Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Genocide Studies Media File
April 2-11, 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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"Burmese Army Using Rape to Terrorise Villagers, Says Report"
By Randeep Ramesh
The Guardian, 2 April 2007
"Rape is being used as a 'weapon' to terrorise villagers in Burma leading to a refugee influx in neighbouring India, a new report claims. More than 100,000 people -- more than 15% of the population -- have fled Burma's Chin state, a lush thin strip of land the size of Belgium, into north-eastern India in recent years. Campaigners say that a push by the Burmese military rulers to crush a 20-year-old 'Chin' insurgency combined with a recent state-policy to 'Burmanise' the local population has seen soldiers run amok in the state. 'Women are the most vulnerable group and the soldiers rape them to terrorise the local populace. The state encourages this because it wants to abolish other ethnic identities and thinks forced mixing is one way of achieving this,' said Cheery Zahau, author of the report Unsafe State, which chronicles dozens of rape cases. The Chins are an ethnically distinct people who are mostly Christian. Burma -- now officially named Myanmar by the junta -- is a predominately Buddhist country. 'The army used to have just two battalions in Chin state. Now they have eight and another five in surrounding areas. [The soldiers] perpetuate systematic sexual violence.' Ms. Zahau says girls as young as 12 are being raped in their homes and then often conscripted to work as porters in the army. There has not been any prosecution of Burmese soldiers although in rare cases some perpetrators have paid small sums, amounting to a few pounds, to victims' families. [...]"


"Pran Still Just Wants to Know: Why?"
By Tristan J. Schweiger
"Dith Pran doesn't believe in execution for members of the Khmer Rouge. For one thing, Pran said he long ago learned to let go of his anger -- after all, he said, he was the only one it was hurting, and it wouldn't bring back his parents or siblings. But he said he's also much more interested in asking questions than seeking vengeance. He wants to know why, for instance, the radical communist regime thought it was right to kill 2 million of his fellow Cambodians. He wants to know why they thought it was necessary to empty the country's cities, forcing millions out into the rice fields to work 14-hour days on starvation rations. 'I want them to tell the world why (they believed) what they believed, so we make it different in the future,' Pran told an audience at Georgian Court University Tuesday night. Pran, now 64, is perhaps the best-known survivor of the Khmer Rouge genocide, which began in 1975 after the movement led by Pol Pot seized control of the country. He had worked as a war correspondent alongside New York Times reporter Sydney Schanberg, and both were arrested by the regime when it seized power. Schanberg was ultimately released, and he received a Pulitzer Prize, which he accepted on behalf of Pran and himself. But Pran disappeared into rice fields as the Khmer Rouge proclaimed 'Year Zero' and sought to completely remake Cambodian society. The educated and professionals such as doctors and teachers were among the most prominent targets of the regime. 'They abolished almost everything,' Pran said. 'Some of you say, "Do you still have hospitals?" No. No schools. (The Khmer Rouge) say, "Maybe in the future. First we have to work to get more rice."' The Khmer Rouge regime ended after neighboring Vietnam invaded in the late 1970s. Pran escaped from Cambodia in October 1979, after enduring four years of starvation and torture. The Academy Award-winning film 'The Killing Fields,' released in 1984, depicts his life. [...]"


"Teachers Drop the Holocaust to Avoid Offending Muslims"
By Laura Clark
Daily Mail, 2 April 2007
"Schools are dropping the Holocaust from history lessons to avoid offending Muslim pupils, a Governmentbacked study has revealed. It found some teachers are reluctant to cover the atrocity for fear of upsetting students whose beliefs include Holocaust denial. There is also resistance to tackling the 11th century Crusades -- where Christians fought Muslim armies for control of Jerusalem -- because lessons often contradict what is taught in local mosques. The findings have prompted claims that some schools are using history 'as a vehicle for promoting political correctness.' The study, funded by the Department for Education and Skills, looked into 'emotive and controversial' history teaching in primary and secondary schools. It found some teachers are dropping courses covering the Holocaust at the earliest opportunity over fears Muslim pupils might express anti-Semitic and anti-Israel reactions in class. The researchers gave the example of a secondary school in an unnamed northern city, which dropped the Holocaust as a subject for GCSE coursework. The report said teachers feared confronting 'anti-Semitic sentiment and Holocaust denial among some Muslim pupils.' It added: 'In another department, the Holocaust was taught despite anti-Semitic sentiment among some pupils. But the same department deliberately avoided teaching the Crusades at Key Stage 3 (11- to 14-year-olds) because their balanced treatment of the topic would have challenged what was taught in some local mosques.' [...]"


