screamers,' a documentary that uses System of a Down's concert tour to tell the story of genocide throughout the last century. Told without narration, the film focuses partly on Tankian and his grandfather -- just a boy when he experienced deportation, death marches and the loss of his brothers. [...]"

"Despite Ankara's Entreaties, Groups Stay Mum on Armenian Genocide Bill"
By Nathan Guttman
Jewish Daily Forward, 23 February 2007
"Despite fears of upsetting a top Israeli and American ally in the Muslim world, Jewish organizations are reluctant to respond to Turkish calls to fight a congressional resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide. In the past, Jewish groups have aided Turkey's efforts to prevent the United Stated from applying the term 'genocide' to the killing of 1.5 million Armenians by the Turks during World War I. But this time around, the Forward has learned, Jewish organizations are declining to commit to the issue, fearing an uphill battle with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has vowed to push the resolution through. In a meeting two weeks ago in Washington, Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul raised the issue with representatives of several leading Jewish organizations. In the meeting, attended by representatives of eight major groups, Gul stressed the importance that Turkey sees in preventing the passage of the resolution. He asked the Jewish groups to use their lobbying operations on Capitol Hill to aid Ankara's cause. According to several Jewish representatives who were in the meeting, Turkish officials warned that the passage of a genocide resolution could threaten Ankara's strategic ties with the United States and, perhaps, with Israel. In the past, Jewish groups have been inclined to side with Turkey, which they see as Israel's only Muslim ally in the region and a power that can check Islamist radicalism and block Iranian influence. The Israeli air force holds exercises with Turkey, and Israeli defense industries see the country as a major export market. In sharp contrast, several Jewish lawmakers have sided with Armenian American activists in pressing for a resolution, saying that the moral imperative is to fight genocide denial. 'There is no debate in the [Jewish] community about the facts regarding what happened; the only question is, are we willing to recognize it while taking the risk of alienating our relationship with Turkey?' said Rep. Adam Schiff, the California Democrat who introduced the genocide resolution January 30. 'When you think of Elie Wiesel's words, that Holocaust denial is a second trauma for the victims, it's easy to understand the potency of the Armenian claim.' [...]"


"Tribe Revokes Freed Slaves' Membership"
By Murray Evans
Associated Press dispatch on Yahoo! News, 3 March 2007
"Cherokee Nation members voted Saturday to revoke the tribal citizenship of an estimated 2,800 descendants of the people the Cherokee once owned as slaves. With all 32 precincts reporting, 76.6 percent had voted in favor of an amendment to the tribal constitution that would limit citizenship to descendants of 'by blood' tribe members as listed on the federal Dawes Commission's rolls from more than 100 years ago. The commission, set up by a Congress bent on breaking up Indians' collective lands and parceling them out to tribal citizens, drew up two rolls, one listing Cherokees by blood and the other listing freedmen, a roll of blacks regardless of whether they had Indian blood. Some opponents of the ballot question argued that attempts to remove freedmen from the tribe were motivated by racism. 'I'm very disappointed that people bought into a lot of rhetoric and falsehoods by tribal leaders,' said Marilyn Vann, president of the Oklahoma City-based Descendants of Freedmen of Five Civilized Tribes. Tribal officials said the vote was a matter of self-determination. 'The Cherokee people exercised the most basic democratic right, the right to vote,' tribal Principal Chief Chad Smith said. 'Their voice is clear as to who should be citizens of the Cherokee Nation. No one else has the right to make that determination.' Smith said turnout -- more than 8,700 -- was higher than turnout for the tribal vote on the Cherokee Nation constitution four years ago. 'On lots of issues, when they go to identity, they become things that people pay attention to,' Smith said. [...]"


"Human, All Too Human"
By Adam LeBor
The Nation, 19 March 2007
"Genocide, or what we now define as genocide -- the intentional destruction of a national or ethnic group -- is not a modern crime. The Bible records repeated incidents of the warring peoples of the Near East annihilating each other, but genocide is a modern term. It was invented by a Polish-Jewish lawyer named Raphael Lemkin. During the 1930s Lemkin lobbied the League of Nations, the predecessor of the United Nations, for laws against the destruction of a people. In 1944 he published Axis Rule in Occupied Europe: Laws of Occupation, Analysis of Government, Proposals for Redress, the first work to contain the word genocide, from genos, Greek for people or race, and caedere, Latin for to cut or kill. Paradoxically, while genocide continues to take place, the word has become so powerful that, to paraphrase Oscar Wilde, it has almost become 'the crime that dare not speak its name.' [...]"
[n.b. This article provides interesting insights based on a number of recently-published books in the field.]


"Taking Genocide to Court"
The New York Times (Editorial), 5 March 2007 [Registration Required]
"Genocide moves swiftly, kills promiscuously and keeps finding new perpetrators, despite the world's repeated vows of 'never again.' In the face of such rampaging horror, carefully considered court verdicts, like last week’s World Court ruling on the 1995 Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia, and patiently assembled dossiers, like the one that International Criminal Court prosecutors have now filed against two accused masterminds of Darfur’s ongoing slaughter, seem frustratingly inadequate. Yet short of the international military interventions that never seem to come in time, the incremental enforcement of international law is one of the most important tools available for establishing accountability and deterring future genocides. Genocide became an international crime almost 60 years ago. But no country was ever prosecuted for it until Bosnia accused Serbia of direct responsibility for the murder of nearly 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica. The World Court, which rules on disputes between nations, concluded that genocide did take place, and that while the Serbian government of that period had not directly ordered the murders, it 'could and should' have acted to stop them, as the United Nations Convention on Genocide requires. That nuanced distinction, based on evidence collected by the special tribunal that tried Slobodan Milosevic, the former Serbian leader, and other individuals accused of Balkan war crimes, spared Serbia from costly financial reparations. But it also established the official complicity of the former Serbian government. That is something the current Serbian government now needs to acknowledge. Belgrade should also heed the court’s formal order to turn over Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb general who directed the Srebrenica genocide. ... Court rulings can never compensate the survivors of these horrors. But by strengthening the reach and authority of international law, these cases should give pause to those tempted to unleash future genocides -- and to those who stand by."


