- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 19, 2000

U.S. seeks exemption on global court cases

NEW YORK With time running out for the Clinton administration, the United States warned legal experts yesterday to exempt U.S. soldiers and officials from prosecution abroad by a new global criminal court.

If such a provision were not approved in November, David Scheffer, the U.S. ambassador at large for war crimes, said Washington would have to reconsider its overall support for the world's first criminal court and perhaps even peacekeeping.

"A negative result at the next session could have a major impact on the ability of non-party states to participate in certain types of military contingencies, including those with critical humanitarian implications," Mr. Scheffer told a committee the U.N. General Assembly.

Since the treaty in Rome, 114 countries have signed the treaty and 14 have ratified it. A total of 60 ratifications are needed for the treaty to go into force, expected in about three years.

Kostunica seeks allies in Milosevic camp

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia New Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica looked to be slowly bringing his Balkans federation out of the shadow of Slobodan Milosevic after his main opponents said yesterday they agreed with him on the political affiliation of his prime minister.

Milan Milutinovic, the president of Serbia the biggest of the two states left in the Yugoslav federation said he had demanded in talks with Mr. Kostunica that the prime minister be selected from the ranks of the Socialist People's Party (SNP) from Montenegro, formerly loyal to Mr. Milosevic.

And the Yugoslav president has already said the next Yugoslav prime minister must be from the SNP.

According to the Beta news agency, the SNP has dropped demands that Mr. Milosevic's Socialist Party, of which Mr. Milutinovic is a member, be included in a future government.

Mbeki joins talks on Rwanda healing

KIGALI, Rwanda South African President Thabo Mbeki yesterday joined a cross-section of Rwandans from home and abroad at the opening of a three-day meeting to foster reconciliation in the wake of two waves of large-scale ethnic bloodshed in Rwanda.

After prayers read by Kigali's Roman Catholic Archbiship Thadee Ntahinyurwa and singing and dancing by children and professional performers, Mr. Mbeki offered words of solidarity.

"People of South Africa feel close to Rwanda, we feel that the pain that you have suffered has been our pain as well."

Ex-Salvador soldier accuses superiors

SAN SALVADOR A former Salvadoran soldier convicted in the slaying of four American churchwomen 20 years ago has repeated his claim that orders to kill came from superior officers, according to an interview published yesterday.

The claim by Daniel Canales comes as two Salvadoran ex-generals are on trial in West Palm Beach, Fla., in a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the slain women's families. The lawsuit claims retired Gens. Jose Guillermo Garcia, 67, who lives near Fort Lauderdale, and Eugenio Vides Casanova, 62, who lives near Daytona Beach, allowed the slayings.

"If there had not been an order from above, we would never have been involved in something so stupid," Mr. Canales was quoted as telling the newspaper La Prensa Grafica.

Missing troops a threat to truce

LA PAZ, Bolivia A fragile truce between Bolivia's coca growers and the government threatened to unravel yesterday after officials promised to intensify their search for four missing members of the security forces.

Interior Minister Guillermo Fortun said the missing security force members were probably "tortured or killed" and said their absence put in jeopardy the agreement with the coca producers.

"I never signed an accord that wasn't going to fall through if there are disappeared," Mr. Fortun said.

Zimbabwe fears more food riots

HARARE, Zimbabwe An uneasy calm returned to Zimbabwe's townships yesterday after three days of violent protests against surging food prices but political analysts said they expected the riots to erupt again.

Police said they had the situation under control and had arrested more than 70 people as of late yesterday

Hundreds of police backed by army units patrolled the rubble-strewn streets of the townships surrounding Harare randomly firing tear gas and beating passers-by yesterday. Residents reported widespread looting.

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