"Russia and Poland in Bitter Row over Nationality of Auschwitz's Victims"
By Ian Traynor
The Guardian, 10 April 2007
"The Nazi death camp of Auschwitz is at the centre of a bitter dispute between Russia and Poland, with Moscow accused of seeking to inflate the figures for Soviet wartime victims and Warsaw charged with trying to rewrite the history of the second world war. The authorities -- in charge of the camp where around 1.5 million people, overwhelmingly Jewish, were murdered on an industrial scale -- are blocking the re-opening of the permanent Russian exhibition at the site because it classifies innumerable Polish, Jewish and other Auschwitz victims as 'Soviet citizens.' The row between Russia and Poland over the second world war is also poisoning relations between Moscow and other parts of central Europe previously under Soviet control. Senior Russian politicians are calling for a boycott of Estonia because of plans to remove a memorial to the Red Army troops who routed the Germans in 1945, while a petition movement in Hungary is gaining ground also demanding the demolition of the Soviet war memorial in Budapest. The dispute between Moscow and its former satellite states who are all now members of Nato and the European Union highlight how history is being hijacked to serve current political ends. 'The Russians still think they are a superpower. It's an ego thing,' said Ferenc Hammer, a Hungarian political scientist. 'But in Hungary there is no consensus either on whether 1945 was a liberation or the beginning of a Soviet occupation.' Russia's Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper last week accused the Poles of using Auschwitz 'to blackmail Russia' and to capitalise on the 'tragedy of millions.' Polish experts said the Russians had been given three years to resolve the dispute, but had failed to come up with a version of the history of Auschwitz which would satisfy an international panel of historians and former inmates of the camp near Krakow in what was Nazi-occupied Poland. [...]"


"'Hotel Rwanda' Hero in Bitter Controversy"
By Arthur Asiimwe
Reuters dispatch, 4 April 2007
"To much of the outside world, Paul Rusesabagina is a hero who saved 1,200 people from genocide in events depicted in the Oscar-nominated film 'Hotel Rwanda.' But as the genocide's 13th anniversary approaches in his native Rwanda, a bitter row has erupted between Rusesabagina and critics, including President Paul Kagame, who say he is profiting from the victims' misery and rewriting Rwanda's history for his own gain. Some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were butchered in 100 days in the central African nation from April 6, 1994. Soldiers of the then Hutu-led government and ethnic militia allies orchestrated the genocide in which victims were hacked to death with machetes, burned alive or shot. The 2004 movie depicting Rusesabagina, a hotel manager who used his connections with the Hutu elite to protect Tutsis fleeing militiamen, echoed Steven Spielberg's 'Schindler's List,' the story of a businessman saving 1,100 Jews from the Nazis. Rusesabagina received the United States' highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, for heroism during Rwanda's dark days. But back home, he has sparked outrage with warnings of another genocide, this time by Tutsis against Hutus, and for claims that war crimes by Tutsis during the 1994 conflict were being overlooked by biased traditional courts. [...]"


"4 Serb Paramilitary Fighters Sentenced in Srebrenica Area Murders"
By Tracy Wilkinson
The Los Angeles Times, 11 April 2007 [Registration Required]
"Serbs condemned Serbs in a Belgrade courtroom Tuesday, sending to prison four men from a paramilitary unit known as the Scorpions who were videotaped executing unarmed Bosnian Muslim youths as part of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. It was the first time a Serbian court confronted the events in Srebrenica, where nearly 8,000 Muslim men and boys were slaughtered in Europe's deadliest atrocity since World War II. Serbia's war crimes court sentenced the four paramilitary fighters to prison terms ranging from five to 20 years for the murder of six Bosnian males, one just 16, in July 1995. In the videotape, which surfaced two years ago, the uniformed men can be seen smoking cigarettes and taunting the Bosnians, some bound and barefoot, as the fighters loaded captives into a truck, then later lined them up in a ditch and shot them in the back. The court's action was a significant step in Serbia's flawed and tortuous attempts to come to terms with its long-denied role in the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, a conflict that raged in the first half of the 1990s and helped tear apart the former Yugoslav federation. But the judicial proceeding also fell egregiously short, several human rights activists said, because it did not hold Serbian military and political leaders accountable for the systematic killings, rapes and expulsions that emptied Srebrenica of its population in the final months of the war. ... The trial 'showed, yes, there were crimes, but by individuals and not institutions,' complained Sonja Biserko, head of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia. In the court case, "these crimes were not linked to Belgrade, to the army here ... to the state institutions who were involved in the planning,' she said in a telephone interview from the Serbian capital. 'The verdict fits into the strategy of Belgrade ... to deflect blame.' Establishing Belgrade's responsibility for war crimes in Bosnia has long been a point of heated friction. [...]"

