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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 3, No. 151, 99-08-05

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty: Newsline Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty <http://www.rferl.org>

RFE/RL NEWSLINE

Vol. 3, No. 151, 5 August 1999


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] GEORGIAN, ABKHAZ LEADERS MEET IN MOSCOW
  • [02] GEORGIAN PRESIDENT SETS DATE FOR PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION
  • [03] KAZAKHSTAN SLASHES FUNDING FOR STATE PUBLICATIONS
  • [04] KAZAKHSTAN'S COSSACKS AGAIN THREATEN TO EMIGRATE EN MASSE
  • [05] KYRGYZ HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE TO BE REREGISTERED
  • [06] KYRGYZSTAN DRAFTS NEW LANGUAGE LAW
  • [07] KYRGYZSTAN TO ABOLISH VISA REQUIREMENT FOR WTO STATES
  • [08] TAJIKISTAN REINFORCES BORDER WITH AFGHANISTAN
  • [09] TURKMENISTAN'S GEOLOGICAL EXPLORATION COMMITTEE CRITICIZED

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [10] DJINDJIC SAYS MILOSEVIC OUT BY NOVEMBER
  • [11] DRASKOVIC: KFOR PLAYS INTO MILOSEVIC'S HANDS
  • [12] GELBARD MEETS WITH SERBIAN OPPOSITION LEADERS
  • [13] BELGRADE ATTACKS OPPOSITION OVER GELBARD MEETINGS
  • [14] SERBIAN STUDENT GROUP CALLS FOR ELECTIONS
  • [15] MILOSEVIC FAILS TO EXPAND GOVERNMENT'S BASE
  • [16] BULATOVIC WANTS 9,600 POLICE FOR KOSOVA
  • [17] KOSOVAR SERBS DISAPPOINTED BY RUSSIAN 'IDLENESS'
  • [18] KOUCHNER VISITS MASS GRAVE SITE...
  • [19] ...WARNS KOSOVA CONFLICT IS NOT OVER
  • [20] SHOOT-OUT BETWEEN ALBANIANS, FLEEING SERBS
  • [21] TRIBUNAL PROSECUTOR WARNS UCK
  • [22] GANG WAR BREAKS OUT IN NORTHERN ALBANIA
  • [23] POLICE SEARCH ANGERS ALBANIAN OPPOSITION
  • [24] CROATIAN MINISTER APPEALS TO HAGUE COURT
  • [25] TUDJMAN SACKS TRANSPORT MINISTER
  • [26] BOSNIAN SERB LEADER REPUDIATES BORDER AGREEMENT
  • [27] MENINGITIS EPIDEMIC IN ROMANIA
  • [28] ROMANIAN LIBERAL LEADER ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT IN 2001
  • [29] MOLDOVAN POLITICIANS REBUFF PRESIDENT
  • [30] SHARP DROP IN MOLDOVAN FOREIGN TRADE
  • [31] SENIOR BULGARIAN POLICEMAN CAUGHT TAKING BRIBE

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [32] CRIMES OF WAR

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] GEORGIAN, ABKHAZ LEADERS MEET IN MOSCOW

    Georgian Minister of

    State Vazha Lortkipanidze and Abkhaz leader Vladislav

    Ardzinba met in Moscow on 4 August in the presence of Russian

    Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin to discuss the repatriation

    to Abkhazia of an estimated 200,000 ethnic Georgians who fled

    the republic during the 1992-1993 war. Russian Foreign

    Minister Igor Ivanov subsequently told journalists that

    although the two sides failed to sign a protocol on

    repatriation, they succeeded in narrowing differences, and

    will continue talks on that issue, according to ITAR-TASS.

