- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 27, 2000

Sierra Leone children may face U.N. charges

NEW YORK A proposed war crimes court for Sierra Leone should be allowed to prosecute child soldiers, the U.N. Security Council said yesterday.

But in a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the council also narrowed the court's jurisdiction to a point where many children would likely be excluded.

The council was responding to a U.N. plan for the court that has ignited debate in Sierra Leone and among children's rights advocates. The plan outlined ways in which children as young as 15 could be brought before the tribunal.

Sierra Leone's nine-year civil war has been especially brutal, with rebels hacking off the legs and arms of tens of thousands of people. An estimated 5,400 children fought in the war.

Montenegro wins military dismissals

PODGORICA, Yugoslavia Yugoslavia's top defense body dismissed three key military commanders in Montenegro in a concession to that country's smaller republic, officials and the media said yesterday.

Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic had been demanding a thorough reshuffling of the armed forces commands stationed in Montenegro to purge all who had a prominent role during the 13-year rule of former President Slobodan Milosevic.

"Roughly speaking, Montenegro got what it wanted," said Zarko Korac, a Serbian pro-democracy leader slated to become the republic's next vice prime minister.

Congo seeks embargo against 2 neighbors

NEW YORK Protesting recent military offensives by Rwanda and Uganda, Congo urged the U.N. Security Council yesterday to impose arms and trade embargoes against its two central African neighbors.

"My government urges the Security Council to react with vigor in keeping with its primary mission as guarantor of peace and international security," said Atokie Ileka, acting ambassador for the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Mr. Ileka, in a letter, said the 15-nation council should cut off arms shipments to Uganda and Rwanda, ban trade and financial dealings with the two nations and freeze diplomatic ties of both countries with U.N. member governments.

Zambia feared drawn into Congo conflict

JOHANNESBURG Zambia's army has been mobilized in an attempt to control hundreds of armed Congolese soldiers and thousands of civilian refugees fleeing across the border from the mineral-rich province of Katanga, which is under siege by rebel forces.

Observers fear that Zambia is being drawn reluctantly but inexorably into the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in which eight other African nations already are participating.

Fierce fighting was reported from Katanga yesterday as President Laurent Kabila's forces attempted a counterattack against the towns of Pweto and Pepa, both captured by Rwandan-backed rebels this month.

Peru says Montesinos under mafia protection

LIMA, Peru Peru's foreign minister said yesterday that an international mafia is protecting fugitive ex-spy chief Vladimiro Montesinos.

Javier Perez de Cuellar also said Peru has no reason to believe Mr. Montesinos is in Venezuela. "He could be there or not," Mr. Perez de Cuellar said at a news conference.

Finding Mr. Montesinos, a top aide for 10 years to ousted president Alberto Fujimori, is "not exclusively a Peruvian case" because he was the leader of an international criminal organization which is now helping him hide, he said.

Mexico ends ban in volcano area

MEXICO CITY Mexican officials yesterday lifted a state of emergency and allowed some evacuated residents to return to their homes near the base of the Popocatepetl volcano, which has ceased its eruptions.

More than 40,000 people were evacuated last week as the volcanic cone erupted, belching smoke and spewing hot rocks 2 and 1/2 miles into the air during its greatest activity in 500 years.

A government spokesman said they were allowing residents to return home because of the "five days of relative calm" in the volcano, 35 miles south of Mexico City.

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