"Genocide Court Ruled for Serbia Without Seeing Full War Archive"
By Marlise Simons
The New York Times, 9 April 2007 [Registration Required]
"In the spring of 2003, during the trial of Slobodan Milosevic, hundreds of documents arrived at the war crimes tribunal in The Hague marked 'Defense. State Secret. Strictly Confidential.' The cache contained minutes of wartime meetings of Yugoslavia's political and military leaders, and promised the best inside view of Serbia's role in the Bosnian war of 1992-1995. But there was a catch. Serbia, the heir to Yugoslavia, obtained the tribunal's permission to keep parts of the archives out of the public eye. Citing national security, its lawyers blacked out many sensitive -- those who have seen them say incriminating -- pages. Judges and lawyers at the war crimes tribunal could see the censored material, but it was barred from the tribunal's public records. Now, lawyers and others who were involved in Serbia's bid for secrecy say that, at the time, Belgrade made its true objective clear: to keep the full military archives from the International Court of Justice, where Bosnia was suing Serbia for genocide. And they say Belgrade’s goal was achieved in February, when the international court, which is also in The Hague, declared Serbia not guilty of genocide, and absolved it from paying potentially enormous damages. Lawyers interviewed in The Hague and Belgrade said that the outcome might well have been different had the International Court of Justice pressed for access to the full archives, and legal scholars and human rights groups said it was deeply troubling that the judges did not subpoena the documents directly from Serbia. ... Lawyers who have seen the archives and further secret personnel files say they address Serbia's control and direction even more directly, revealing in new and vivid detail how Belgrade financed and supplied the war in Bosnia, and how the Bosnian Serb army, though officially separate after 1992, remained virtually an extension of the Yugoslav Army. They said the archives showed in verbatim records and summaries of meetings that Serbian forces, including secret police, played a role in the takeover of Srebrenica and in the preparation of the massacre there. [...]"

"War Crimes Tribunal Sentences Serb"
Reuters dispatch in The Los Angeles Times, 5 April 2007 [Registration Required]
"The U.N. war crimes tribunal on Wednesday sentenced former Bosnian Serb police officer Dragan Zelenovic to 15 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to the rape and torture of Muslims during Bosnia-Herzegovina's 1992-95 war. Zelenovic, a 46-year-old former paramilitary leader, was indicted in 1996 in connection with atrocities committed against non-Serbs in his native Foca region, southeast of Sarajevo, including a gang rape of a 15-year-old girl. After Serb forces took control of Foca, whose population at the time was 52% Muslim and 45% Serb, they unlawfully detained thousands of Muslims and Croats. The United Nations court found Zelenovic guilty of personally committing nine rapes of women or girls in Serb detention, eight of which qualified as both torture and rape, and four of which were gang rapes. 'The victims at the detention centers in Foca suffered the unspeakable pain, indignity and humiliation of being repeatedly violated, without knowing whether they would survive the ordeal,' Judge Alphons Orie said. Last year, Zelenovic pleaded not guilty to 14 counts of rape and torture, but his defense team later reached a plea agreement with prosecutors under which he admitted committing some of the crimes. Zelenovic arrived in the Netherlands to face trial in June 2006. He was arrested 10 months earlier in western Siberia, where Russian media said he had been working on construction sites under an assumed name."


