Saturday, July 22, 2006

COUNTERING IMPERIALIST PROPAGANDA: NORTH KOREA, ZIMBABWE, YUGOSLAVIA-Review of Gred Elich's 'Strange Liberators' by John Catalinotto--Workers World

COUNTERING IMPERIALIST PROPAGANDA: NORTH KOREA, ZIMBABWE, YUGOSLAVIA--Book Review of Greg Elich's 'Strange Liberators' by John Catalinotto--Workers World 17 July 2006

[I've been wanting to plug our good friend Greg Elich's new book, 'Strange Liberators: Militarism, Mayhem and the Pursuit of Profit", ever since he told me that he'd finally found a publisher--which, given the heavily information-based (as opposed to morally driven) history that Greg treats in all his writings and its naturally corrosive effects on the heavily massaged and medicated public circle-jerk consciousness, is no less miraculous than finding a bail bondsman at 4 am who'll take a personal check. But for all kinds of reasons that I won't snivel to you about I've been unable to lay hands on Greg's book. So here comes another good comrade, John Catalinotto from the International Action Centre, with whom I had some happy dealings back in the 'Free Slobo' days, with a very thorough and largely descriptive review of 'Strange Liberators'. Greg Elich is truly one of the good guys in the struggle and his work, some of which can be found on this blog, is essential to any understanding of where we are geopolitically and historically today--and where we are going way, way wrong. --mc]


Workers World
July 17, 2006

Book Review


"Strange Liberators: Militarism, Mayhem and the Pursuit of Profit," by
Gregory Elich, Llumina Press, 2006, 402 pages. Available through

By John Catalinotto

Radical political scientist and historian Michael Parenti writes in his introduction to Greg Elich's new book, Strange Liberators: "The difference between what U.S. citizens think their rulers are doing in the world and what these rulers actually are doing is one of the great propaganda achievements of history."

With his ambitious attempt to combat that propaganda, Elich confronts the lies of the U.S. government and its servile media as he takes on what he calls the "hard cases." North Korea's nuclear program, the imperialist assault on Yugoslavia and the machinations against Zimbabwe are his major topics. Even for people who have been following these conflicts closely, Elich has found material that sheds new light on the events.

Though he first finished the book in 2003, he spent the next two and a half years searching for a publisher, during which time he continually updated his material to keep up with new developments, especially regarding the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea and Zimbabwe. The book is up-to-date, well researched and a treasure of political arguments.

His work regarding the DPRK is especially on target now, following that country's tests of rockets and a new wave of threats against North Korea from the U.S. and Japan, the two colonial powers on the Korean peninsula in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Korea's nuclear program

Elich reviews about 15 years of U.S. relations with North Korea regarding that country's nuclear power program and its alleged construction of nuclear weapons. While Washington portrayed the Pyongyang leaders as intransigent and irrational, it was the U.S. that refused to make an honest deal.

Elich quotes Selig Harrison, Director of the Asia Program at the Center for International Policy, to show that the Bush administration's "very rigid position" showed it was "not prepared to trade anything" and "risks a war. The point is, the administration's objective is really regime change in Pyongyang."

Harrison referred to Victor Cha of Georgetown University, whom he called a "kind of ideologue of the Bush administration" regarding Korean affairs. Cha's book on North Korea "lays it all out: the purpose of negotiations with North Korea, he says, is not to settle anything."

"You have these multilateral negotiations in Beijing simply to show the other parties in the region-China, South Korea, Russia and Japan-that it is not possible to make any deals with North Korea. He [Cha] says the purpose of the negotiations is to mobilize a 'coalition for punishment.'"

This analysis fits with the latest news, where U.S. pundits speculate what policy will help Washington line up China and Russia to support sanctions against North Korea in the United Nations Security Council. No one in the Bush administration has yet raised as a serious possibility negotiating a real end to the 1950-53 Korean War and normalizing relations with the DPRK.

Elich shows how during 2004 and 2005 it was only on the insistence of the South Korean government that the U.S. had to keep putting up a good front during the six-part talk, and that even then the U.S. bargaining position was intransigent-the U.S. negotiators constantly raised the bar with extra demands on the DPRK for concessions.

And the Democrats

This summer two prominent members of the Clinton administration, Assistant Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Defense Secretary William Perry, have been writing position papers advocating a preemptive military strike against North Korea's rocket launch pads. Anyone reading Elich's book could follow the aggressive history of the Clinton administration and especially these two officials. Elich shows how in 1994 the U.S. came within hours of launching an all-out war against North Korea.

In writings following that period, Perry and Carter revealed that the Clinton administration "spent much of the first half of 1994 preparing for war on the Korean peninsula." The main target was the Yongbyon nuclear site, but targets included all of the DPRK's military installations. "In the event of a North Korea attack," they wrote [that is, a response to the U.S. attack-JC], "U.S. forces, working side by side with the South Korean army and using bases in Japan, would quickly destroy the North Korean army and the North Korean regime." Since the battle would be waged "in Seoul's suburbs," they expected heavy casualties among all the armed forces, and "millions of refugees" crowding the highways. They don't discuss the many
civilians who would die.

According to Elich-and he provides sources-Clinton officials were meeting to launch the war when Jimmy Carter pulled the rug out from under them. The former president had visited the DPRK, succeeded in getting an agreement from the Pyongyang government and then held a news conference announcing the agreement. Only by going public did he force the Clinton officials to pull back on their war plans.

Frustrated in Asia, the Clinton administration then opened a 78-day bombing campaign against Yugoslavia on March 24, 1999.

Aggression against Yugoslavia-and lies

The U.S. rulers were even more successful in selling the war on Yugoslavia, in the sense that even some progressive media outlets repeated the lies demonizing President Slobodan Milosevic, the Yugoslav army and even the Serb population.

Milosevic had waged a heroic and quite successful self-defense in his trial before NATO's court in The Hague until his suspicious death in March. On July 10, this so-called tribunal opened another important case on the so-called "Kosovo War," this one against Serbian President Milan Milutinovic and five other Yugoslav leaders for the same charges about Kosovo that Milosevic's defense had completely discredited.

Elich again provides good research to back up his explanation of the "Kosovo War," the machinations used to overthrow the Milosevic government in the summer of 2000, and other aspects of the war waged by the U.S. and its NATO allies to destroy the multinational, pro-socialist state of Yugoslavia from 1990-2000.

One point that Elich reveals involves the details of the U.S. threats against Yugoslavia at the end of May 1999. This was an important moment, one that led the Belgrade government to allow NATO to occupy Serbia's Kosovo province.

The world knew that Yugoslavia faced an imminent invasion. It knew also that the Russian government had removed all support for the embattled Yugoslavs. What was kept hidden at the time were the specific threats the European Union's "mediator," Martti Ahtisaari, literally laid on the table before Yugoslavia's coalition government.

When Milosevic asked "what will happen if I don't sign" the ultimatum, "Ahtisaari made a gesture on the table," wrote Serb negotiator Ljubisa Ristic, and then moved aside the flower centerpiece. Then Ahtisaari said, "Belgrade will be like this table. We will immediately begin carpetbombing Belgrade. There will be half a million dead within a week." The Yugoslav leaders accepted the terms.

Zimbabwe and the land question

As with the war on Yugoslavia, the U.S. has also disguised its maneuvers in Africa as "humanitarian interventions." In Somalia the U.S. forces were supposed to be feeding people in a "failed state." Now the propagandists are making a case that the civil war in Sudan needs the wise heads of imperialist generals to "rescue Black Africans."

Another major target of U.S. and British maneuverings is Zimbabwe. This southern African country with 12 million inhabitants, formerly called Southern Rhodesia after the wealthy British colonialist and then led by outright apartheid-style racist settlers, won its independence in 1980 following a long liberation war.

A leader of that independence struggle, Robert Mugabe, has been the head of the Zimbabwean government since. As Elich points out, a key element of the struggle for liberation of the African people is the struggle for land in this agricultural country. British and U.S. attitudes toward Mugabe soured when the African leader began to resist privatization and imperialist globalization in the form of "structural adjustment programs."

Then conflict between Britain and the Mugabe government sharpened when the government in Harare started to seize the land from the wealthy European farmers and distributed it to Africans who had participated in the struggle for liberation. To the Tony Blair government, its allies in Washington and the imperialist press, taking this land from "productive farmers" was a heinous crime. The imperialists slander the Mugabe government, calling it autocratic and inefficient.

Elich, with a quick review of colonial history of the region, shows how the British Empire waged a bloody colonial war against the local peoples to seize the land in the first place and distribute it to settlers, then how the colonial governments drove Africans off the land and prevented them from owning it by law. If the settlers' farms are productive, it is also because the colonial regimes built up the country's infrastructure in such a way as to support the regions owned by European-origin farmers.

In 2002, the 4,500 white commercial farm owners still held 70 percent of Zimbabwe's arable land. Six million African peasants did subsistence farming in the "communal areas."

Since the sanctions the U.S. and the EU have imposed against Zimbabwe have condemned many of its HIV-positive citizens to death, it is hard even for the imperialist media to claim a "humanitarian intervention" is needed. Instead, the intervention is alleged to be pro-democracy.

The tool for this intervention was the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), founded in September 1999 and benefiting from a massive infusion of funds from Western sources, writes Elich. The MDC supported the structural adjustment programs that Mugabe's ZANU-PF party had begun to resist.

By 2002 the British High Commissioner to Zimbabwe, Brian Donnelly, who had been ambassador to Yugoslavia for two years, was considered instrumental in formulating a plan to get rid of Mugabe. This time the plot failed.

The MDC was weakened in 2005 when its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, provoked a split in his own party by demanding a boycott of the election. The split led to a landslide victory for ZANU-PF, Mugabe's party. His next announced step was to prepare for regime change not by electoral processes but through what amounts to a coup.

In each of these hard cases and some other topics Elich takes up, he shows the goal of U.S. foreign policy is never democracy or human rights, but "to create a world that exists only to serve the wealthy, where resources are freely exploited and the mass of humanity labors for shrinking wages and inadequate or nonexistent benefits."

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Destroying the rule of law -- by John Laughland

Destroying the rule of law -- by John Laughland

[Here's John Laughland's piece on the degradation of International Law inspired by Chris Black and Peter Erlinder's breaking of the news of the Rwandan Tribunal's court ordering of 'The FACT of the Genocide of 100 Days' in 1994 into the canon of the Obvious, thereby relieving what pathetic little burden of proof remained on the prosecution in these Victims' Justice cases. Laughlin has for some time been a strong supporter of Yugoslavia, but, as far as I know, this is his first venture into the Central Africa dossier. He is certainly to be applauded for this brave gesture--one that few other critics of US/UK foreign policies have dared to make. The article was pirated by CM/P from Sanders Research Associates for your reading pleasure. --mc]

Destroying the rule of law

By John Laughland

On 16th June 2006, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda issued a ruling which destroys at it most fundamental level the very concept of due process in a criminal trial. It ruled that the Trial Chambers must ‘take judicial notice’ of the ‘fact’ that ‘between 6th April 1994 and 17th July 1994 there was genocide in Rwanda against the Tutsi ethnic group.’

The goal if this decision is not to make the prosecution's job easier, instead it is designed to prevent the defence from presenting the overwhelming evidence now developed that there were many complex reasons for the events in Rwanda, but genocide is not one of them. This political purpose of the decision is stated outright in the press release when the Tribunal states that this decision by the Appeal Chamber should "silence the rejectionist camp".

Further, not only is the Appeal Chamber decision wrong on the facts, it is wrong in law as in no legal jurisdiction in the world is it possible for a court to take judicial notice of a "fact" which is disputed by one of the parties in the case.

Many opponents of the US-led war on terror rightly attack the US for committing abuses of due process, of which the prison camp at Guantánamo Bay has now become an anti-iconic symbol. The Americans are often attacked for disobeying ‘international law,’ in this case by denying to their prisoners on Cuba the right accorded prisoners of war by the Geneva Conventions. Few such opponents, however, disagree with the concept of ‘international law’ itself and instead believe that it embodies a superior morality than the narrow self-interest of nation-states. Recent developments in international law suggest, however, that this is not the case and that, on the contrary, international law is even more corrupt than national.

Ever since the end of the Cold War, there has been a tendency to ‘criminalise’ international relations and to bring the methods and philosophy of the criminal law into a legal structure which used to be based only on consent between sovereign states. Ever since President George H. W. Bush proclaimed the ‘new world order’ on 11th September 1990, and ever since the UN Security Council approved the First Gulf War and reproached Saddam Hussein’s regime for the way it was allegedly mistreating its Kurds and Shiites, international law has become increasingly coercive. This, indeed, was precisely what Bush Senior meant when he used that pregnant phrase. Prior to that, broadly speaking, international law had consisted only of the treaty agreements between states, while national sovereignty and the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of states were considered the cornerstones of the international system.

The new approach to international law quickly led to important institutional changes at the international level, in particular to the creation of international criminal tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda in 1993 and 1994. Although the new International Criminal Court, which was created in 1998 and whose jurisdiction may one day cover the whole planet, was not imposed by the Security Council in the way the ICTY and the ICTR were, it will doubtless draw on the practices of these two ad hoc tribunals. It is essential, therefore, to observe their practices to see whether a future regime of coercive ‘international law’ with universal reach would be desirable or dictatorial.

Two recent developments suggest it would be the latter. On 16th June 2006, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda issued a ruling which destroys at it most fundamental level the very concept of due process in a criminal trial. It ruled that the Trial Chambers must ‘take judicial notice’ of the ‘fact’ that ‘between 6th April 1994 and 17th July 1994 there was genocide in Rwanda against the Tutsi ethnic group.’[1]

Taking judicial notice of a fact is a recognised procedure in many jurisdictions. It is a rule in the law of evidence which allows a fact to be formally accepted by the court if its truth is so well known that it cannot be refuted. The rule is customarily used for matters which really are beyond dispute, such as the locations of streets in a court’s jurisdiction or the day of the week on a certain date. When a court takes judicial notice of such facts, the parties in the trial cannot contest them. Superior courts can instruct lower courts to take judicial notice of facts like federal laws and other government regulations.

It is obvious that this procedure is strictly limited to facts which are really not in dispute, and that it is intended to prevent defendants from wasting the court’s time by disputing everything. It has never been used to take as given the very thing which is at issue in the trial. The Rwanda Tribunal has therefore done something which does not exist in any civilised jurisdiction in the world. It has imposed mandatory judicial notice on the Trial Chambers of the ‘fact’ that genocide occurred in Rwanda in 1994, whereas many of those who are accused of committing genocide or of complicity in it are basing their defence on their denial that genocide occurred at all.

No wonder that, according to the official ICTR press release, the Office of the Prosecutor welcomed the ruling because it would ‘silence the “rejectionist” camp which has been disputing the occurrence of genocide’. The ruling does indeed remove at a stroke the central plank of the case of many defendants. The word ‘rejectionist’ is presumably intended to translate the French term ‘négationniste’ which refers to those who deny the Holocaust and therefore to tar defendants at the ICTY and their lawyers with the same brush. But the Appeals Chamber ruling goes to very heart of what criminal trials are all about. This is because ‘genocide’ has a specific meaning in international law, as formulated by the 1948 Genocide Convention and by the ICTR Statute itself.

That Statute defines genocide using the following words and phrases:

‘acts … committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such’ [including] ‘deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part,’ and ‘imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group.’

In other words, the legal definition of genocide in international law contains repeated and crucial references to the all-important concept of mens rea . According to the statute, therefore, it should be impossible to be convicted of the crime of genocide without mens rea being established. You cannot commit genocide by mistake. Yet the Appeals Chamber ruling says that mens rea has been established, and it has required the Trial Chambers to take judicial notice of this ‘fact’ and therefore to treat it as established in all the trial pending before them.

All criminal trials turn on the question of mens rea (guilty mind): once the actus reus (guilty act) has been established, if it has, then the court must establish whether the defendant intended to commit the act or whether it was an accident or had some other cause. Only if mens rea is established can a criminal conviction be obtained on the full charge. By ruling that Trial Chambers must take judicial notice of the ‘fact’ that genocide occurred, the Appeals Chamber of the Rwanda Tribunal is ruling as proven the very thing which criminal trials are supposed to establish and which, in this case, the defendants deny, namely that they desired or organised the events in question.

This ruling recalls but goes beyond a doctrine adopted in 2004 at the Rwanda tribunal’s sister court, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, which has invented a doctrine of criminal liability known as ‘joint criminal enterprise.’ It uses this concept, which is so contentious that it is unconstitutional in many jurisdictions, in order to convict people of crimes when even the Tribunal accepts that they did not, in fact, commit them or that the proof is lacking to show that they did. The reasoning is that people can be convicted of crimes if they were associated with the actual perpetrators in a joint criminal enterprise. To be sure, all criminal jurisdictions recognise the criminal liability of aiding and abetting — the man who keeps a look out while his friend burgles a house is as guilty as the burglar himself — but the Yugoslav Tribunal casts the net of ‘joint criminal enterprise’ so widely that it allows convictions as primary perpetrators even for people who neither committed nor intended to commit the acts in question. On 19th March 2004 the Appeals Chamber ruled that

‘The third category of joint criminal enterprise … does not require proof of intent to commit a crime…’.

