|Saturday, April 8, 2000,
loses right to vote in Council of Europe
on Elians handover fail
body questions Sharifs trial
yet to decide on jurisdiction
|21 massacred in Colombia
BOGOTA (COLOMBIA), Apr 7 Officials blamed rightist paramilitary gunmen for massacring 21 unarmed residents of a small town near the Venezuelan border.
of Parliaments bans breast feeding
protest against Reds
may not be prosecuted
in Anwar case
Russia loses right to vote in Council of Europe
STRASBOURG, April 7 (AFP) Furious Russian delegates walked out of the Council of Europe when the human rights bodys parliamentary assembly suspended their voting right because of alleged human rights violations in Chechnya.
"We are not able to work together," Russian delegation chief Dmitri Rogozin angrily told the assembly yesterday. "The responsibility is yours. Goodbye."
Fifteen members of the 18-person delegation then staged a walkout, with the remaining three following shortly after.
The vote by the council, a Europe-wide assembly concerned with human rights and democracy issues, followed a tense day which also witnessed the spectacle of two Russian deputies from Chechnya and Dagestan coming to blows before shocked European legislators.
The assembly also asked the councils executive organ to invoke procedures to suspend Russia as a member of the 41-nation body, and appealed to member-governments to invoke the European Human Rights Court over Russias alleged violation of the European Human Rights Convention.
It was the first time in the half-century of its existence that the council had voted suspension of a member.
The current chairman of the executive, Irish Foreign Minister Brian Cowen, will seek a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov next week probably in Luxembourg to discuss the issue, the council announced.
In a first reaction from Moscow yesterday, official sources told Interfax news agency that Russia "will evidently take measures in response."
Mr Gennadi Seleznev, Speaker of the Duma and a Communist, said the council had committed what he termed a historic error. "They forgot who theyre dealing with," he said, adding scornfully: "Russia can do without these European teachers."
Mr Rogozin said his team would report to the State Duma (Lower House) in Moscow on Monday.
The Strasbourg assembly voted 78 in favour, 69 against with eight abstentions "to deprive the members of the (Russian) delegation of their right to vote in the assembly and its organs."
Another motion had called on the ministerial council to invoke the procedure to suspend the Russian delegation because of what it called a lack of substantial and demonstrable progress in rights issues.
Earlier, the council had put 10 conditions on the Russian delegations continuing participation in Strasbourg, including an immediate cease-fire in Chechnya and the establishment of an unconditional political dialogue with elected Chechen leaders.
MOSCOW: Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said today Russia regretted and was bewildered by the Council of Europes denunciation of the war in Chechnya, the most stinging Western rebuke yet over alleged abuses there.
President-elect Vladimir Putin, chief architect of the six-month-old Chechnya campaign, met ministers to be briefed on the region and was scheduled to meet a European Union delegation later to discuss the conflict and bilateral ties.
We were bewildered by and deeply regret the decision of the session of the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe, Mr Ivanov said at the start of the meeting with the EU envoys.
The delegation from the EU a separate organisation from the Council of Europe is made up of foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Portuguese Foreign Minister Jaime Gama, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency.
Mr Putin met two Deputy Prime Ministers, Mr Nikolai Koshman, government representative in Chechnya, and Sergei Shoigu, the Emergencies Minister, who deals with more than 200,000 refugees who have fled the fighting in the region.
Mr Koshman told
reporters there had been no discussion of the Council of
Europes decision. It had been decided, he said, not
to introduce direct presidential rule, an option for the
region discussed by Mr Putin and others in recent weeks.
Talks on Elians handover fail
MIAMI, April 7 (Reuters) Talks between Elian Gonzalezs Miami relatives and US immigration officials have broken down and the government is expected to give the family instructions shortly on delivering the Cuban shipwreck survivor to his father.
US officials yesterday said that the relatives refused to return Elian to his father but urged them to make the handover as painless as possible.