    Both ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported that the two sides

    agreed that the mandate of the CIS peacekeeping force

    currently deployed along the border between Abkhazia and the

    rest of Georgia should be renewed. That mandate expired on 31

    July. At a meeting earlier on 4 August of the Russian-

    Georgian intergovernmental economic commission, which

    Lortkipanidze attended, the two sides agreed to a 12-point

    plan for rebuilding the Abkhaz economy, Interfax reported,

    quoting Russian First Deputy Premier Nikolai Aksenenko. LF

    [02] GEORGIAN PRESIDENT SETS DATE FOR PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION

    Eduard Shevardnadze issued a decree on 4 August scheduling

    parliamentary elections for 31 October, Caucasus Press

    reported. That date coincides with the Ukrainian presidential

    poll and may therefore create logistical problems for the

    OSCE and other organizations intending to monitor both

    elections. To date, 60 parties have registered with the

    newly-appointed Georgian Central Electoral Commission to

    contend the poll. The new parliament, like the outgoing

    legislature elected in November 1995, will consist of 235

    deputies, of whom 150 will be elected from party lists and

    the remaining 85 in single-mandate constituencies, according

    to Reuters. LF

    [03] KAZAKHSTAN SLASHES FUNDING FOR STATE PUBLICATIONS

    Minister

    of Information and Social Concord Altynbek Sarsenbaev has

    issued a decree abolishing state funding for 23 publications,

    RFE/RL correspondents in Almaty reported on 5 August, citing

    "Komsomolskaya pravda." The decree has not been published in

    the Kazakh press. The staff of the publications affected have

    been advised to take a one-month vacation without pay, during

    which their editors are to secure new sources of funding. In

    future only three newspapers--"Egemen Qazaqstan,"

    "Kazakhstanskaya pravda" and "Zhas Alash"--will receive state

    funding. LF

    [04] KAZAKHSTAN'S COSSACKS AGAIN THREATEN TO EMIGRATE EN MASSE

    Speaking at a press conference in Almaty on 4 August,

    Vladimir Ovsyannikov, one of the leaders of the Zhetysu

    (Semirechie) Cossacks, again said that the entire Cossack

    community may leave Kazakhstan and seek political asylum

    elsewhere if the Kazakh authorities "continue to oppress

    their traditions and culture," RFE/RL's bureau in the former

    capital reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21 April 1999). He

    estimated that community as numbering 140,000. Recalling that

    both Canada and China had welcomed Cossack immigrants at the

    beginning of the 20th century, Ovsyannikov added that the

    Zhetysu Cossacks may choose to resettle either in Canada or

    in Moldova's Transdniester Republic. LF

    [05] KYRGYZ HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE TO BE REREGISTERED

    Deputy

    Justice Minister Erkin Mamyrov said in Bishkek on 4 August

    that the Kyrgyz Committee for Human Rights (KCHR), led by

    Ramazan Dyryldaev, will be re-registered soon, RFE/RL's

    Bishkek bureau reported. Mamyrov spoke after meeting with

    representatives of both the KCHR and the Human Rights

    Movement of Kyrgyzstan (HRMK), from which the KCHR split in

    1995. The Justice Ministry revoked the registration of the

    KCHR in September 1998 and has refused to re-register it

    since, despite the Kyrgyz parliament's recommendation to do

    so (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 13 and 27 May 1999). LF

    [06] KYRGYZSTAN DRAFTS NEW LANGUAGE LAW

    Almaz Toktomambetov,

    secretary of the National Commission on the State Language,

    told an RFE/RL correspondent in Bishkek on 4 August that the

    commission has prepared a new law draft on the state

    language, which he added has been submitted to the

    government. According to Toktomambetov, the draft enhances

    the role of the state language (Kyrgyz), which would have to

    be used for all official documentation. Proposals made in

    1997 to give Russian the status of either an official

    language or the language of inter-ethnic communication were

    rejected. Russians currently account for approximately 15

    percent of the country's population of 4.8 million. LF

    [07] KYRGYZSTAN TO ABOLISH VISA REQUIREMENT FOR WTO STATES

    Under

    a presidential decree published on 3 August and scheduled to

    take effect on 1 October, citizens of World Trade

    Organization member states will no longer need a visa to

    enter Kyrgyzstan, Reuters and RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau

    reported the following day. President Askar Akaev told

    Kyrgyzstan's state television that the decision is aimed at

    encouraging tourism and foreign investment in the Kyrgyz

    economy. LF

    [08] TAJIKISTAN REINFORCES BORDER WITH AFGHANISTAN

    Alarmed at the

    intensifying fighting in northern Afghanistan between the

    Taliban and the Northern Alliance, President Imomali

    Rakhmonov gave orders on 4 August to dispatch Tajik frontier

    troops to reinforce the Russian border guards deployed along

    the Tajik-Afghan frontier, Russian agencies reported.