"Kosovo War-Crimes Trial Splits West and Prosecutors"
By Nicholas Wood
The New York Times, 8 April 2007 [Registration Required]
"Ramush Haradinaj, a stocky ethnic Albanian former guerrilla commander and, briefly, Kosovo's prime minister, is either one of the most impressive leaders to emerge in the Balkans in recent years or a vicious war criminal. Or perhaps both. Mr. Haradinaj and two other men began to stand trial at the United Nations tribunal in The Hague in March, charged with killing 40 people in 1998, during the conflict between the Kosovo Liberation Army guerrilla group and Serbian-dominated security forces. But the prosecution's leading witness, Tahir Zemaj, and his son and nephew were shot dead during the investigation. Another witness, Kjutim Berisha, died two weeks before the trial when he was hit by a car in Podgorica, the Montenegrin capital. More than a third of those giving evidence for the prosecution are allowed to conceal their identities, more than in any other case at the tribunal, according to the prosecution. The case has created a stark divide between prosecutors at the tribunal and in Kosovo and diplomats from the United Nations and Western governments. Mr. Haradinaj was a crucial partner in Western efforts to bring peace to the province, so much so that they tried to prevent the case from going to trial, according to a former head of the United Nations mission in Kosovo and the court's chief prosecutor. Once he was indicted, the mission supported his provisional release, which has lasted almost two years; he is the only indicted person that the court, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, has released in order to return to active politics. ... Prosecutors in Kosovo and The Hague say the United Nations and Western governments bent over backward to prevent his prosecution. The tribunal's top prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, has referred to the trial in The Hague as 'a prosecution that some did not want to see brought, and that few supported by their cooperation at both the international and local level.' [...]"


"Somali Battles Bring Charges of War Crimes"
By Jeffrey Gettleman
The New York Times, 6 April 2007 [Registration Required]
"European diplomats said Thursday that they were investigating whether Ethiopian and Somali government forces committed war crimes last week during heavy fighting in Somalia's capital that killed more than 300 civilians. The fighting, some of the bloodiest in Somalia in the past 15 years, pitted Ethiopian and Somali forces against bands of insurgents. It reduced blocks of buildings in Mogadishu, the capital, to smoldering rubble. Many residents have complained to human rights groups, saying the government used excessive force and indiscriminately shelled their neighborhoods. Eric van der Linden, the chief of the European Commission's delegation to Kenya, said he had appointed a team to look into several war crime allegations stemming from the civilian casualties. ... In an e-mail message to Mr. van der Linden marked urgent, a security adviser to the commission wrote that there were 'strong grounds' to believe that Ethiopian and Somali troops had intentionally attacked civilian areas and that Ugandan peacekeepers, who arrived in the country last month, were complicit for standing by. ... A Western official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of diplomatic considerations predicted that even if there was compelling evidence of war crimes, the case would probably never get to court. Another Western official, speaking anonymously for similar reasons, said, 'At the end of the day, no one is going to want to further undermine the transitional government.' ... In the past week, human rights groups have been urging someone to look into the issue of civilian casualties. The Somali Diaspora Network, an American-based advocacy group, accused the transitional government and Ethiopian forces of 'collective punishment' and genocide. The Somali Disapora Network said Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, the transitional president, warned in a recent radio interview that 'any place from which a bullet is fired, we will bombard it, regardless of whoever is there.' [...]"


"Judge Who Hounded Pinochet Inspires Show on Broadway"
By Graham Keeley
The Independent, 3 April 2007
"The Spanish judge who sprang to fame when he tried to extradite the late Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet from Britain has become the inspiration for a new Broadway play. Baltasar Garzón's campaigning work for human rights from the benches of Madrid's top court has pitted him against an exotic array of characters from Pinochet to George Bush and Osama bin Laden. Now this crusading work has inspired a new version of a classic Spanish play. La Vida es Sueño, or Life is a Dream, by one of Spain's greatest playwrights, Pedro Calderón de la Barca, has been adapted by two Spaniards for the New York stage. Francisco Reyes and Puy Navarro, an actor and a producer, got their inspiration by attending some of the lectures given by Judge Garzón last year when he took a year off from hunting down human rights abusers to lecture on human rights law at Hudson University, near New York. Judge Garzón became the muse for a modern-day version of this 17th-century classic, whose theme is the battle between free will and fate. The play ran for three nights to full houses, in a performance which has been backed by Amnesty International. In the original play, written by one of the masters of Spain's Golden Age theatre, the king of Poland imprisons his son and lies about his existence, only later revealing he is still alive and letting him free. But once he is allowed freedom, Prince Segismundo abuses his power. The new version depicts a thinly-veiled version of Judge Garzón, who is portrayed as an inspiring hero. The play deals with the experience of the immigrant and, with half an eye on the American audience, the struggle to attain the American dream. The play also depicts prisoners held against their will and makes hints at Judge Garzón's criticism of the American President over the treatment of suspects at Guantanamo Bay. [...]"