In June of the same year, it specifically applied the same doctrine to genocide, in spite of the fact that its statute also defines the crime in the same way as the Rwanda Tribunal’s statute does.

In other words, international tribunals have abolished the very thing which criminal trials are supposed to be about. If you can be convicted of a crime as a primary perpetrator for something which you neither committed nor intended to commit, and if mens rea can be ‘established’ by judicial ruling, then while it may be true that nation states sometimes abuse their criminal justice systems for political ends (such as when they lock up or execute enemies of the regime) the danger is even greater with international tribunals. Detached from any of the potentially moderating influences which exist in all national courts, such as popular pressure, culture or precedent, international tribunals are a law unto themselves. The collective professional belief of their officials and judges that they are engaged in forging a new and superior judicial order has led these two courts to tear up the established rules of civilised criminal justice systems, introducing into the heart of their systems measures which are the very hallmark of dictatorships.[2]

[1] ICTR Appeals Chamber takes Judicial Notice of Genocide in Rwanda

The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda on 16 June 2006 ruled that the Trial Chambers must take judicial notice of the following facts:

(i) The existence of Twa, Tutsi and Hutu as protected groups falling under the Genocide Convention;

(ii) The following state of affairs existed in Rwanda between 6 April 1994 to 17 July 1994: there were throughout Rwanda widespread or systematic attacks against a civilian population based on Tutsi ethnic identification.

During the attacks, some Rwandan citizens killed or caused serious bodily or mental harm to person[s] perceived to be Tutsi. As a result of the attacks, there were a large number of deaths of persons of Tutsi ethnic identity;

(iii) Between 6 April 1994 and 17 July 1994 there was genocide in Rwanda against Tutsi ethnic group.

This land mark decision was delivered by the Appeals Chamber on Prosecutor's Appeal on Judicial Notice, dated 16 June 2006, in the trial of Prosecutor v. Karemera, Ngirumpatse and Nzirorera, ICTR-98-44-AR73 (C).

The decision will have an immediate impact on the trial proceedings in the Karemera et al case, and will be felt in all of the current and pending trials before the Trial Chambers of the ICTR. Judicial notice of the above matters means that they are to be taken as established beyond any dispute and not requiring any proof.

This is one of the most significant rulings of the Tribunal, given the consequences in terms of putting the occurrence of the genocide beyond legal dispute. It can be recalled that until now the OTP has had to in each case lead evidence and prove the occurrence of the genocide. This will no longer be necessary.

In the view of the OTP the ruling should now silence the rejectionist camp which has been disputing the occurrence of genocide. By relieving the OTP of a substantial burden of proof the ruling has the potential to shorten the cases as each will essentially focus on the personal involvement of the accused person in genocide. (Comment by Chris Black)

[2] It is worth noting that this decision came on the heels of the demand by the RPF regime, several weeks ago that the Tribunal should not have to prove there was a genocide and that judicial notice should be taken of it, thus saving the RPF and the ICTR the embarrassment of admitting that there is no such proof. It also followed closely a meeting between The President of the Tribunal Judge Mose of Norway and a sitting trial judge in the Military I case, accompanied by the Prosecutor Hassan Jallow, with Condaleeza Rice in Washington, in violation of the ICTR statute's requirement that the Tribunal be independent of any national state. (Chris Black)

The editor wishes to thank Chris Black for bringing this key decision to our attention. For related stories see Who Killed Agathe? - The Death of a Prime Minister View from Rwanda: The Dallaire Genocide Fax: A Fabrication[1]

Chris Black is a trial Lawyer with over 25 years experience and active involvement with many anti-war and anti-poverty groups. Since 2000 to the present, has been the lead counsel at the International Criminal Tribunal For Rwanda representing General Augustin Ndindiliyimana, Chief of Staff, Rwandan Gendarmerie. From 2001, he has been Vice Chair and Chair of the Legal Committee for the International Committee For the Defence of Slobodan Milosevic. Mr Black is a Member of the Association of American Jurists, National Lawyers Guild (USA), International Assocationa of Democractic Lawyers, Member of the Defend the Cuba Five Committee and a Member of the combined US-Canadian legal delegation to North Korea and co-author of their report re North Korea-200.


Statement from Roland Weyl, head of the IADL, International Association of Democratic Lawyers condemning the Tribunal genocide decision:

Droit-Solidarité vient d’être informé de l’arrêt rendu le 16 juin par la Chambre d’Appel du Tribunal Pénal International pour le Rwanda, qui déclare que l’existence du génocide doit être considérée comme un fait de connaissance acquise, que donc le Procureur n’a pas à le démontrer, et que les accusés ne sont pas en possibilité de le discuter.

Nous n’entendons pas ici prendre position sur la question de fond (savoir si la tragédie du Rwanda relève de la qualification juridique de génocide). La seule question est de savoir si des accusés peuvent se voir interdire de débattre de quelque aspect que ce soit des bases juridiques de la qualification pénale dont ils sont appelés à répondre. L’exigence du droit au procès régulier garanti par la Déclaration Universelle des Droits de l’Homme et le Pacte de 1966 sur les Droits Civils et Politiques implique un respect absolu des Droits de la Défense, comportant le droit pour tout accusé de discuter non seulement la matérialité des faits qui lui sont reprochés mais leur qualification juridique, ceci incluant le cas échéant le droit de critiquer et de contester la valeur juridique des textes de référence comme contraires aux principes fondamentaux du Droit.

La décision du 16 juin susvisée ne peut être appréciée que comme gravement contraire à ces principes essentiels relevant des garanties fondamentales en matière de Droits de l’Homme

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

More International InJustice Feuling the Insensate Genocide Industry--by Mes Black & Erlinder and the Detainees of Xray, Arusha

More International InJustice Feuling the Insensate Genocide Industry--by Mes Black & Erlinder and the Detainees of Xray, Arusha

[This, another example of how cowardice or idiocy, or both running bow-legged, continue to push the assault by the judicial wing of the war for global domination unto extinction, comes to CM/P from our strong comrades on the ICTR-Arusha Defense team (ADAD), Maitres Chris Black and Peter Erlinder.

We have for some time been very suspicious of the historico-political instrumentalization of Genocide: how it has been used to cover the expansionist manias, the gruesome shopping sprees for primary resources of certain Western financial, commercial and military/industrial and overall criminal interests, and as a sort of back-spin, or black-spin, to blame the ravages of their devastating and very bloody strategies for command, control, occupation, domination and eventual (and inevitable) destruction of targeted peoples, on the very victims themselves.

Genocide is the white noise used to fuzz out foreign aggressions and make them appear as strictly internal civil wars, ancient tribal conflicts, bitter ethnic squabbles or petty national rivalries. This is the primary conceit in the modern geopolitical inversion trope. The most cynical irony of this whole macabre game of quadriplegics' dodge ball is that the 'victimating' of the world's under-powered masses is pulled off by so-called Victims' Courts in the name of an Ed Meesse lucubration, 'Victims' Justice'. --I mean, it says that right on the sign out in front of the Tribs in The Hague and Arusha: These Are UN Victims' Courts--like they proud of that shit!

And the history of Victims' Justice is sordid and fraught with craven duplicity, vicious conniving and good old venal stupidity. One of the mistakes the Defenses made before the Yugoslav and Rwandan Tribunals was to give far too much respect to their opponents. But, I guess they teach that kind of comportment in law school.

I figured Milosevic was taking some bad advice (though most of it was probably his own) when he decided to mount a (self) defense against a non-existent prosecution case. (But, then like so much else in his career, what else could he do?) It was as obvious in 2002 as it is today that they could not prove any of the charges against President Milosevic--why Djindjic traded him off to the ICTY for some magic beans (which later blew his head off), 'cause after some months in Belgrade's Central tank, the compradors couldn't even find an outstanding jaywalking ticket against the president (I've still got a couple those hanging out in CA--so don't tell anyone).

There was certainly no way they were going to prove that Milosevic was in on any Genocide. But one of the early rules of Victims Justice was 'No Evidence, No Problem': if you can't prove the crime took place, just make it out to be too super-bloody to get into in mixed company, and then, when the public is frothing at the butt, just stipulate to it. Badda bing, badda boom. Anyone tries to call you on it, send them to talk to Robert Faurison or David Irving or Roger Garaudy or OJ Simpson, find out just what kinda laws the 'Shoah Business' has generated against Holocaust denial and other kinds of 'hate speech'.