    Rakhmonov also called on the UN Security Council and the

    countries of the Six plus Two group to take urgent action to

    bring about a peaceful settlement of the Afghan civil war,

    according to Reuters. Afghanistan's ambassador in Dushanbe,

    Muhaeddin Mehdi, said the same day that an estimated 200,000-

    300,000 Afghan refugees have fled the Taliban advance and are

    now concentrated in the Afghan province of Badakhshan, which

    borders on Tajikistan's Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast.

    LF

    [09] TURKMENISTAN'S GEOLOGICAL EXPLORATION COMMITTEE CRITICIZED

    At a meeting of government ministers and fuel sector

    officials on 3 August, Turkmenistan's President Saparmurat

    Niyazov instructed the country's geological exploration

    committee to "radically restructure its working style" and to

    intensify prospecting for commercial deposits of hydrocarbons

    and mineral deposits, Interfax reported. Among the sector's

    priorities Niyazov named the chemical industry and the

    construction of three fertilizer plants that will have a

    planned combined annual capacity of 800,000 tons. Niyazov

    fired committee chairman Ezismukhamet Abdyllaev, appointing

    Orazmukhamet Atageldiev to replace him. LF


    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [10] DJINDJIC SAYS MILOSEVIC OUT BY NOVEMBER

    Serbian Democratic

    Party leader Zoran Djindjic told Reuters on 5 August that "by

    mid-September, rallies across Serbia will gain momentum, and

    [Yugoslav President Slobodan] Milosevic will probably call

    for elections in November." Djindjic added that Milosevic in

    the meantime is unlikely to use force against the

    demonstrators lest he drive still more people into the ranks

    of the opposition. This year's elections will be for a

    transition government to replace Milosevic, Djindjic noted.

    He stressed that neither he nor the Serbian Renewal

    Movement's Vuk Draskovic nor any other prominent politician

    should serve in the transitional government. Djindjic

    suggested that such a government should hold office for one

    year, after which new elections should take place. PM

    [11] DRASKOVIC: KFOR PLAYS INTO MILOSEVIC'S HANDS

    Draskovic said

    that any transitional government should include both

    supporters and opponents of Milosevic, the Frankfurt-based

    Serbian daily "Vesti" reported on 5 August. He appealed to

    members of Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia to reach an

    agreement with opposition parties on forming such a

    government. In Rome, Draskovic said on 4 August that KFOR's

    failure to protect Serbian civilians in Kosova "gives

    ammunition to [anti-Western] forces in Serbia, first of all

    to President Milosevic," Reuters reported. Draskovic stressed

    that "there is not a single Serbian policeman or Serbian

    soldier" in Kosova. The result has been "the exodus of the

    Serbs, the ethnic cleansing of Serbs," he concluded. PM

    [12] GELBARD MEETS WITH SERBIAN OPPOSITION LEADERS

    U.S. special

    envoy Robert Gelbard met in a Montenegrin coastal town on 4

    August with Djindjic and other prominent opposition leaders.