One of the relatives lawyers, Jose Garcia-Pedrosa angrily denounced the government, saying the talks had ended with Immigration and Naturalisation (INS) officials willing to discuss only how, not whether, to transfer the six-year-old to his father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez.
The father arrived in Washington from Cuba early yesterday to try to speed resolution of the four-month highly politicised tug-of-war.
A number of persons, many holding flowers as a sign of welcome for Juan Miguel Gonzalez, surrounded the little Havana home where Elian is staying after exile leaders called for volunteers to form a human chain in case immigration agents tried to remove the child.
Elian survived a migrant boat voyage from Cuba last November in which his mother and 10 others died, only to get caught up in a fierce custody battle between his father, backed by Cuban President Fidel Castro, and anti-Communist Cuban exiles in Miami.
Rights body questions Sharifs trial
WASHINGTON, April 7 (PTI) US-based human rights organisation, Human Rights Watch, has said the trial of deposed Pakistani Premier Nawaz Sharif was neither fair nor transparent but welcomed the anti-terrorism courts decision to spare him from death penalty.
Pakistan still has a long way to go in establishing a fair and transparent judicial system. The appeal process (of Sharif case) will be a very important test of the systems fairness, Mike Jendrzeczyk, Washington Director of the Organisations Asia Division, said yesterday.
He said it is imperative that Sharifs defence team have a full opportunity to challenge all alleged trial irregularities.
Sharif was yesterday sentenced to life imprisonment for hijacking and terrorism by anti-terrorism court judge Rehmat Hussain Jaffrey in Karachi.
The trial, said the organisation, was marred by controversy. Last December, as the trial was underway, the military government amended the anti-terrorism act to add hijacking and conspiracy to the list of offences under the act. The intent of these amendments was to allow for the appointment of a high court judge and remove Sessions Court Judge Rehmat Hussain Jaffrey from hearing the case, he said.
In January, the replacement judge stepped down, publicly complaining of the presence of intelligence agents in his courtroom. Ultimately, the trial was returned to Jaffrey, it pointed out.
In March, the Human Rights Watch said, Sharif complained that he was not allowed any consultation with his lawyers and alleged that his cell and the armoured personnel carrier in which he was brought to court had been bugged.
Also in March, and only days before the final arguments were to be presented in the trial, Sharifs lawyer Iqbal Raad and two of his colleagues were assassinated in their office, he said.
Enacted under the Sharif administration, the anti-terrorist act violates international standards of the process as well as the right to free expression, it said.
Since coming to power in October 1999, the military government of General Pervez Musharraf has also required all Supreme and High Court judges to take an oath prohibiting them from making any order against the Chief Executive or any person exercising powers or jurisdiction under his authority.
ICJ yet to decide on jurisdiction
UNITED NATIONS, April 7 (PTI) The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is expected to take three to four months to rule on whether it has jurisdiction to hear the Pakistani complaint against India on the shooting down of Islamabads naval plane Atlantique last August in Gujarat.
India had raised the preliminary objection over the courts jurisdiction and hearing on the issue before the court ended yesterday.
As per its procedure, the members of the court will soon hold a preliminary discussion at which the President will outline the issues which require discussion and decision.
After initial consideration, a full deliberation will be held during which, on the basis of the views expressed, a drafting committee will be chosen by secret ballot. The committee will comprise two judges holding the majority view and the P resident if he shares that view.
The draft text prepared
by the committee will go through two readings. Meanwhile,
judges who wish to do so may prepare a separate or
dissenting opinion. The final vote will be taken after
the adoption of the text at the second meeting.
21 massacred in Colombia
BOGOTA (COLOMBIA), Apr 7 (AP) Officials blamed rightist paramilitary gunmen for massacring 21 unarmed residents of a small town near the Venezuelan border.
The shootings by men in camouflage uniforms occurred yesterday in two poor barrios of Tibu, said Ruben Sanchez, the local delegate of the Federal Human Rights Ombudsmans office. Police confirmed the officials account.