So now, the empty robes on the bench in Tanzania's ad hoc are just cutting right to the money shot. Since the prosecution doesn't have to prove what is already common knowledge, like the sun comes up in the East and Israel has replaced water in Palestine with sulfurous fire: and the prosecution gets to say what's obvious in each case; and everybody knows (though it’s NEVER been proven ANYWHERE) that there was a genocide of 800,000 Tutsis by Hutus in Rwanda: ipso facto, post hoctor proct, and yebega, yebeta, everyone charged by the Tribs is guilty of Genocide. This kind of reasoning is quite easy—easier for those who suffer the trans-generational effects of methamphetamine dependency—but it’s dead easy, easy as pissing into the SF bay from the GG bridge—though, be careful, that water can be cold—and deep, too.

Presumption of innocence? Burden of proof? Rigorous rules of evidence? Inadmissibility of hearsay? Impartiality, equality of arms? Man, get on the Love Train! That's sooooooo pre-911—shit's dead, it went out with the Family Dog and Stanley Owsley and the People's Temple.

Yeah, but it still sucks. For my Rwandan friends like General Ndindiliyimana, and George Rutaganda and Dr Leon Mugesera, and all their families and comrades is sucks hard. And it also sucks for all the Yugoslavs who have to watch Naser Oric catch a deuce as 'time served', and for all the heinous shit he got up to, and just roll on out the gate at Scheveningen—three month's after his old boss, the Whitney Houston to his Kevin Costner, left in a body baggie. What really sucks snakes-on-a-mufucking-plane hard is when I start thinking that Jim Jones may have known what Huey Newton knew—they may have known the only place left where people can find real justice: that's right—pass the Kool-Aid. --mc]


Dear Friends,

I am forwarding the press release from the ICTR below which is one of the
most shocking statements made by any of the ad hoc war crimes tribunals to

It speaks for itself, however several things must be noted. Despite the
claims of the Prosecutor that this will save them from having to prove a
genocide occurred in each trial, the Prosecutor has, in fact, not tried to
do so in any case yet. There have been cases in which accused have pleaded
guilty and have not debated the issue or cases in which their lawyers have
persuaded their clients not to contest the issue in hope of some favour
from the Tribunal but in not one case yet has any evidence of a genocide
been produced.

Further, the goal if this decision is not to make the prosecution's job
easier, instead it is designed to prevent the defence from presenting the
overwhelming evidence now developed that there were many complex reasons
for the events in Rwanda, but genocide is not one of them. This political
purpose of the decision is stated outright in the press release when the
Tribunal states that this decision by the Appeal Chamber should "silence
the rejectionist camp".

Further, not only is the Appeal Chamber decision wrong on the facts, it is
wrong in law as in no legal jurisdiction in the world is it possible for a
court to take judicial notice of a "fact" which is disputed by one of the
parties in the case. Judicial notice can only be taken of such obvious
facts as the rising and setting of the sun or that the UK is an island.

In reaction to this farcical decision the accused in several of the major
trials have now boycotted the Tribunal and refuse to attend the trials.
They have issued a letter to the Tribunal, Security Council and various
other bodies protesting this gutting of their ability to make full answer
and defence and their ability to present the facts of the war in Rwanda. I
am sending a copy of that letter in a separate message alng with a press
release by the Association of Defence Lawyers at the ICTR (ADAD) which
sets out in more detail the legal and factual situation.

Lastly, it is worth noting that this decision came on the heels of the
demand by the RPF regime, several weeks ago that the Tribunal should not
have to prove there was a genocide and that judicial notice should be
taken of it; Saving the RPF and the ICTR the embarrassment of admitting
that there is no such proof. It also followed closely a meeting between
The President of the Tribunal Judge Mose of Norway and a sitting trial
judge in the Military I case, accompanied by the Prosecutor Hassan Jallow,
with Condaleeza Rice in Washington, in violation of the ICTR statute's
requirement that the Tribunal be independent of any national state.

Never in history have accused had their right to a fair trial so
egregiously violated by stating that they cannot dispute the principal
charge against them. The prisoners at the ICTR now view themsevles in the
hands of the Guantanamo of Africa.


Chris Black

ICTR Appeals Chamber takes Judicial Notice of Genocide in Rwanda

The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda on 16
June 2006 ruled that the Trial Chambers must take judicial notice of
the following facts:

(i) The existence of Twa, Tutsi and Hutu as protected groups falling
under the Genocide Convention;
(ii) The following state of affairs existed in Rwanda between 6 April 1994
to 17 July 1994: there were throughout Rwanda widespread or systematic
attacks against a civilian population based on Tutsi ethnic
identification. During the attacks, some Rwandan citizens killed or caused
serious bodily or mental harm to person[s] perceived to be Tutsi. As a
result of the attacks, there were a large number of deaths of persons of
Tutsi ethnic identity;
(iii) Between 6 April 1994 and 17 July 1994 there was genocide in Rwanda
against Tutsi ethnic group.

This land mark decision was delivered by the Appeals Chamber on
Prosecutor's Appeal on Judicial Notice, dated 16 June 2006, in the trial
of Prosecutor v. Karemera, Ngirumpatse and Nzirorera, ICTR-98-44-AR73
(C). The decision will have an immediate impact on the trial proceedings
in the Karemera et al case, and will be felt in all of the current and
pending trials before the Trial Chambers of the ICTR. Judicial notice of
the above matters means that they are to be taken as
established beyond any dispute and not requiring any proof.

This is one of the most significant rulings of the Tribunal, given the
consequences in terms of putting the occurrence of the genocide
beyond legal dispute. It can be recalled that until now the OTP has had to
in each case lead evidence and prove the occurrence of the genocide.
This will no longer be necessary.

In the view of the OTP the ruling should now silence the˜rejectionists"
camp which has been disputing the occurrence of genocide. By relieving
the OTP of a substantial burden of proof the ruling has the potential
to shorten the cases as each will essentially focus on the personal
involvement of the accused person in genocide.

Dear Friends,

Attached are the ADAD press release (English only) and the letter by the
accused to the ICTR and Security Council among others in English and

I don't know if anyone can publish this material or a summary of it but in
any event if you could distribute as widely as possible to inform the
world of the injustice taking place at the ICTR, it would be very much
appreciated as the mass media appear to want to hide this embarrassment. I
asked that my trial be suspended until we could take some action to
reverse this decision or determine whether the accused and I could
continue to take part in a trial which has now completely descended into
farce. The motion was rejected. Several accused are now preparing motions
to have this finding reversed without much hope as it was a purely
political decision. But the Tribunal has now demonstrated in dramatic
fashion its political nature and its use as a tool of war agaisnt the
people of Rwanda and all of Africa.


Chris Black

Dear Colleagues,

Please forward as appropriate to professional colleagues, organizations,
or press outlets you think might be interested. Sorry, no French transl.
yet for News Release.

best regards,

Peter Erlinder
ADAD President


Contact: Prof. Peter Erlinder, ADAD President/ [Eng]
Me. Chris Black, ADAD Counsellor/ 0744-666-972 [Eng/Fr]

Improper ICTR “Appellate Judicial Notice” Decision Makes Current Trials Nearly Meaningless: ICTR “Completion Strategy” Apparently Outweighs Universal, Fundamental Fair-Trial Principles.

June 26, 2006, ARUSHA TZ. – A June 20 ICTR Press Release quotes the ICTR Prosecutor stating that the “appellate judicial notice” Karemera Decision of June 16, “[puts]…the occurrence of the genocide beyond legal dispute.” If correct, the Appeals Chamber Decision has done grave damage to the integrity of the ICTR as a juridical body.

It appears that the publicly announced ICTR “completion strategy,” rather than sound juridical principles, may now be driving proceedings at the ICTR. As the communique of the Detainees states, “The Appeal Chamber has underlined in red its denial of justice in this Tribunal.”

Evidence in current trials completely contradicts the Decision’s “judicial notice” factual findings:

• No International Armed Conflict? The RPF/RPA invaded Rwanda in 1990 with the support and guidance of the Ugandan military, of which most of the RPF/RPA were former members, which is undisputed by OTP witnesses. OTP witnesses also have confirmed that Burundian troops were also active in Rwanda in 1994.

• Existence a “widespread and systematic….genocide of Tutsi?” Evidence questioning whether “genocidal intent” OR the predicted results of the 4-year RPF war of invasion being the main factor in the Rwanda tragedy is pending before ICTR trial chambers, NOW…these factual issues have never been litigated before and are NOT a settled question, either within the Tribunal or as a matter of historical fact.

With the last 3 months, eye-witness testimony established that the RPF assassinated former Pres. Habyarimana, and resumed its war-to-seize-power knowing that war-related civilian massacres would result and was the major cause of the violence now called “genocide.” UN documentary evidence shows that the winning RPF/RPA triggered the civilian killings and used its troops to seize power, rather than protect civilians …at a time when the RPF was the only military force in Rwanda that could both stop the war, and the killings that the RPF war intentionally triggered.