    They included the Alliance for Change's Vladan Batic, the

    Social Democrats' Vuk Obradovic, the Civic League's Goran

    Svilanovic, and senior banker Dragoslav Avramovic, "Vesti"

    reported. Gelbard also held a separate meeting with

    Draskovic, who has repeatedly refused to form a coalition

    with the other opposition parties. The theme of Gelbard's

    talks was that all opposition parties should sink their

    differences and concentrate on removing Milosevic from

    office. PM

    [13] BELGRADE ATTACKS OPPOSITION OVER GELBARD MEETINGS

    Serbian

    state-run television said in a broadcast on 4 August that the

    opposition leaders who met with Gelbard are "traitors...bent

    on completing the job NATO failed to accomplish in 78 days"

    of air strikes. The official Tanjug news agency called the

    leaders "quislings...[and] NATO's extended hand in Serbia and

    Yugoslavia." Tanjug added that the opposition wants "to

    topple the legally elected Yugoslav and Serbian leaderships

    [and replace them] with stooges of the Western military

    alliance." In response, Social Democratic spokesman Slobodan

    Orlic told "Vesti" that the opposition is willing to meet

    with anyone if it is "in the interest of Serbia and its

    citizens" to do so. PM

    [14] SERBIAN STUDENT GROUP CALLS FOR ELECTIONS

    The Belgrade

    student organization Otpor (Resistance) issued a "Declaration

    for the Future of Serbia" on 4 August. The manifesto calls

    for free and fair elections "under the control" of the OSCE.

    The text stressed that all democratic forces should unite to

    oust Milosevic, who must be "held accountable for the

    policies he has conducted over the past 10 years," AP

    reported. PM

    [15] MILOSEVIC FAILS TO EXPAND GOVERNMENT'S BASE

    Serbian Prime

    Minister Mirko Marjanovic failed on 4 August to convince

    leaders of Draskovic's party and of the League of Vojvodina

    Hungarians to join his government, RFE/RL's South Slavic

    Service reported. In Podgorica, Montenegro's governing

    Democratic Socialist Party said in a statement that it will

    not take part in similar talks that Yugoslav Prime Minister

    Momir Bulatovic has slated for 5 August. Bulatovic told

    "Vesti" that the opposition should outline its program if it

    thinks it can run the country better than his government has.

    PM

    [16] BULATOVIC WANTS 9,600 POLICE FOR KOSOVA

    Bulatovic said in

    Belgrade that he hopes that Serbian police can begin to

    return to Kosova in September, "Vesti" reported on 5 August.

    He noted that there are "2,400 Serbian holy places" in the

    province and wants four policemen to guard each of them.

    There were some 9,600 police in Kosova before the fighting

    began, he added. PM

    [17] KOSOVAR SERBS DISAPPOINTED BY RUSSIAN 'IDLENESS'

    A Kosovar

    Serb, whose brother was killed by ethnic Albanians in

    Kamenica recently, told "The Daily Telegraph" of 5 August

    that the Russian KFOR soldiers "sit behind their checkpoints

    and oil their engines" but offer little protection to local

    Serbs. A Canadian doctor of Serbian origin said that "the

    Serbs were waiting for the Russians as though it were the

    Second Coming and when they arrived nothing happened, the

    situation only got worse." Since the deployment of KFOR, 17

    Serbs have been kidnapped in the Kamenica region alone, while

    nine others have been found dead. Those who were kidnapped

    are believed to have been killed by ethnic Albanians. FS

    [18] KOUCHNER VISITS MASS GRAVE SITE...

    UN Special Representative

    Bernard Kouchner visited a mass grave site near Mitrovica on

    4 August, AP reported. Kouchner said that it was the first

    time he had been confronted with "the reality of mass

    murder." He added that the experience helped him understand

    the level of animosity that still exists in the province.

    Investigators have identified 72 graves in and close to an

    existing cemetery and have retrieved 40- 50 bodies for

    autopsies since late July. The bodies appeared to have been

    transported to the site between April and June. A spokesman

    for the Hague-based war crime tribunal said that "some of

    them appear to have been tortured." Most were shot at close

    range, and about a third of the corpses were those of women.

    FS

    [19] ...WARNS KOSOVA CONFLICT IS NOT OVER

    Kouchner told AP in

    Mitrovica on 4 August that "people believe all over the world

    that now the war [in Kosova] is over.... That is not true,

    because of the families' suffering.... It's a long story.