They came and dragged people from their homes and massacred them right in front of their families, Mr Sanchez told AP on the telephone from the town in Norte de Santander state.
Mr Sanchez quoted witnesses as saying that eight of the nine assailants wore camouflage uniforms and one civilian clothes.
The victims were shot repeatedly, 19 of them died on the spot while two died in hospitals, said a Tibu police who asked not to be named. Five persons were seriously wounded.
The killings bore the trademark style of Rightist paramilitary groups, who routinely massacre unarmed villagers they accuse of collaborating with Leftist guerrillas, the officer said.
The incidents of violence have risen sharply in Norte de Santander in the past year, as both sides vie to control lucrative war taxes on the regions burgeoning coca crop, the plant used to make cocaine.
groups massacred 36 villagers in Tibu and the nearby town
of La Gabarra last August, forcing nearly 3,000 persons
to temporarily flee into Venezuela and prompting the
firings of the regional army and police commanders for
failing to prevent the incursion.
Mother of Parliaments bans breast feeding
LONDON, April 6 (Reuters) Mothers milk was banned on Thursday from Britains so-called mother of Parliaments.
The decision to ban breast-feeding during committee hearings was a blow to the growing number of women parliamentarians who complain there are few child care facilities at the centuries old Parliament.
The reason for the ruling was that breast milk is just like food and you do not eat in Parliament.
Sir Alan Haselhurst, Chairman of Parliaments ways and means office, said rules for committee rooms, where MPs pick apart legislation and grill ministers, should be the same as for the House of Commons.
Bringing refreshment into the room and the presence in the non-public area of the room of persons other than members of the committee ...are prohibited, he said.
Application of either rule should be taken to include babies and the feeding of babies.
Julia Drown, Labour MP and mother of a five-month-old son, had asked for a ruling so that she could bring her baby to work. Last month, she complained at the lack of child care facilities and the long hours when parliamentary debates can stretch late into the night.
Jakarta protest against Reds
JAKARTA, April 7 (Reuters) More than 10,000 Muslim protesters took to the streets of Indonesias Capital today to denounce government plans to lift a decades-old ban on Communism.
Indonesias Communist Party was once the worlds third largest until it was almost wiped out and declared illegal by former President Suharto in the late 1960s.
It was the biggest demonstration in Jakarta since October, when President Abdurrahman Wahid was elected, immediately prompting riots.
Calling themselves the
Indonesian Islamic front, the protesters carried banners
saying there is no place for
Communism and Communism and
Zionism are the Drugs of the Human Race. They
also burned Communist and Israeli flags.
Weizman may not be prosecuted
JERUSALEM, April 7 (AP) The Israeli police has recommended that President Ezar Weizman not be prosecuted for accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars from a French millionaire, but only because the statue of limitations had run out.
The scathing police report, which said Mr Weizmans actions constituted fraud, was likely to fuel calls for his resignation. Still, the President insisted the police conclusions closed the case, and his office said he would not step down.
Admission in Anwar case
KUALA LUMPUR, April 7 (AFP) The woman who first accused Malaysias Anwar Ibrahim of sexual misconduct admitted she was paid for fabricating evidence, according to her brothers evidence today in the sex trial of the sacked deputy premier.
Defence witness Azmin
Ali, Anwars former Political Secretary, said his
sister Ummi Hafilda Mohammad Ali has told him in 1998
that she was promised money and business contracts to
make up evidence against the politician.
UN arms inspector presents report
UNITED NATIONS, April 7
(AP) The new chief UN weapons inspector for Iraq
has issued his first report, outlining his plan for an
arms agency that would be independent of political
meddling and could make surprise inspections at suspected
starves baby to death
Woman lives with
Boy slays family
for something new
Dog Mahathir angers Malaysia
Too drunk to see
13 dead in
Chinese hotel fire
closed after leak
|| Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
| Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | In Spotlight |
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
| 119 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |