Monday, October 16, 2006

SENSE news articles

The latest updates from the Hague tribunal.

HARADINAJ TRIAL TO START IN FEBRUARY OR MARCH 2007 Trial of KLA leaders accused of war crimes and abuses committed against Serb civilians.

DOMAGOJ MARGETIC: NOT GUILTYTrial of Croatian journalist charged with contempt of court for publishing the names of protected witnesses.

ZELENOVIC DOESN’T WANT TO BE TRIED BEFORE A BH COURT Zelenovic is charged with rape & torture in Foca in 1992.

The testimony of a British journalist testifying in the case against 6 Serb policemen in Kosovo.


Owen said...

Good man, Sweeney. He provided filmed evidence that what was going on in Kosovo was vicious and planned and of course certain people chose then still and continue to choose to ignpore it.

Srebrenica Massacre said...

Zelenovic should be hanged for rape of girls and women.

Rape is worse than murder.

He is guilty, he knows it.

Anonymous said...

These days with AIDS I think rape ought to have the death penalty. Rape becomes a death sentence if the woman gets AIDS and it is social death in so many societies, and even when it isn't social death, it's a memory that never goes away. I have thank God never been raped, but I have had at least six friends who were and it takes a long time to just get to where it doesn't affect every single moment of the victim's life. No one I know that got raped has ever been the same and for them it usually was only one man.
Think what it does to women and girls who are the victims of gang rape!
Then there's all the physical consequences.

Owen said...

Shaina, I was following up the sad picture of the woman who hanged herself that appeared in the Guardian after the fall of Srebrenica as well as in a lot of the rest of the World media. It turned out not to be the picture of the 14-year-old girl Fata Smailovic who committed suicde at Potocari after being raped along with her 12 year old cousin by Serb soldiers.

Instead it was a woman Ferida Osmanovic who hanged herself outside the refugee camp in Tuzla after having been forcibly separated from her husband Selman at Potocari. Just as grim, but a different story.

In the course of these investigations I came across an article by Lorna Martin of the Observer at the Guardian Online site in which she reviewed the story of the photograph and the impact of Ferida Osmanovic's death on her chidren who had escaped with her. That's at,,1461800,00.html

The article ends with the account by Darko Brandic, a Croatian photographer, of how he came to take the photograph. He seems to be a brave and honourable man - his website includes a group of the pictures he took at the Tuzla refugee camp of the women who had just arrived from Srebrenica with their children.

That's at

The starting point was the inclusion of the photograph at a very interesting website set up by Anne Nelson who runs a graduate journalism course at Columbia University. Her students created the website "The Rohde to Sarajevo" to provide an account of the bravery and journalistic acumen of David Rohde in finding his way to Srebrenica to confirm the story, as a case study but also as a very worthy enterprise in its own right. You might find it worth going to have a look -

But the starting point for all this was the awful crime that killed Fata Smailovic. Mladic and Karadzic and all those noble souls who supported and continue to support and shelter them are all responsible for the vile crimes described in the Equality Now report at

Shaina said...

Owen, thanks for the links & your research. I haven't had time to look at it yet, but I hope to do so later on today.

I *believe* that in the States. (although I'm not sure if it is a law in all 50 states) if you know you have AIDS and have sex with someone without telling them your status, you can be charged with murder (note: I'm not sure if it is 1st degree murder, 2nd Degree, manslaughter or what).
Although not the exact same situation of getting AIDS after being raped, there was one case in the U.S. fairly recently of a father who purposely gave his then infant son AIDS tainted blood in hopes that the baby would die so he would not have to pay child support. He was convicted of 1st degree assult and sentenced to life in prison. If the child dies, he could be charged with murder.
That case has got to be the most disgusting and reprehensible crime I have ever heard of; 1st of all, trying to kill your own baby. 2nd, giving your child AIDS and subjecting him to a long and painful death.
The case is probably one of the most infamous "AIDS murder/assult" cases.
AIDS is a deadly weapon, just as surely as a knife, gun can be.
If someone knows they have AIDS and has sex with another person; or in the case of that "father"-if a person purposely infects someone with the HIV virus than they should be charged with assult, murder or whatever the case might be.
As it has already been pointed out, even before the very serious and often deadly risk of AIDS, rape has disaterous physical, emotional and social impacts as well.

One of the ICTY's biggest accomplishments in my opinion is that how they dealt with rape and other crimes against (primarily) women in the absolutely serious way that it should be dealt with. I believe that organized mass rape (as was done in Bosnia) is certainly a form of genocide. Especially when you look at the fact that pregancy was an expressed goal of the assults.
But, I'm not a legal expert by any means.