    It's always a long story." Kouchner acknowledged that his

    earlier estimate of 11,000 ethnic Albanian bodies in Serbian

    mass graves was inaccurate (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 3 August

    1999). He added that there are no reliable or official

    figures because investigations are far from finished. FS

    [20] SHOOT-OUT BETWEEN ALBANIANS, FLEEING SERBS

    A Serb travelling

    in a convoy of refugees leaving Kosova and an ethnic Albanian

    were killed in a shoot-out near the Kosova-Serbian border

    southeast of Prishtina on 4 August, Reuters reported. The

    exchange of fire began after ethnic Albanians threw rocks at

    the convoy, which was guarded by U.S. forces. Elsewhere, in

    Viti three armed Albanians killed a 39-year-old Serbian man

    in his bed and beat up his mother, Beta reported, citing

    sources in the Serbian Orthodox Church. FS

    [21] TRIBUNAL PROSECUTOR WARNS UCK

    In The Hague, Graham Blewitt,

    who is the war crimes tribunal's deputy chief prosecutor,

    warned the Kosova Liberation Army (UCK) that it will "fall

    into the tribunal's jurisdiction" if it conducts an "ethnic

    cleansing campaign." He added: "I am saying that in the hope

    that it may act as a deterrent," Reuters reported. FS

    [22] GANG WAR BREAKS OUT IN NORTHERN ALBANIA

    Unidentified

    attackers blew up a car on a bridge between Valbona and

    Bajram Curri on 4 August, killing two people and injuring

    three. Less than an hour later, two people died in a shoot-

    out in Bajram Curri. Local police chief Veli Myftari told an

    RFE/RL South Slavic Service correspondent that "a gang

    organized the ambush of a rival [criminal] group with a

    remotely controlled explosive device.... The situation is

    under control, and special forces from Kukes and Tirana have

    arrived." He did not release the identity of the victims

    pending an investigation. Albanian police officials pledged

    last week to launch a campaign against armed gangs in that

    northern region. FS

    [23] POLICE SEARCH ANGERS ALBANIAN OPPOSITION

    Democratic Party

    Deputy leader Genc Pollo told Reuters on 4 August that police

    searched the home of legislator Myslim Murrizi the previous

    day and seized two licensed hunting rifles. As a legislator,

    Murrizi enjoys immunity from such searches. Meanwhile in

    Johannesburg, South Africa, the trial of Leka Zogu, who is

    the pretender to the Albanian throne, began. He is charged

    with illegal arms possession, dpa reported. FS

    [24] CROATIAN MINISTER APPEALS TO HAGUE COURT

    Justice Minister

    Zvonimir Separovic said in Zagreb on 4 August that he has

    written to the Hague-based war crimes tribunal regarding

    Croatia's role in the 1992-1995 Bosnian conflict. He asked

    that the court allow the Croatian government to present its

    response to a court prosecutor's recent statement alleging

    President Franjo Tudjman is responsible for war crimes in

    Bosnia (see "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 27 July 1999). PM

    [25] TUDJMAN SACKS TRANSPORT MINISTER

    On 4 August, Tudjman

    removed Zeljko Luzavec from his post as minister of

    transportation, maritime affairs, and communications. The

    President's Office said in a statement that Tudjman holds

    Luzavec responsible for the recent "collapse" of the

    transportation system to and from the island of Pag at the

    height of the tourist season. PM

    [26] BOSNIAN SERB LEADER REPUDIATES BORDER AGREEMENT

    Zivko

    Radisic, who is the ethnic Serbian member of the Bosnian

    joint presidency, told a press conference in Banja Luka on 4

    August that he does not endorse the recent border delineation

    agreement between Bosnia and Croatia (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"

    4 August 1999). He said that he signed the agreement only

    "because the signing was part of the scheduled events" at the

    29-30 July Balkan summit in Sarajevo. PM

    [27] MENINGITIS EPIDEMIC IN ROMANIA

    The Health Ministry on 5

    August announced that a meningitis epidemic has broken out

    in Iasi, Suceava, Botosani, Bacau, and Neamt Counties,

    Romanian Radio reported. The previous day, Iasi Mayor

    Constantin Simirad declared the town an "epidemic zone" in

    order to force the water utility company to renew supplies

    to homes that have been disconnected owing to unpaid bills.