"Hundreds Killed in Attacks in Eastern Chad"
Associated Press dispatch in The Washington Post, 11 April 2007 [Registration Required]
"Sudanese Janjaweed militiamen killed as many as 400 people in the volatile eastern border region near Sudan, leaving an "apocalyptic" scene of mass graves and destruction, the U.N. refugee agency said Tuesday. The attacks took place March 31 in the border villages of Tiero and Marena, about 550 miles from Chad's capital, N'Djamena. Chadian officials initially said that 65 people had died but that the toll was certain to rise. 'Estimates of the number of dead have increased substantially and now range between 200 and 400,' the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said. 'Because most of the dead were buried where their bodies were found -- often in common graves owing to their numbers -- we may never know their exact number.' The attackers encircled the villages and opened fire, pursued fleeing villagers, robbed women and shot the men, UNHCR said. Many who survived the initial attack died later from exhaustion and dehydration, often while fleeing. Sudan and Chad repeatedly have traded accusations of backing rebels in each other's countries, and both have denied the allegations. Both countries also have signed peace deals promising to stop the border fighting. U.N. officials have warned of the possibility of increasing violence in the region where Chad, Sudan and the Central African Republic meet. Fighting in Sudan's western Darfur region has left as many as 450,000 dead from violence and disease. [...]"
[n.b. Gendercide, apparently.]

"Google Earth Focuses on Sudan Atrocities"
By Desmond Butler
Associated Press dispatch on, 10 April 2007
"Google is using its popular online mapping service to call attention to atrocities in the Darfur region of Sudan. In a project with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, inaugurated Tuesday, the Internet search company has updated its Google Earth service with high resolution satellite images of the region to document destroyed villages, displaced people and refugee camps. Google Earth allows those who have downloaded its free software to focus on satellite images and maps of most of the world. When users scan over the Darfur region, where the United Nations estimates that more than 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million displaced in four years of carnage, Google Inc. hopes to attract their gaze with icons. The icons represent destroyed villages with flames and refugee camps with tents. When users zoom in to a level of magnification that keeps most of Darfur on a computer screen, the icons seem to indicate that much of the region is on fire. Clicking on flame icons will open windows with the village's name and statistics on the extent of destruction. Google enhanced the resolution for certain areas of the region so that users can zoom in to see the burnt remnants of houses. Google says it will periodically update the images. The online maps of the region also include an icon that links to a presentation by the Holocaust museum on the crisis in the region with photos, video, historical background and testimony on atrocities. Sara Bloomfield, the museum's director, said museum staff members had approached Google about the project as they sought ways to highlight what they believe is genocide to many people who remain unaware. In Google Earth, which the company says has been downloaded by 200 million people worldwide, they found an ideal medium. [...]"

"Sudanese Soldiers Accused of Rape"
BBC Online, 6 April 2007
"Rape is being used as a weapon of war in Sudan's war-torn Darfur region, a United Nations report says. It details numerous cases of rape by government soldiers, including one in which girls as young as 13 and pregnant women were sexually assaulted. The UN's human rights chief called on Sudan's government to investigate and prosecute those responsible. A second UN report details the seizure and disappearance of men in Darfur suspected to be rebel supporters. At least 200,000 people have been killed and 2m displaced during the four year conflict between rebel groups and government-backed militia. The BBC's Imogen Foulkes in Geneva says the new reports released by UN Human Rights Commissioner Louise Arbour make grim reading. The UN office has a team of human rights monitors in Darfur who report regularly on the situation there. At least 15 women in and around the village of Deribat report being raped by soldiers during an attack last December. In their report the human rights monitors conclude that rape was used as a weapon of war, a clear violation of the Geneva Conventions. [...]"