Procedurally, “appellate judicial notice” precludes defence challenges to major factual issues, and makes certain defenses impossible, in complete contravention universal, Fair Trial principles, such as the presumption of innocence and the right to present a defence, at all. The Decision will also increase Defence problems in locating witnesses willing to testify for the defence, knowing that the ICTR, itself, has labeled such evidence “rejectionist.” Further, a decision with broad implications, taken in proceedings in which all parties are not before the Court is completely contrary to universally recognized juridical fairness principles.

The ADAD Bureau calls for the Appeals Chamber to: permit the parties to seek Reconsideration of the Decision; permit ADAD and other interested parties to appear as Amicus Curiae; permit parties affected by the Decision to intervene as parties; and, to limit this expansive use of “judicial notice” which supplants ongoing trial proceedings. Insofar as the Decision has varying impact in each case, Defence Counsel and the Accused will respond appropriately in each case, including suspending participation in trial proceedings which can no longer serve their proper fact-finding purpose.

Arusha, 25 th June 2006.

The Detainees,

The Honourable President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Arusha.

The Honourable President of the Appeals Chamber, International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda,
The Hague.

Subject: Response to the decision issued by the Appeals Chamber on 16 th February 2006 and to the ICTR press release dated 20 th June 2006.

Honourable President,

The detainees signatory to this letter are sorry to inform you that they were deeply shocked by the Appeals Chamber decision of 16 th June 2006 in the Karemera et al. (ICTR-98-44-T) vs. Prosecutor trial and by its exploitation by the ICTR in the media. They firmly denounce this manipulation by the Information and Press Services of the ICTR for obvious political purposes. They find unjust and inopportune this decision that does not take into account their right to the presumption of innocence and to just and fair trials.

The signatories to this letter think that when taking judicial notice of “genocide”, constituting a charge against almost all the accused before the ICT, the Appeals Chamber has deliberately opted for the denial of justice. It has trampled underfoot the principle of presumption of innocence sanctioned by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; it has deliberately violated their right to just and fair trials as guaranteed by the Charter on Civil and Political Rights and by the ICTR statute as well as by all legal systems recognized in the world.

As far as we are concerned, the Appeals Chamber decision is neither more nor less a recognition by your Tribunal that the Prosecutor has failed to prove his thesis of planned genocide which came to constitute a basis for pronouncing systematic heavy sentences against the accused whose trials have ended. It crowns the dilatory strategy of the Prosecutor who will erroneously claim that he has been exempted from providing evidence for the allegations made against those whose trials have been postponed until now because the said Prosecutor was not sure he would prove his case against them. The latter incur a double prejudice because, besides being deprived of getting tried within a reasonable period of time, they are henceforth the object of a treatment different from the one that prevailed upon those accused who have already been tried by the ICTR.

The Appeals Chamber decision instructing Trial Chamber III to take judicial notice of genocide, of the systematic and generalized character of the attacks against Tutsis in Rwanda because of their ethnicity and of the non international character of the war waged against Rwanda by the RPF/NRA coalition with the assistance of certain international powers brings to an end the fruitless investigations undertaken by the Prosecutor since the ICTR was founded. The said investigations were intensified when former ICTR President, Honourable Navanethem Pillay made a commitment in that direction before the Security Council and the UN General Assembly in 2000. She declared then: “According to the Prosecutor, the systematic, generalised and methodical character of the crimes perpetrated all over Rwanda in 1994 implies that there might have been coordination and therefore conspiracy in view of destroying partially or entirely the Tutsi ethnic group as such. That is why the Prosecutor’s Office orientates, as a matter of priority, his investigations towards finding out material evidence that there was indeed conspiracy. He has set up new teams of investigators targeting especially political, military and administrative institutions that existed when genocide was committed. Investigators are busy doing their work in Rwanda, Europe and on the African continent looking for evidence and information leading to the arrest and sentencing of the architects of genocide”.

The Appeal Chamber has come once again to the rescue of the Prosecutor who, contrary to his numerous claims, had failed to come up with evidence to prove his allegations of a planned genocide. The Prosecutor is in the same situation as six years ago when “answering to a question raised by a journalist of the weekly “The East African” that had expressed astonishment to hear the Prosecutor Carla del Ponte complaining about the poor performance of her staff even though she had always won her cases and that all concluded trials had resulted into condemnations, Madam Carla del Ponte had declared without reservation: “That means our Judges are very good Judges because they can correct the error of the Prosecution”.

But the Appeals Chamber has this time gone beyond a mere rescue thus comforting the Prosecutor who will be in apposition to claim that he is exempt from the obligation of proving his theory since genocide, the non international character of the war that ravaged Rwanda since October 1990 and the attacks that Rwanda Tutsi populations were victims of have been excluded from contradictory debates during trial and have simply been adopted as matters of common knowledge for which no proof is required or admissible.

The media campaign that was given to the Appeals Chamber decision by way of an ICTR press release dated 20 th June 2006 confirms, once again, the absence of independence of the ICTR which is literally under the thumb of its financial backers and under the control of the Government of President General Kagame. Like in the year 2000, it is for purely political reasons that the Appeals Chamber has rescinded the 09 November 2005 decision of Trial Chamber III which had made a correct application of article 94 (A) of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence (1).

It is for political reasons that, after having been challenged by President Kagame over the use of one and a half billion (1.500.000.000 U$) american dollars, the ICTR is under the obligation to reassure him that the business that the “genocide” of Rwandan Tutsis has been transformed into will remain untampered with and, if need be, that RPF political and military leaders will enjoy impunity in spite of their implication in the massacre of Hutu populations inside and outside Rwanda as well as in numerous political assassinations including that of Presidents Habyarimana Juvenal and Ntaryamira Cyprien, their delegations and the French crew of the President’s plane.

The signatories to this letter would like to draw your attention to the pertinent content of their letter of 14 th January 2005 that, in their view, contradicts totally the arguments given by the Appeals Chamber Judges in their decision on judicial notice. The detainees had given their opinion in the following terms:

“The detainees would like to stress the fact that, in the opinion of numerous wise observers and experts, eight years after the foundation of the ICTR, genocide has not yet been proven. On 14 th September 1994, presenter Jean Francois Lépine asked General Dallaire a question on a TV programme «Le Point». The question was to know whether, in his opinion, there had been genocide in Rwanda; whether there had been implementation of a plan to exterminate the Tutsi ethnic group in Rwanda. He answered as follows:

“I would say that there was a national genocide, but a genocide of political philosophy, not a purely ethnic genocide. Many Hutus and many Tutsis were killed. I think that the outburst of violence that we saw was beyond something imaginable. But I think that nobody could have planned the scope of the violence “ (2).

Other key persons have expressed their opinions on the Rwanda genocide particularly on its planning. Hence, historian Bernard Lugan writes the following:

“As evidence disappears bit by bit, the assumption of a planned genocide becomes less and less documented” (3)

On 14 th September 2004, Professor Filip Reyntjens, ICTR Expert for the prosecution, challenged the Trial Chamber in the case of Bagosora et al in the following terms:

“I sincerely hope that that this trial is about genocide. Bourgmestres, Businessmen have been arrested and judged and I believe that this Tribunal is judging genocide. I believe that a genocide trial should be the first trial at the ICTR because, before bringing in a Mayor accusing him of genocide, it must first be established that genocide occurred” (4).

Among the arguments given by the Appeals Chamber for deciding on judicial notice are the reports by René Degni Ségui and the judgments of Akayesu, Kayishema & Ruzindana and Musema. The Judges know well that those arguments are fallacious. René Degni Ségui’s reports were essentially political and recommended that more thorough investigations be carried out by the Tribunal whose creation René Degni Ségui was proposing. As for the judgments that the Judges referred to, it must be pointed out they were not the result of a true contradictory debate on the crime of genocide.

The decision by the Appeals Chamber is especially incomprehensible since it goes against all the stands taken by the specialists who have expressed their views on the issue of the Rwanda tragedy. Among them, one can note Expert witnesses for the ICTR Prosecutor namely Filip Reyntjens, Bernard Lugan and André Gichaoua, just to mention a few. The Chamber gives a miss on recent publications regarding the Rwanda tragedy. We shall mention namely those of Charles ONANA, Pierre PÉAN, Jean Pierre FOFE, Thierry CURVILLIER and Abdul RUZIBIZA. It deliberately ignores the confessions one cannot get away from made by high UN Representatives Jacques Roger Booh Booh, Roméo Dallaire, Shaharyar Khan and Ralph Zacklin. It doesn’t give a fig for the recommendations of the “Carlsson Commission” set up by the UN, the recommendations of Eminent Personalities mandated by the OAU and of the recent report by the French Judge Jean-Louis Bruguière. Leaks of the latter’s report were made public in the press. It is pursuing its policy of a two-speed justice depending on whether it is dealing with ICTR cases or cases from the ICTY. We denounced this practice in our letter dated 31 October 2005. By so doing, the Appeals Chamber Judges have abdicated their mission of acting solely on the basis of the law, thus compromising their credibility and that of the Tribunal.