    Doctors in the northwestern city of Baia Mare reported the

    outbreak of 350 cases of hepatitis, while three people in

    Buzau were reported to have died of letospirosis, a disease

    transmitted to humans by animals. Poverty, malnutrition,

    and poor hygiene are the main causes of the illnesses,

    Reuters reported on 3 August. Meanwhile, Bucharest garbage

    collectors went on strike on 4 August, and doctors say the

    epidemic may now spread to the capital. MS

    [28] ROMANIAN LIBERAL LEADER ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT IN 2001

    Mircea Ionescu-Quintus, the octogenarian National Liberal

    Party chairman, announced on 3 August that he will step

    down at the next party congress, which is scheduled for

    2001, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. Ionescu-Quintus

    also said he will propose that the mandate of the PNL

    chairman be limited to two four-year terms. On 4 August,

    the PNL chairman said Justice Minister Valeriu Stoica, who

    is now PNL first deputy chairman, is "best placed" to

    succeed him. But he added that "there will surely be more

    than one candidate" for the party leadership. MS

    [29] MOLDOVAN POLITICIANS REBUFF PRESIDENT

    Former President

    Mircea Snegur, leader of the Party of Revival and

    Conciliation, told RFE/RL on 4 August that the draft

    project on instituting a presidential system in Moldova

    indicates that President Petru Lucinschi wants to introduce

    an "authoritarian system." Deputy parliamentary chairman

    Iurie Rosca told journalists in Chisinau that Lucinschi

    intends to "institute a presidential dictatorship." Rosca

    said that "Lucinschi and his camarilla...[intend] to do

    away with the division of powers and transform the

    judiciary...and the legislature into mere decorative

    artifacts." He added that the draft worked out by the

    presidential commission shows that the mentalities

    inherited from the previous regime have survived behind a

    pro-European and democratic facade, RFE/RL's Chisinau

    bureau reported. MS

    [30] SHARP DROP IN MOLDOVAN FOREIGN TRADE

    Moldovan foreign

    trade volume dropped by 52.1 percent in the first half of

    1999, compared with the same period last year, RFE/RL's

    Chisinau bureau reported on 3 August, citing data released

    by the Economy and Reform Ministry. The total value of

    trade in this period was $447.3 million. The ministry said

    that the drop is largely attributable to the sharp

    reduction in trade with CIS countries, which dropped by

    56.6 percent. Trade with other countries dropped by 46.8

    percent, owing to a major reduction in imports. Moldovan

    exports to CIS countries from January-June increased by 5.4

    percent. MS

    [31] SENIOR BULGARIAN POLICEMAN CAUGHT TAKING BRIBE

    Mikhail

    Dimitrov, head of Sofia's Economic Police, was caught on 4

    August taking a $75,000 bribe from a local businessman,

    Reuters reported. Kiril Radev, chief of the Central Service

    on Fighting Organized Crime, told Bulgarian Radio that

    Dimitrov had been under surveillance. MS


    [C] END NOTE

    [32] CRIMES OF WAR

    by Christopher Walker

    Four years ago, the name "Srebrenica" became known to

    the world as the site of one of the most gruesome atrocities

    of the Bosnian war. Some 8,000 men and boys--Bosnian Muslims-

    -had been rounded up and slaughtered by Bosnian Serb troops.

    More recently in Kosovo, the world learned of new place

    names--Bela Crkva, Djakovica, Izbica, and Velika Krusa--in

    which the latest round of war-time horrors has occurred,

    allegedly at the hands of Serbian military and paramilitary

    forces during the conflict with NATO.