"Chad: Sudanese Militia Raids Killed Our Civilians"
Reuters dispatch in The Mail & Guardian (South Africa), 3 April 2007
"Chadian civilians were killed and up to 8,000 driven from their homes when Sudanese Janjaweed militia attacked and destroyed two villages in eastern Chad on the weekend, Chad's government said on Tuesday. A government statement said Chadian forces killed 25 of the attackers after the raids on Saturday against the villages of Tiero and Morena in the Wadi-Fira region of the eastern border with Sudan. 'The attackers totally burned down these places and killed several of the civilian population. Between 6,000 and 8,000 people are out in the open, without shelter and deprived of everything,' said the statement, signed by Communication Minister Hourmadji Moussa Doumgor. It added Chadian troops pushed back the raiders, whom it identified as Janjaweed militia allied with Sudan's government. The raids appeared to be the latest spill-over of violence from Sudan's conflict-torn Darfur region, where well over 200,000 people have been killed since 2003 in a war between rebels and Sudanese government forces and their militia allies. Chad President Idriss Itno Déby, who also faces an insurgency in the east, frequently accuses Sudan of sending the Janjaweed -- feared mounted raiders whose name in Arabic means 'devils on horseback' -- across the border to kill and plunder. Sudan's government routinely denies this but has refused to allow the deployment of a strong United Nations force in Darfur to bolster a badly over-stretched African Union peacekeeping contingent on the ground there. [...]"

"Five AU Soldiers Killed in Darfur: Spokesman"
By Michael Georgy
Reuters dispatch, 2 April 2007
"Unidentified gunmen killed five African Union peacekeepers in the Darfur region of western Sudan, the deadliest single attack against the force since late 2004, an AU spokesman said on Monday. The five were guarding a water point near the Sudanese border with Chad when they came under fire on Sunday, Noureddine Mezni said. Four soldiers were killed in the shooting and the fifth died of his wounds on Monday morning. 'We strongly condemn this cowardly attack against the very people who are working hard to achieve peace in Darfur,' Mezni told Reuters. 'It was totally unprovoked.' The new bloodshed came after the new United Nations humanitarian chief, John Holmes, said during a visit to the region last month that aid efforts in Darfur -- the largest in the world -- could collapse if the situation keeps deteriorating. Asked if the assailants' bodies were identified, Mezni said: 'An investigation is under way and there will be a statement with more details.' The killings bring to 15 the number of African Union personnel killed in Darfur since the troops were deployed in late 2004. A senior Nigerian officer working with the mission has been missing since he was kidnapped in December. [...]"


"Objections Lead U.N. to Delay Genocide Exhibit"
By Warren Hoge
The New York Times, 10 April 2007 [Registration Required]
"The United Nations dismantled an exhibit on the Rwandan genocide and postponed its scheduled opening by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday after the Turkish mission objected to references to the Armenian genocide in Turkey at the time of World War I. The panels of graphics, photos and statements had been installed in the visitors lobby on Thursday by the British-based Aegis Trust. The trust campaigns for the prevention of genocide and runs a center in Kigali, the Rwandan capital, memorializing the 500,000 victims of the massacres there 13 years ago. Hours after the show was assembled, however, a Turkish diplomat spotted offending words in a section entitled 'What is genocide?' and raised objections. The passage said that 'following World War I, during which one million Armenians were murdered in Turkey,' Raphael Lemkin, a Polish lawyer credited with coining the word genocide, 'urged the League of Nations to recognize crimes of barbarity as international crimes.' James Smith, the chief executive of Aegis, said he was told by the United Nations on Saturday night that the sentence would have to be eliminated or the exhibition would be struck. Armen Martirosyan, the Armenian ambassador, said he sought out Kiyotaka Akasaka, the United Nations under secretary general for public information, and thought he had reached an agreement to let the show go forward by omitting the words 'in Turkey.' But Mr. Akasaka said, 'That was his suggestion, and I agreed only to take it into account in finding the final wording.' Baki Ilkin, the ambassador of Turkey, said, 'We just expressed our discomfort over the text's making references to the Armenian issue and drawing parallels with the genocide in Rwanda.' [...]"