The signatories to this letter denounce wholeheartedly the denial of justice that will result from this incomprehensible decision by the Appeals Chamber on judicial notice of the main charge made against the accused. They consider that the decision deprives the accused of the possibility to defend themselves. They request from their Defence Counsels to start discussions with the officials in charge of the ICTR as soon as possible in order to know whether the Prosecutor is no longer required to provide evidence of his allegations and if the detainees are no longer authorized to defend themselves against some of the allegations put forward against them.

By way of a protest, those signatories whose trials are under way, have decided not to show up in court as long as Counsels will not have gathered all useful information shedding light on the consequences of the Appeals Chamber heavy decision and on what possibilities they are left with to defend their case adequately.

Sincerely yours,

The signatories: see annexed list.

Copy to:

- His Excellency the President of the Security Council, New York.
- His Excellency the UN Secretary General, New York.
- The Appeals Chamber Judges, ICTR (all).
- The Trial Chamber Judges, ICTR (all)
- The ICTR Registrar, Arusha.
- The ICTR Prosecutor, Arusha.
- Defence Counsels (all).
- The ADAD President, Arusha.
- United Nations Council for Human Rights, Geneva.
- International Commission of Jurists, Geneva
- American Association of Jurists.
- International Association of Democratic Jurists, New Delhi.
- African Union, Addis Ababa.
- African Commission for Human Rights, Banjul.
- Centre for Fighting against Impunity and Injustice in Rwanda.
- Amnesty International.
- Human Rights Watch, New York
- DUKOMERE Association, Brussels.
- Action for Impartial International Justice for Rwanda (AJIIR)
- Rwanda Diaspora: Political Parties and Organisations.
- International Centre for Human Rights, Montreal.
- International Crisis Group.
- The Press.

1 Article 94 A of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence stipulates that : « A Trial Chamber shall not require proof of facts of common knowledge but shall take judicial notice thereof”.

2 Robin Philpot. Ça ne s’est pas passé comme ça à Kigali, page 65.

3 Bernard Lugan, Rwanda, le génocide, l’Eglise et la démocratie, page 189.

4 In his letter dated 11 January 2005, Filip Reyntjens withdrew his collaboration with the ICTR Prosecutor because of the Prosecutor’s persistent refusal to prosecute recognized RPF criminals.

[version française]

Les Détenus du Tribunal Pénal 25 juin 2oo6
International pour le Rwanda (TPIR)

Monsieur le Président du Tribunal Pénal International pour le Rwanda à Arusha.

Monsieur le Président de la Chambre d'Appel du TPIR à La Haye

Objet: Réaction à la décision de la Chambre d'Appel du 16/0612006 et au Communiqué du TPIR du 20/06/2006.

Monsieur le Président.

Les détenus signataires de la présente ont le regret de porter à votre attention qu'ils sont profondément choqués par la décision prise par la Chambre d'Appel, le l6 juin 2006, dans l'affaire le Procureur contre Karemera et al (ICTR-98-44-T) et son exploitation médiatique par le TPIR. Ils entendent dénoncer fermement la manipulation pour des visées politiciennes évidentes à laquelle s'est livré le Service d'information et de presse du Tribunal. Ils trouvent injuste et inopportunité cette décision qui fait fi de leur droit à la présomption d'innocence et à des procès justes et équitables.

Les signataires de la présente estiment qu'en dressant le constat judiciaire du , pourtant retenu comme chef d'accusation contre la quasi-totalité des accusés du TPIR, la Chambre d'Appel s'est inscrite dans la ligne rouge du déni de justice. Elle a foulé au pied le principe de la présomption d'innocence consacrée par la Déclaration Universelle des Droits de l'Homme, a violé délibérément leur droit à des procès justes et équitables tels que garantis par la Charte sur les droits civils et politiques et le Statut du TPIR, ainsi que par tous les systèmes de droit reconnus dans le monde.

Pour nous, la décision de la Chambre d'Appel est, ni plus ni moins, une reconnaissance par votre Tribunal de l'incapacité du Procureur d'administrer la preuve de la thèse du génocide planifié sur la base de laquelle des condamnations systématiques à de lourdes peines ont été prononcées contre les accusés dont les procès sont terminés. Elle couronne la stratégie dilatoire du Procureur qui ne manquera pas de prétendre, erronément, qu'il a été dispensé d'apporter la preuve des accusations portées contre ceux des accusés dont les procès ont été différés jusqu'ici parce que le Procureur n'était pas sûr de son dossier contre eux. Ceux-ci subissent ainsi un double préjudice dans la mesure où, outre le fait qu'ils ont été privés de procès dans des délais raisonnables, ils sont désormais soumis à un traitement différent par rapport aux autres accusés déjà jugés par le Tribunal.

La décision de la Chambre d'Appel faisant injonction à la Chambre de Première Instance III de dresser le constat judiciaire du génocide, du caractère systématique et généralisé des attaques contre les Tutsis rwandais en raison de leur appartenance ethnique et du caractère non international de la guerre d'agression menée contre le Rwanda par la coalition FPR/NRA assistée par certaines puissances met fin à des recherches infructueuses entreprises par le Procureur dès la création du Tribunal, mais plus intensivement depuis l'engagement souscrit par la Présidente du TPIR, Navanethem Pillay, devant le Conseil de Sécurité et l'Assemblée Générale des Nations Unies en l'an 2000. Elle s'était alors exprimée en ces termes :

< De l'avis du Procureur, le caractère systématique, généralisé et méthodique des crimes qui ont été perpétrés sur toute l'étendue du territoire rwandais en 1994 implique qu'il a pu y avoir coordination et donc entente en vue de détruire en tout ou en partie le groupe tutsi comme tel. C'est pourquoi, le bureau du Procureur donne par priorité aux enquêtes une orientation susceptible d'apporter la preuve matérielle qu'il y a eu entente. Il a constitué de nouvelles équipes d'enquêteurs ciblant particulièrement les institutions politiques, militaires et administratives qui étaient en place au moment du génocide. Des enquêteurs sillonnent le Rwanda, l'Europe et le continent africain à la recherche d'éléments de preuves et de renseignements qui permettent de faire arrêter et condamner les architectes du génocide>

La Chambre d'Appel vient une fois de plus de voler à la rescousse du Procureur qui, contrairement à ses prétentions maintes fois avancées, ne parvenait pas à apporter les éléments de preuve pour soutenir les allégations de planification du génocide imputées aux accusés. Le Procureur se retrouve aujourd'hui dans la même situation qu'il y a six ans lorsque, répondant à un journaliste de l'hebdomadaire < East African> qui avait marqué son étonnement d'entendre Madame le Procureur se plaindre des prestations de ses collaborateurs alors qu'ils ont toujours eu gain de cause et que toutes les affaires jugées ont abouti à des condamnations, Madame Carla Del Ponte avait déclaré sans réserve :


Mais cette fois-ci, la Chambre d'Appel est allée au-delà d'un simple secours pour conforter le Procureur qui pourra prétendre qu'il a été exonéré de l'obligation de prouver sa thèse car, le génocide, le caractère non international du conflit qui a ravagé le Rwanda depuis octobre 1990 et les attaques dont ont été victimes les populations rwandaises d'ethnie tutsi sont exclues du débat contradictoire au cours des procès et adoptés comme des faits de notoriété publique pour lesquels aucune preuve n'est plus requise ni admissible.

La médiatisation de cette décision de la Chambre d'Appel par le communiqué de presse du 20 juin 2006 confirme, une fois de plus, l'absence d'indépendance du TPIR qui est littéralement sous la coupe de certaines puissances qui financent ses activités et sous le contrôle du Gouvernement du général Président Paul Kagame. Comme en l'an 2000, ce sont des raisons purement politiques qui viennent de pousser la Chambre d'Appel à annuler la décision de la Chambre de Première Instance III du 9 novembre 2005 qui faisait une bonne application de l'article 94 (A) du Règlement de Procédure et de Preuve (1).

C'est toujours pour des raisons politiques qu'après avoir été mis en cause par le Président Paul Kagame qui lui reproche d'avoir englouti un milliard et demi de dollars américains (1.500.000.000 $), le TPIR est obligé de le rassurer sur l'intangibilité du scandaleux fonds de commerce qu'est devenu le des Tutsis rwandais et, accessoirement, sur l'impunité des dirigeants et des militaires du FPR malgré leur implication dans le massacre des populations Hutu à l'intérieur et à l'extérieur du Rwanda ainsi que dans de nombreux assassinats politiques dont celui des Présidents Habyarimana Juvénal et Ntaryamira Cyprien, leurs suites et les français membres de l'équipage de l'avion présidentiel.

Les signataires de la présente voudraient rappeler à votre particulière attention les éléments pertinents repris dans leur lettre du l4 janvier 2005 qui, selon eux, contredisent sur tous les points, les arguments avancés par les Juges d'appel pour dresser le constat judiciaire du génocide. Ils s'étaient alors exprimés en ces termes :

< Les détenus voudraient encore insister sur le fait que, de l'avis de plusieurs observateurs avisés et des experts, huit ans après la mise en place du TPIR, ce génocide n'est pas encore prouvé. Ainsi le 14 septembre 1994, le Général Dallaire répondant à une question, lors de l'émission < Le Point>, animé par Jean François Lépine, de savoir si selon lui, il y a eu génocide au Rwanda, c'est-à-dire l'exécution d'un plan pour éliminer l'ethnie tutsi du Rwanda, s'est exprimé en ces termes :

< Moi je dirais qu'il y a eu un génocide national, mais un génocide de philosophie politique, non pas purement ethnique. Beaucoup de Hutu, comme beaucoup de Tutsi ont été tués. Je pense que le débordement qu'on u vu a été au-delà de pouvoir être conçu. Mais je pense, personne n'aurait pu planifier l'ampleur du débordement >(2).

D'autres personnalités ont exprimé leur avis sur le génocide rwandais, particulièrement sur sa planification. Ainsi l'historien Bernard Lugan écrit ce qui suit :

< Au fur et à mesure que s'envolent les < preuves >, le postulat du complot génocidaire programmé devient de moins en moins documenté> >(3).

Le 14 septembre 2004, le professeur Filip Reyntjens, expert du Procureur du TPIR, dans sa déposition devant le Tribunal, dans l'affaire Bagosora et alia, a déclaré en interpellant la Chambre en ces termes :

< J'espère sincèrement qu'il s'agit du procès de génocide. On a jugé, on poursuivit des bourgmestres, des hommes d'affaires, des commerçants et je crois que ce tribunal est en train de juger le génocide. Je crois que cela devrait être le premier procès du TPIR, parce que, avant d'appéter le maire ici pour l'accuser de génocide, il faut d'abord établir que le génocide a eu lieu.>(4)

Parmi les arguments brandis par la Chambre d'Appel pour dresser le constat judiciaire du génocide figurent les Rapports présentés par René Degni Ségui ainsi que les jugements intervenus dans les affaires AKAYESU, KAYISHEMA & RUZINDANA et MUSEMA. Les Juges savent bien que ces arguments sont fallacieux. Les Rapports de René Degni Ségui étaient essentiellement politiques et recommandaient des enquêtes judiciaires plus poussées à mener par le Tribunal dont le Rapporteur spécial René Degni Ségui proposait la mise en place. Quant aux jugements dans les affaires citées, il convient de relever qu'ils sont intervenus sans qu'il y ait eu un véritable débat contradictoire sur le crime de génocide.

La décision de la Chambre d'Appel est d'autant plus incompréhensible qu'elle va à I'encontre des positions actuellement soutenues par les spécialistes qui se sont exprimés sur le dossier de la tragédie rwandaise, parmi lesquels figurent des témoins experts du Procureur dont, notamment, Filip REYNTJENS, Bernard LUGAN et André GUICHAOUA pour ne citer que ces quelques cas. Elle fait l'impasse sur les récentes publications sur la tragédie rwandaise dont, notamment, celles de Charles ONANA, Pierre PEAN, Jean Pierre FOFE, Thierry CRUVELLIER et Abdul RUZIBIZA. Elle ignore délibérément les aveux incontournables des hauts représentants de l'ONU, Jacques Roger BOOH BOOH, Roméo DALLAIRE, Shaharyar KHAN et Ralph ZACKLIN. Elle fait fi des recommandations de la créée par l'ONU, de celles des Eminentes personnalités mandatées par l'OUA et du Rapport récemment déposé par le Juge français Jean-Louis Bruguière dont des fuites ont été faites dans la presse. Elle s'inscrit dans la ligne de la justice à deux vitesses pratiquée par la Chambre d'Appel selon qu'elle est saisie des dossiers des accusés du TPIR ou du TPIY, eus nous avons dénoncé dans notre lettre du 31 Octobre 2005. En agissant ainsi, les juges d'appel viennent d'abdiquer de leur mission de dire le droit, compromettant ainsi leur crédibilité et celle de votre Tribunal.

Les signataires de la présente dénoncent avec la dernière énergie le déni de justice consécutif à cette décision incompréhensible de la Chambre d'Appel, de dresser le constat judiciaire du principal chef d'accusation porté contre eux. Ils estiment que cette décision prive les accusés de la possibilité de se défendre. Ils demandent à leurs avocats de commencer les discussions le plus rapidement possible avec les responsables du TPIR pour savoir si le Procureur ne doit plus fournir la preuve de ses accusations et si les prévenus ne sont plus autorisés à se défendre sur certaines des allégations portées contre eux.

En guise de protestation, ceux qui sont parmi les signataires dont les procès sont en cours ont décidé de ne pas se présenter aux audiences tant que leurs avocats n'auront pas recueilli toutes les informations utiles pour les éclairer sur les conséquences de cette grave décision et les possibilités qui leur restent de présenter adéquatement leurs causes.

Veuillez agréer, Monsieur le Président, l'expression de notre haute considération

Les signataires : Voir la liste en annexe.

Copie pour information à :

-Son Excellence Monsieur le Président du Conseil de Sécurité, New York
-Son Excellence Monsieur le Secrétaire Général de l'ONU, New York.
-Messieurs les Juges de la Chambre d'Appel du TPIR (Tous)
-Messieurs Les Juges des Chambres de Première Instance du TPIR (Tous)
-Monsieur le Greffier du TPIR à Arusha
-Monsieur le Procureur du TPIR à Arusha
-Mesdames et Messieurs les Avocats de la Défense (Tous)
-Monsieur le Président de l'ADAD à Arusha
-Conseil des Nations Unies pour les Droits de l'Homme à Genève
-Commission Internationale des Juristes à Genève
-Association Américaine des Juristes
-Association Internationale des Juristes Démocrates, New Delhi
-Union Africaine, Addis Abéba
-Commission Africaine des Droits de l'Homme- Banjul
-Centre de Lutte conte l'Impunité et l'Injustice au Rwanda, à Bruxelles
-Amnesty International
-Human Rights Watch, New York
-Association DUKOMERE, à Bruxelles
-Action pour une Justice Internationale Impartiale pour le Rwanda (AJIIR)
-Diaspora rwandaise : Partis politiques et Organisations
-Centre International des Droits de l'Homme à Montréal International Cris Group.
-La Presse


1 L'article 94 A du Règlement de procédure et de preuve stipule que :
< La Chambre de première instance n'exige pas la preuve de ce qui est de notoriété publique, mais en dresse un constat judiciaire >.

2 Robin Philipot, Ça ne s'est pas passé comme ça à Kigali. page 65.

3 Bernard Lugan, Rwanda. Le génocide. l'Église et la démocratie, page 189.

4 Dans sa lettre datée du 11 janvier 2005, Filip Reyntjens a retiré sa collaboration au Procureur du TPIR, à cause de son refus persistant de poursuivre les criminels avérés dans les rangs du FPR.


Rescue Is Needed Now

['Civil war' appears not to be enough for the Israeli juggernaut. Neither in Iraq nor in the occupied territories.

Hamas' ascension to the leadership of the P A served as a great excuse to withhold the necessities of life for the innocent civilians in Israeli-abandonned and thoroughly despoiled Gaza and the rest of Palestine. This so-called terrorist organization, Hamas, created by Israeli military intelligence as a sectarian weapon against the secular PLO, was almost all the Zionists needed to destablize the Abbas government out of any meaningful peace talks.

But as rapproachment between the two factions contending for control of the Palestine government seemed to be at hand with the acceptance of the 'Palestinian prisoners' plan' on a two-state solution within the pre-1967 borders and its implicit recognition of 'Israel's right to exist' (the quotes are there because only the most frothing Negationists continue to ascribe to the Palestinians this refusal of Israel's right to exist [though perhaps not in its current manifestation as a militaro-fascoid, racist atomically-armed settler state], a right recognized by Anwar Sadat as early as 1978)--just as peace was on the verge of being once again discussed, and at the end of a month that saw the unrequited murders of 52 Palestinian civilians by the IDF, a band of militants, representing whomever the media and their Israeli minders say they represent, from Hamas to al Qaeda to Allah b Seeing u, kills some brave Israeli soldiers, a couple settlers (what's the dif, right?) and kidnaps a young soldier. To hear them talk, Israel has started enlisting children, like some of their African arms clients.