The ICTR agrees with me though that mass rape can be considered of genocide, the first genocide ruling handed down by that court was the mayor of the Taba commune charged with crimes related to rape. The prosecutor, Pierre Prosper, argued that rape was a form of destruction that meets the criteria for genocide.
(If I find more exact information on Prosper's arguement, I'll post it).

The book: "The Key To My Neighbor's House" looks at both Srebrenica, and the case of the Taba Commune. Two examples of genocides on two different continents in the mid 1990s.

Owen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Owen said...

Shaina, here's the Akayesu judgment -

haven't the time at the moment to pull out the details of Prosper's argument, will come back to it.

AIDS was certainly a tool of genocide in Rwanda.

(Had to delete the first posting - I'd spelt "here" "hear" - the shame of it!)

Shaina said...

Owen, I haven't looked at the judgement-but the book "A Problem From Hell" gives a very brief outline of Prosper's argument.

Pg 486:

"Propser believed that a group could physically exist, or escape extermination, but be left so marginalized or so irrelevant to society that it was, in fact, destroyed."

Pg 485:
"Downplaying the letter of the genocide convention, Prosper returned to its spirit.


Prosper echoed Lemkin when he insisted, "Complete annihilation, or intended annihilation of a group need not occur."

Prosper also argued that the genocide convention was not a rigid document, but instead an elastic, living breathing document, and it was important to interpret the convention broadly.

If he hasn't already, I hope Prosper writes a book about his experiences as a prosecutor for the ICTR and about how he developed and formated his legal argument.
It really is a landmark moment in legal history; not only was it the first genocide convention but an international tribunal; but the legacy of the ruling: that "destroy" does not necessarily means annihilation has had a tremendous impact in how genocide is percieved by the courts and legal scholars. Along with many other cases, the kristic judgement cited the Taba Commune case in their verdict.
I think we've come along way in our understanding of what 'genocide' is. I doubt if the same case was to take place 30 years ago, an international court would delegate gang rape, and sexual slavery to be a form of genocide.

Owen said...

The court is clear that Akeyasu was guilty of genocide, in particular through his role in aiding and abetting the commission of acts including rape (sorry, no paragraph numbering). Akeyasu is found guilty in relation to the physical and psychological destruction of Tutsi women, their families and their communities with sexual violence forming an integral part of the process of destruction, specifically targeting Tutsi women and specifically contributing to their destruction and to the destruction of the Tutsi group as a whole. I have not included the court's discussion of what constitutes rape.

(Warning - some unpleasant stuff below)

According to the Indictment:

12A. Between April 7 and the end of June, 1994, hundreds of civilians (hereinafter "displaced civilians") sought refuge at the bureau communal. The majority of these displaced civilians were Tutsi. While seeking refuge at the bureau communal, female displaced civilians were regularly taken by armed local militia and/or communal police and subjected to sexual violence, and/or beaten on or near the bureau communal premises. Displaced civilians were also murdered frequently on or near the bureau communal premises. Many women were forced to endure multiple acts of sexual violence which were at times committed by more than one assailant. These acts of sexual violence were generally accompanied by explicit threats of death or bodily harm. The female displaced civilians lived in constant fear and their physical and psychological health deteriorated as a result of the sexual violence and beatings and killings.

12B. Jean Paul AKAYESU knew that the acts of sexual violence, beatings and murders were being committed and was at times present during their commission. Jean Paul AKAYESU facilitated the commission of the sexual violence, beatings and murders by allowing the sexual violence and beatings and murders to occur on or near the bureau communal premises. By virtue of his presence during the commission of the sexual violence, beatings and murders and by failing to prevent the sexual violence, beatings and murders, Jean Paul AKAYESU encouraged these activities.


[Akeyasu ] had reason to know and in fact knew that acts of sexual violence were occurring on or near the premises of the bureau communal and that he took no measures to prevent these acts or punish the perpetrators of them. ... by his own words, specifically ordered, instigated, aided and abetted ... acts of sexual violence [including multiple acts of rape and other acts of sexual violence] ... aided and abetted ... acts of sexual violence, by allowing them to take place on or near the premises of the bureau communal, while he was present on the premises ... and in his presence ... , and by facilitating the commission of these acts through his words of encouragement in other acts of sexual violence, which, by virtue of his authority, sent a clear signal of official tolerance for sexual violence, without which these acts would not have taken place ...

[A] widespread and systematic attack against the civilian ethnic population of Tutsis took place in Taba, and more generally in Rwanda, between April 7 and the end of June, 1994. The Tribunal finds that the rape and other inhumane acts which took place on or near the bureau communal premises of Taba were committed as part of this attack. ...