"'Screamers' Serj Tankian and Carla Garapedian Denounce Cancellation of UN Genocide Exhibition Mentioning Armenians"

Yahoo! Finance, 10 April 2007
"Following the UN Secretary General's request to remove a sentence referring to a million Armenians being murdered during the Ottoman Empire from the Aegis Trust exhibition 'Lessons from Rwanda,' and the exhibition's subsequent cancellation, Serj Tankian and Carla Garapedian have issued the following statement: 'We are very shocked by this decision by the Secretary General to remove mention of a historical event which is well-documented by thousands of official records of the United States and nations around the world, including Turkey's wartime allies, Germany, Austria and Hungary; by Ottoman court martial records; and by eyewitness accounts of missionaries, diplomats and survivors; as well as decades of historical scholarship. In the U.S., President Bush has called the events the "forced exile and annihilation of approximately 1.5 million Armenians." Elie Wiesel says denial is the last stage of genocide -- this act of censorship by the Secretary General is effectively an act of appeasement to the very forces in Turkey that led to the recent death of Hrant Dink and the prosecution of Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk. Other writers and artists in Turkey are facing prison sentences today under Article 301 for wanting to speak openly about this issue. What message does this send to them? The reason why genocides have continued in the last century -- from the Armenian genocide, to the Holocaust, Cambodia, Bosnia and Rwanda, to the genocide going on now in Darfur -- is because the international community has not intervened to stop them. Sadly, the Secretary General's decision to stop any mention of the antecedents to the Rwanda genocide is a blow to those who want to stop genocide now.' [...]"


"Rights Groups Hail Arrests of 3 by U.S. in War Crimes"
By Larry Rohter
The New York Times, 5 April 2007 [Registration Required]
"Latin American human rights groups have reacted with satisfaction and muted surprise to the arrest in the United States of three Argentine and Peruvian former military officers accused of human rights abuses who had fled their home countries to avoid prosecution there. Of the three men detained over the weekend in Virginia, Maryland and Florida and charged with violating immigration laws, the most notorious is Ernesto Guillermo Barreiro of Argentina. During the so-called Dirty War of the late 1970s, he was the chief interrogator at La Perla, a clandestine prison in Córdoba, Argentina's second largest city, where more than 2,000 prisoners were tortured or killed. 'This is big news, and deserves to be celebrated both in Argentina and the United States,' said Gastón Chillier, director of the Center for Legal and Social Studies, a leading human rights group in Buenos Aires.' ... The arrests have put the Bush administration in the unaccustomed position of being praised by human rights groups and news organizations in Latin America. The former officers were detained by a unit of the Homeland Security Department, which is traditionally widely criticized in the region for the way it treats illegal immigrants from Latin America. 'This administration has a very poor record as regards international human rights law and the Geneva convention,' José Miguel Vivanco, the director of Human Rights Watch Americas, said in a telephone interview from Washington. 'However, there is nothing on the record that shows that this administration is interested in protecting individuals responsible for gross violations of human rights, unless they have some link with intelligence agencies.' Mr. Vivanco said he was referring to Luis Posada Carriles, a Cuban exile and former C.I.A. asset who is wanted in Cuba and Venezuela on charges that he blew up a Cuban airliner in 1976, killing 73 people. The United States has also declined to extradite Emmanuel Constant, former leader of a right-wing Haitian paramilitary group who has been convicted in absentia there of organizing a 1994 massacre. [...]"

"U.S. Holds Suspects In War Crimes"
By Spencer S. Hsu and Nick Miroff
The Washington Post, 4 April 2007 [Registration Required]
"Ernesto Guillermo Barreiro seemed to fit in well with his neighbors in Virginia's placid horse country. The quiet, genteel man from Argentina opened an art and antiques store after moving into a farmhouse last year in The Plains. ... That unassuming life imploded Sunday morning, when U.S. immigration agents bundled the retired Argentine army major into a van to face criminal charges of visa fraud and eventual deportation to his native country, where he is accused of serving as the chief interrogator at a clandestine torture facility known as La Perla during Argentina's Dirty War in the 1970s and 1980s. Barreiro was among three former South American military officers suspected of war crimes whose arrests were announced yesterday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which has renewed its efforts to crack down on alleged human rights violators living as fugitives in the United States. The others arrested include Telmo Ricardo Hurtado, a former Peruvian army major who led an attack that killed 69 villagers, many of whom were tortured and raped, in the Peruvian Highlands village of Accomarca on Aug. 14, 1985, during the military's war against the Shining Path guerrilla movement. Hurtado was arrested Friday in Miami. A fellow soldier now living in Gaithersburg, Juan Manuel Rivera-Rondon, was arrested in Baltimore and faces deportation to Peru, where U.S. officials said he and Hurtado will be turned over to local authorities to face charges for their alleged roles in the 1985 killings. [...]"