But all along the Israeli militarists have had their hands on literally thousands of Palestinian hostages, including women and children, in their secret (and not so secret) prisons, as well as on the water spigot for the entire region. 40 dams on the Blue Nile in Eithiopia, even more on the White Nile through Sudan and Egypt, all this water passing through the 'Peace Canals' running under the Suez that Sadat set up for his good Zionist neighbors way back when he was still breathing in and out, and, like the Jordon River water from Syria's Golan Heights, all this liquid gold is controlled by the plucky little theocracy that no one dares call aggressively rascist and openly fascist.

Well, here are a couple pieces that we got from CM/Poland, that is, from my learnèd colleague and sports maniac, John Steppling in Lodz. They make a lot of sense. If Europe is going to back up a Jewish homeland in the ME, why not a Palestinian homeland in Europe. France has a pretty good start on that. Oh, I know it's not liberty and justice for all. But when was the last time you saw that tandem in today's world that it was soaked through with the blood of innocents? --mc]


Rescue Is Needed Now

On Wednesday, Israeli war planes repeatedly bombed and utterly demolished Gaza's only power plant. About 700,000 of Gaza's 1.3 million people now have no electricity, and word is that power cannot be restored for six months.

It is not the immediate human conditions created by this strike that are monumental. Those conditions are, of course, bad enough. No lights, no refrigerators, no fans through the suffocating Gaza summer heat. No going outside for air, due to ongoing bombing and Israel's impending military assault. In the hot darkness, massive explosions shake the cities, close and far, while repeated sonic booms are doubtless wreaking the havoc they have wrought before: smashing windows, sending children screaming into the arms of terrified adults, old people collapsing with heart failure, pregnant women collapsing with spontaneous abortions. Mass terror, despair, desperate hoarding of food and water. And no radios, television, cell phones, or laptops (for the few who have them), and so no way to get news of how long this nightmare might go on.

But this time, the situation is worse than that. As food in the refrigerators spoils, the only remaining food is grains. Most people cook with gas, but with the borders sealed, soon there will be no gas. When family-kitchen propane tanks run out, there will be no cooking. No cooked lentils or beans, no humus, no bread the staples Palestinian foods, the only food for the poor. (And there is no firewood or coal in dry, overcrowded Gaza.)

And yet, even all this misery is overshadowed by a grimmer fact: no water. Gaza's public water supply is pumped by electricity. The taps, too, are dry. No sewage system. And again, word is that the electricity is out for at least six months.

The Gaza aquifer is already contaminated with sea water and sewage, due to over-pumping (partly by those now-abandoned Israeli settlements) and the grossly inadequate sewage system. To be drinkable, well water is purified through machinery run by electricity. Otherwise, the brackish water must at least be boiled before it can be consumed, but this requires electricity or gas. And people will soon have neither.

Drinking unpurified water means sickness, even cholera. If cholera breaks out, it will spread like wildfire in a population so densely packed and lacking fuel or water for sanitation. And the hospitals and clinics aren't functioning, either, because there is no electricity.

Finally, people can't leave. None of the neighboring countries have resources to absorb a million desperate and impoverished refugees: logistically and politically, the flood would entirely destabilize Egypt, for example. But Palestinians in Gaza can't seek sanctuary with their relatives in the West Bank, either, because they can't get out of Gaza to get there. They can't even go over the border into Egypt and around through Jordan, because Israel will no longer allow people with Gaza identification cards to enter the West Bank. In any case, a cordon of Palestinian police are blocking people from trying to scramble over the Egyptian border--and war refugees have tried, through a hole blown open by militants, clutching packages and children.

In short, over a million civilians are now trapped, hunkered in their homes listening to Israeli shells, while facing the awful prospect, within days or weeks, of having to give toxic water to their children that may consign them to quick but agonizing deaths.

Europe has to open its borders to Palestinians who want to leave Gaza for our rich countries. Europeans have to pay for the voyage and resettlement here in our rich countries. We can't leave people to be fenced in to the ghetto to die there by the hundreds of thousands. Asylum seekers in Europe have been stressing this impending mass murder since the pullout from Gaza was announced. Too many Europeans demand Palestinians stay and fight 'to the last man', assume that duty as the given of the situation. The Israeli regime is openly genocidal. It's not for Europeans to force sacrifice for homeland on other people. It's not our decision to make for others. It is necessary to make demands now of our governments, and to use the impolite language which reminds us discommodiously that these kinds of crimes are not fantasies from comic books or aberrations or anachronisms but a theme in our history which repeats frequently. We can rescue Palestinians; we can afford it; we have the money and the means, it is only a question of willingness to face what is happening and to make demands of our own governments. We don't have to beg the Israelis and the White House and American taxpayers for mercy; Europeans have to make our own arrangements with Palestinians. Any European who objects on the grounds that this will only make Israel's ethnic cleansing project easier, and will put a great big smile on Zionist faces, is welcome to go and take the place of a Gaza resident who wants to get out and survive.

Dr. Mutapha Barghouthi speaking from Gaza explained that:

Israel’s destruction of Gaza’s only electrical power station has left 80 percent of Strip without electricity. A water plant was also bombed by Israel today in the southern city of Rafah.

As a result, water supplies and the sewage system have been critically affected in that they depend entirely on electricity to power water and sewage pumps.

The electricity, water and sewage systems in the Gaza Strip are now currently depending on insufficient local generators to remain partially functional, yet Israel’s closure of Gaza’s borders has meant that there is only enough fuel to last a further 4 days.

Once this fuel runs out, the population of Gaza faces a severe humanitarian disaster, exacerbated by high summer temperatures and overcrowded living conditions. Gaza will find itself without potable water and literally sinking in sewage, which would lead to a severe public health disaster.

In addition, 300,000 of Gaza’s 1.4 million inhabitants live in high-rise apartment buildings which do not have the necessary generators to pump water up, and are therefore completely without water supplies.

The dependence on generators also has negative environmental implications as they produce high levels of pollution.

Dr. Barghouthi appealed to the international community to urgently call on Israel to end its bombardment, to stop the targeting of civilian infrastructure, and to allow for immediate repairs to begin on Gaza’s electricity plant.

He also urged the international community to intervene in order to ensure the immediate supply of fuel, food, and other essential items to the Gaza Strip in order to avert an imminent humanitarian and public health catastrophe.


Cuba condemns Israeli military aggression in the Gaza Strip
Havana, June 29, 2006

THE Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba, has learnt
with great concern of Israel's large-scale military operation that
began in the Gaza Strip in the early hours of June 28, 2006 with the
mobilization of around 5,000 soldiers, hundreds of tanks and other
military hardware, during which it attacked the principal electricity
station in the area, leaving half of the territory without
electricity, indiscriminately bombarded several bridges connecting
different parts of the Strip, reoccupied important southern portions
of Palestinian territory, and detained many high-ranking figures from
the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian Legislative Council.

Palestinian children, once again the victims of Israeli aggression.

Israel has used the capture of an Israeli soldier by the Palestinian
occupation resistance as an excuse to launch its barbaric aggression,
ignoring the fact that the Israeli army has killed 52 Palestinians
just in the current month of June, according to recognized
international organizations.

This inhumane and criminal aggression took place just when an
agreement had been reached among the Palestinian political forces,
which is contributing to the renewal of peace talks between the
Palestinians and Israelis, in line with the relevant resolutions of
the UN General Assembly and the Security Council.

At the same time, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of
Cuba rejects the violation of the Arab Republic of Syria's airspace
by Israeli military aircraft which, together with the barbaric
actions in the Gaza Strip, once again exposes the Middle East to a
dangerous escalation of violence that is putting international peace
and security at risk.

As in the past, Israel is acting with the arrogance and impunity
afforded it both by U.S. economic and military support and its
permanent veto on the UN Security Council.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba wishes to
express its most vigorous condemnation of the barbaric Israeli
military aggression against the Gaza Strip and calls on the
international community and peace-loving forces to mobilize in demand
of the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Israeli troops from
the Gaza Strip; a cession of Israeli state terrorism; and respect for
the inalienable human rights of the Palestinian people, including the
establishment of an independent, sovereign state with its capital in
East Jerusalem, the return of refugees, and the unconditional return
of all Arab territories occupied in June 1967, as the only way of
reaching a just and lasting peace for all the people of that
convulsive region.