"Gambian Defends the International Criminal Court's Initial Focus on Africans"
By Marlise Simons
The New York Times, 26 February 2007 [Registration Required]
"The windows of Fatou Bensouda's office high up in the International Criminal Court's headquarters here offer her a sweeping view of orderly Dutch flatlands. But her attention is turned to her native Africa, on the chaos and killing at the heart of the court's first atrocities cases. Mrs. Bensouda, a 45-year-old Gambian with an open and easy manner, is one of the court's top officials. She is the deputy to the chief prosecutor, and is in charge of trials concerning war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. All of the cases set to be taken up by the five-year-old court so far involve Africa, and the people she hopes to try include a list of warlords from four nations, leaders who were most prominent in Africa’s recent conflagrations, some of which continue today. The Darfur region of Sudan looms large on that agenda, because on Tuesday the prosecution plans to file its first criminal charges linked to the conflict between the Sudanese government and the rebel fighters. The prosecution will disclose the names of several senior figures it believes to be among those most responsible for Darfur’s devastating bloodshed and human disaster. Other names are expected to follow. ... Requests for the investigations, except in the case of Darfur, came from the countries themselves, but that has not prevented concern among Africans that their continent is the new court's principal target. Mrs. Bensouda calmly dismisses that notion. 'This court does not intend to focus only on Africans; it will prove that in the future,' she said. 'But at the moment, Africa clearly presents the gravest situations.' 'This is also our court. It is not imposed on us -- we want to believe in it,' she continued, pointing out that of the 104 nations who are now full members of the court, among the first to sign on were numerous African states. Some larger nations, including China, Russia and the United States, which distrust the court’s powers, are not members. [...]"


"New Light Shed on CIA's 'Black Site' Prisons"
By Dafna Linzer and Julie Tate
The Washington Post, 28 February 2007 [Registration Required]
"On his last day in CIA custody, Marwan Jabour, an accused al-Qaeda paymaster, was stripped naked, seated in a chair and videotaped by agency officers. Afterward, he was shackled and blindfolded, headphones were put over his ears, and he was given an injection that made him groggy. Jabour, 30, was laid down in the back of a van, driven to an airstrip and put on a plane with at least one other prisoner. His release from a secret facility in Afghanistan on June 30, 2006, was a surprise to Jabour -- and came just after the Supreme Court rejected the Bush administration's assertion that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to prisoners like him. Jabour had spent two years in 'black sites' -- a network of secret internment facilities the CIA operated around the world. His account of life in that system, which he described in three interviews with The Washington Post, offers an inside view of a clandestine world that held far more prisoners than the 14 men President Bush acknowledged and had transferred out of CIA custody in September. ... But Jabour's experience -- also chronicled by Human Rights Watch, which yesterday issued a report on the fate of former 'black site' detainees -- often does not accord with the portrait the administration has offered of the CIA system, such as the number of people it held and the threat detainees posed. Although 14 detainees were publicly moved from CIA custody to the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, scores more have not been publicly identified by the U.S. government, and their whereabouts remain secret. [...]"

"Canada's House Scraps Terrorism Measures"
By Rob Gillies
Associated Press dispatch on Yahoo! News, 27 February 2007
"The Canadian parliament voted Tuesday to end two anti-terror measures adopted in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, one that allowed for preventive arrests and another that permitted forced testimony. The ruling conservative government wanted to extend the provisions in the country's anti-terrorism legislation, set to expire Thursday, but Prime Minister Stephen Harper's motion was defeated 159-124 in the House of Commons. The two measures are part of the previous Liberal government's response to the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. They empower authorities to arrest and detain suspects for three days without charge and to compel individuals with knowledge of terrorist activity to testify before a judge. Neither piece of legislation has ever been applied. It's the second time in the span of a few days that Canada has ended portions of its anti-terror legislation. One of Canada's most contentious anti-terrorism measures was struck down Friday by the Supreme Court, which declared it unconstitutional to detain foreign terror suspects indefinitely while the courts review their deportation orders. Human rights activists hailed Friday's ruling as a victory for those who believe fundamental rights have been curtailed in the name of national security since the Sept. 11 attacks. [...]"

"Sutherland Invited by US Army to Talk on Torture"
Indo-Asian News Service dispatch on, 26 February 2007
"Kiefer Sutherland, the star of the hit TV show '24', has been invited by the US army to discuss why it is wrong to torture prisoners. Sutherland plays agent Jack Bauer in the series and agreed to talk to cadets at the West Point military academy in New York State after army chiefs claimed that the show's torture scenes were influencing new recruits, reports Brigadier General Patrick Finnegan even visited the sets of the show to plead with the makers to cut down on the torture scenes. Finnegan said: 'I'd like them to stop. They should do a show where torture backfires. The kids see it and say, 'If torture is wrong, what about '24'?' The disturbing thing is that although torture may cause Jack Bauer some angst, it is always the patriotic thing to do.'"
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]

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