"House Tackles 'Femicide' in Latin America"
By William Fisher, 9 April 2007
"While headlines in the mainstream media front-page such controversies as Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Syria and lawmakers' standoff with the White House on timelines for American withdrawal from Iraq, the more mundane -- but arguably no less important -- work of the Congress goes on. Much of it continues under the radar, receiving little or no attention in the press. Some of it is actually bipartisan! One example is an obscure measure known as H. Res. 100. What is House Resolution 100? It is an effort by a large bipartisan group of representatives to try to end a deadly phenomenon known as 'femicide' in Guatemala and elsewhere in Central and South America. Introduced by Congresswoman Hilda L. Solis (D-California) and 84 co-sponsors, and unanimously approved by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the resolution urges the US government to bring pressure on Guatemala to address the unsolved murders of more than 2,000 women and girls since 2001. Representative Solis says, 'Very few of these crimes have been investigated, and even fewer perpetrators have been brought to justice for their crimes. Families of victims deserve honest answers and investigations into the murders of their wives, mothers and daughters, instead of being ignored and intimidated. H.Res. 100 will raise awareness of the growing murder rate of women and girls in Guatemala, and increase the international pressure that is needed to stop the violence against women in that country.' It is not known whether President Bush raised the issue with Guatemalan leaders during his recent trip to Latin America. Efforts to raise awareness of femicide have been spearheaded by numerous immigration and human rights organizations. Chief among them is the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies, University of California, Hastings College of Law in San Francisco, working in partnership with Guatemalan groups. ... Femicide is also a problem elsewhere in Latin America. Last year, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Mexico and Guatemala sent a delegation of activists to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Washington to focus attention on the murders of innocent women. [...]"


"Guantanamo Conditions 'Worsening'"
BBC Online, 5 April 2007
"Conditions for detainees at the US military jail at Guantanamo Bay are deteriorating, with the majority held in solitary confinement, a report says. Amnesty International said the often harsh and inhumane conditions at the camp were 'pushing people to the edge.' It called for the facility to be closed and for plans for 'unfair' military commission trials to be abandoned. Many of the 385 inmates have been held for five years or more, unable to mount a legal challenge to their detention. 'While the United States has an obligation to protect its citizens ... that does not relieve the United States from its responsibilities to comply with human rights,' the report said. 'Statements by the Bush administration that these men are "enemy combatants," "terrorists" or "very bad people" do not justify the complete lack of due process rights,' the group said. Amnesty reiterated its call for detainees at the prison camp in Cuba -- many of whom are suspected Taleban and al-Qaeda fighters -- to be released or charged and sent to trial. The report, published on Thursday, said about 300 detainees are now being held at a new facility -- known as Camp 5, Camp 6 and Camp Echo -- comparable to 'super-max' high security units in the US. The group said the facility had 'created even harsher and apparently more permanent conditions of extreme isolation and sensory deprivation.' [...]"

"U.S. Agents Visit Ethiopian Secret Jails"
By Anthony Mitchell
Associated Press dispatch on, 3 April 2007
"CIA and FBI agents hunting for al-Qaeda militants in the Horn of Africa have been interrogating terrorism suspects from 19 countries held at secret prisons in Ethiopia, which is notorious for torture and abuse, according to an investigation by The Associated Press. Human rights groups, lawyers and several Western diplomats assert hundreds of prisoners, who include women and children, have been transferred secretly and illegally in recent months from Kenya and Somalia to Ethiopia, where they are kept without charge or access to lawyers and families. The detainees include at least one U.S. citizen and some are from Canada, Sweden and France, according to a list compiled by a Kenyan Muslim rights group and flight manifests obtained by AP. Some were swept up by Ethiopian troops that drove a radical Islamist government out of neighboring Somalia late last year. Others have been deported from Kenya, where many Somalis have fled the continuing violence in their homeland. Ethiopia, which denies holding secret prisoners, is a country with a long history of human rights abuses. In recent years, it has also been a key U.S. ally in the fight against al-Qaeda, which has been trying to sink roots among Muslims in the Horn of Africa. ... Some U.S. allies have expressed consternation at the transfers to the prisons. One Western diplomat in Nairobi, who agreed to speak to AP only if not quoted to avoid angering U.S. officials, said he sees the United States as playing a guiding role in the operation. John Sifton, a Human Rights Watch expert on counter-terrorism, went further. He said in an e-mail that the United States has acted as 'ringleader' in what he labeled a 'decentralized, outsourced Guantanamo.' [...]"

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