    International authorities estimate that more than 10,000

    civilians may have been killed in Kosovo. In the month since

    the NATO bombing ended, the international peacekeeping force

    that entered Kosovo has been confronted with another cycle of

    atrocities, apparently committed in revenge by ethnic

    Albanians, against Serbian civilians who have chosen to

    remain in the province. Thus, while the names of the towns

    have changed in former Yugoslavia, the barbaric methods used

    to redress grievances have not.

    Last month in New York City, a panel of journalists and

    authors assembled to discuss the subject of war crimes during

    an event organized by the Freedom Forum at the Newseum/NY.

    The occasion for this meeting was the publication of a

    new book entitled "Crimes of War: What the Public Should

    Know." This work, a collaborative effort of more than 90

    authors and photographers, defines the major war crimes and

    provides a range of important information for journalists and

    the public on international humanitarian law. "The goals of

    the book are to recover from five decades of obscurity the

    standards for judging what is permitted in conflict from what

    is criminal", said Roy Gutman, who won a Pulitzer Prize for

    his work uncovering Serb-run concentration camps during the

    Bosnian war and is co-editor of the book as well as director

    of the Crimes of War Project.

    The "Crimes of War" book has been published within the

    framework of the broader Crimes of War Project. According to

    Gutman, the project, a non-profit charity, intends to build

    on the basis of the book a series of educational and training

    programs. The organizers of this effort intend to hold a

    seminar for reporters in Washington DC on war coverage and

    war crimes and then possibly take it on the road to regions

    of conflict.

    In addition, there will be a web site--located at

    www.crimesofwar.org--associated with the Crimes of War

    project. At first, this site will contain mainly highlights

    of the book but eventually will include articles about

    Kosovo, major rulings by the Hague tribunal, and other

    important international humanitarian topics, such as the

    Pinochet case.

    The hope of a "New World Order" envisioned in the

    aftermath of the Berlin Wall's collapse has been dampened by

    the outbreak of regional conflicts, many of which have been

    characterized by their ferocity and impact on civilian

    populations.

    Gutman notes that "in the early 1990s we saw a wholesale

    regression to barbaric practices in war--barbarism in Bosnia

    and Rwanda, uncontrolled and continuing conflict in Sudan,

    revived and savage conflict in Angola and other places, to

    name a few. [That is] not to say this didn't occur during the

    Cold War era, but this time around, the major powers, instead

    of attempting to curb the violence by influencing their

    clients or in some cases encouraging their clients, turned

    away, closed their eyes, or even denied what was going on."

    The recent panel discussion in New York devoted

    attention to both the advances and weaknesses of the evolving

    institutional framework on war crimes since the start of this

    decade. In the absence of a permanent International Criminal

    Court, two ad-hoc tribunals have been established, one for

    the former Yugoslavia, the other for Rwanda.

    Gutman observes that "until the Hague and Rwanda

    tribunals were set up by the UN Security Council after the

    two genocides in Bosnia and Rwanda, there

    had been no place to investigate judicially the allegations

    nor to indict, try, or convict violators. And even though

    these two instances are ad hoc and region-specific, there may

    well be an international criminal court in the next decade."

    The tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has, in fact,

    indicted a considerable number of alleged war criminals,

    including Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and other

    leading figures.

    But while the tribunal has produced a significant number

    of indictments, some of the panelists at the Freedom Forum

    discussion questioned whether there is an unequal application

    of resources and political attention devoted to crises on the

    European continent, as compared with those in other parts of

    the world, such as Africa.

    Other participants questioned the resolve of the

    Tribunal. Kati Marton, former chairman of the board of the

    Committee to Protect Journalists, criticized the failure of

    the international community to arrest indicted Bosnian war

    criminals Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic.

    In the final analysis, sufficient public awareness is

    crucial to the determination and effectiveness with which

    international judicial bodies carry out their obligations to

    the world community.

    And as Gutman points out, "in a state of ignorance, the

    public will hardly be likely to insist that the laws be

    observed."

    The author is a New York-based analyst specializing in East

    European affairs (intrel@aol.com)

    05-08-99


    Reprinted with permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
    URL: http://www.rferl.org


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