7.8. Count 1 - Genocide, Count 2 - Complicity in Genocide

[T]he Chamber finds that, ... at the time of the alleged events, the Tutsi did indeed constitute a stable and permanent group and were identified as such by all. ... [T]he Chamber is satisfied beyond reasonable doubt, based on the factual findings it has rendered regarding each of the events described in paragraphs 12 to 23 of the Indictment, of the following:

The Chamber finds that, as pertains to the acts alleged in paragraph 12, it has been established that, throughout the period covered in the Indictment, Akayesu, in his capacity as bourgmestre, was responsible for maintaining law and public order in the commune of Taba and that he had effective authority over the communal police. Moreover, as "leader" of Taba commune, of which he was one of the most prominent figures, the inhabitants respected him and followed his orders. Akayesu himself admitted before the Chamber that he had the power to assemble the population and that they obeyed his instructions. It has also been proven that a very large number of Tutsi were killed in Taba between 7 April and the end of June 1994, while Akayesu was bourgmestre of the Commune. Knowing of such killings, he opposed them and attempted to prevent them only until 18 April 1994, date after which he not only stopped trying to maintain law and order in his commune, but was also present during the acts of violence and killings, and sometimes even gave orders himself for bodily or mental harm to be caused to certain Tutsi, and endorsed and even ordered the killing of several Tutsi. In the opinion of the Chamber, the said acts indeed incur the individual criminal responsibility of Akayesu for having ordered, committed, or otherwise aided and abetted in the preparation or execution of the killing of and causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the Tutsi group. Indeed, the Chamber holds that the fact that Akayesu, as a local authority, failed to oppose such killings and serious bodily or mental harm constituted a form of tacit encouragement, which was compounded by being present to such criminal acts. With regard to the acts alleged in paragraphs 12 (A) and 12 (B) of the Indictment, the Prosecutor has shown beyond a reasonable doubt that between 7 April and the end of June 1994, numerous Tutsi who sought refuge at the Taba Bureau communal were frequently beaten by members of the Interahamwe on or near the premises of the Bureau communal. Some of them were killed. Numerous Tutsi women were forced to endure acts of sexual violence, mutilations and rape, often repeatedly, often publicly and often by more than one assailant. Tutsi women were systematically raped, as one female victim testified to by saying that "each time that you met assailants, they raped you". Numerous incidents of such rape and sexual violence against Tutsi women occurred inside or near the Bureau communal. It has been proven that some communal policemen armed with guns and the accused himself were present while some of these rapes and sexual violence were being committed. Furthermore, it is proven that on several occasions, by his presence, his attitude and his utterances, Akayesu encouraged such acts, one particular witness testifying that Akayesu, addressed the Interahamwe who were committing the rapes and said that "never ask me again what a Tutsi woman tastes like" "Ntihazagire umbaza uko umututsikazi yari ameze, ngo kandi mumenye ko ejo ngo nibabica nta kintu muzambaza.". In the opinion of the Chamber, this constitutes tacit encouragement to the rapes that were being committed.In the opinion of the Chamber, the above-mentioned acts with which Akayesu is charged indeed render him individually criminally responsible for having abetted in the preparation or execution of the killings of members of the Tutsi group and the infliction of serious bodily and mental harm on members of said group. ... ... Since the Prosecutor charged both genocide and complicity in genocide with respect to each of the above-mentioned acts, and since, as indicated supra, the Chamber is of the opinion that these charges are mutually exclusive, it must rule whether each of such acts constitutes genocide or complicity in genocide.In this connection, the Chamber recalls that, in its findings on the applicable law, it held that an accused is an accomplice to genocide if he or she knowingly and wilfully aided or abetted or instigated another to commit a crime of genocide, while being aware of his genocidal plan, even where the accused had no specific intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such. It also found that Article 6(1) of the Statute provides for a form of participation through aiding and abetting which, though akin to the factual elements of complicity, nevertheless entails, in and of itself, the individual responsibility of the accused for the crime of genocide, in particular, where the accused had the specific intent to commit genocide, that is, the intent to destroy a particular group; this latter requirement is not needed where an accomplice to genocide is concerned. ... [R]egarding Akayesu's acts and utterances during the period relating to the acts alleged in the Indictment, the Chamber is satisfied beyond reasonable doubt, on the basis of all evidence brought to its attention during the trial, that on several occasions the accused made speeches calling, more or less explicitly, for the commission of genocide. The Chamber, in particular, held in its findings on Count 4, that the accused incurred individual criminal responsibility for the crime of direct and public incitement to commit genocide. Yet, according to the Chamber, the crime of direct and public incitement to commit genocide lies in the intent to directly lead or provoke another to commit genocide, which implies that he who incites to commit genocide also has the specific intent to commit genocide: that is, to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such. Furthermore, the Chamber has already established that genocide was committed against the Tutsi group in Rwanda in 1994, throughout the period covering the events alleged in the Indictment .... Owing to the very high number of atrocities committed against the Tutsi, their widespread nature not only in the commune of Taba, but also throughout Rwanda, and to the fact that the victims were systematically and deliberately selected because they belonged to the Tutsi group, with persons belonging to other groups being excluded, the Chamber is also able to infer, beyond reasonable doubt, the genocidal intent of the accused in the commission of the above-mentioned crimes.

With regard, particularly, to the acts described in paragraphs 12(A) and 12(B) of the Indictment, that is, rape and sexual violence, the Chamber wishes to underscore the fact that in its opinion, they constitute genocide in the same way as any other act as long as they were committed with the specific intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a particular group, targeted as such. Indeed, rape and sexual violence certainly constitute infliction of serious bodily and mental harm on the victims ... and are even, according to the Chamber, one of the worst ways of inflict harm on the victim as he or she suffers both bodily and mental harm. In light of all the evidence before it, the Chamber is satisfied that the acts of rape and sexual violence described above, were committed solely against Tutsi women, many of whom were subjected to the worst public humiliation, mutilated, and raped several times, often in public, in the Bureau Communal premises or in other public places, and often by more than one assailant. These rapes resulted in physical and psychological destruction of Tutsi women, their families and their communities. Sexual violence was an integral part of the process of destruction, specifically targeting Tutsi women and specifically contributing to their destruction and to the destruction of the Tutsi group as a whole. The rape of Tutsi women was systematic and was perpetrated against all Tutsi women and solely against them. A Tutsi woman, married to a Hutu, testified before the Chamber that she was not raped because her ethnic background was unknown. As part of the propaganda campaign geared to mobilizing the Hutu against the Tutsi, the Tutsi women were presented as sexual objects. Indeed, the Chamber was told, for an example, that before being raped and killed, Alexia, who was the wife of the Professor, Ntereye, and her two nieces, were forced by the Interahamwe to undress and ordered to run and do exercises "in order to display the thighs of Tutsi women". The Interahamwe who raped Alexia said, as he threw her on the ground and got on top of her, "let us now see what the vagina of a Tutsi woman takes like". As stated above, Akayesu himself, speaking to the Interahamwe who were committing the rapes, said to them: "don't ever ask again what a Tutsi woman tastes like". This sexualized representation of ethnic identity graphically illustrates that tutsi women were subjected to sexual violence because they were Tutsi. Sexual violence was a step in the process of destruction of the tutsi group - destruction of the spirit, of the will to live, and of life itself. On the basis of the substantial testimonies brought before it, the Chamber finds that in most cases, the rapes of Tutsi women in Taba, were accompanied with the intent to kill those women. Many rapes were perpetrated near mass graves where the women were taken to be killed . A victim testified that Tutsi women caught could be taken away by peasants and men with the promise that they would be collected later to be executed. Following an act of gang rape, a witness heard Akayesu say "tomorrow they will be killed" and they were actually killed. In this respect, it appears clearly to the Chamber that the acts of rape and sexual violence, as other acts of serious bodily and mental harm committed against the Tutsi, reflected the determination to make Tutsi women suffer and to mutilate them even before killing them, the intent being to destroy the Tutsi group while inflicting acute suffering on its members in the process.In light of the foregoing, the Chamber finds firstly that the acts described supra are indeed acts as enumerated in Article 2 (2) of the Statute, which constitute the factual elements of the crime of genocide, namely the killings of Tutsi or the serious bodily and mental harm inflicted on the Tutsi. The Chamber is further satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that these various acts were committed by Akayesu with the specific intent to destroy the Tutsi group, as such. Consequently, the Chamber is of the opinion that the acts alleged in paragraphs 12, 12A, 12B, 16, 18, 19, 20, 22 and 23 of the Indictment and proven above, constitute the crime of genocide, but not the crime of complicity; hence, the Chamber finds Akayesu individually criminally responsible for genocide.

Owen said...

Shaina, sorry that was a bit long - I should have edited it down a bit further but it was a bit late.

Shaina said...

Owen-no apologies needed!!

It was a very informative excerpt.

Owen said...

Thanks for your forbearance! By the way, it makes life much easier - for navigating and for quoting - when there's paragraph numbering in the judgments.