- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 17, 2003

BELGIUM

Ruling party divided over genocide law

BRUSSELS — Belgium’s ruling party, the Liberals, appeared split yesterday over whether to change a war-crimes law that has infuriated the United States.

Karel De Gucht, president of the Flemish Liberals, suggested the law should not apply to “allies and democracies,” just two days after Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, a Liberal, said the amended law needed no further change.

The law, which empowers Belgian courts to try foreigners for human-rights crimes no matter where they were committed, has been criticized by several countries, including the United States.

Lawsuits have been brought against Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and such U.S. officials as former Central Command head Gen. Tommy Franks, former President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and Gulf war Commander Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf.

SIERRA LEONE

Ex-junta leader dead, war-crimes court says

FREETOWN — Sierra Leone’s fugitive former junta ruler Johnny Paul Koroma, who had been indicted for war crimes by a U.N.-backed court, has been killed in Liberia, the court’s top investigator said yesterday.

The report of Mr. Koroma’s death comes a month after that of former Sierra Leonean rebel commander Sam Bockarie, killed in a gunbattle with troops loyal to Liberian President Charles Taylor.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Police find huge bomb, suspect republicans

BELFAST — Northern Ireland police found a bomb weighing about half a ton in a van in the city of Londonderry yesterday, blaming republican guerrillas opposed to a peace deal in the British-ruled province.

British army technical officers initially estimated the device contained 600 pounds of homemade explosives packed into barrels, but later said the quantity was closer to 1,200 pounds, making this one of the biggest bombs seized in Northern Ireland’s 3-decade-old conflict.

The find comes ahead of a crunch meeting today of the main Protestant political group, the Ulster Unionist Party, at which party chief David Trimble is expected to face a leadership challenge from hard liners who say the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement has failed to end the threat of republican violence.

LEBANON

Rockets hit TV station owned by Prime Minister

BEIRUT — Two rockets hit a television station owned by Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri yesterday, setting fire to some studios but causing no injuries, the head of Future Television said.

Ali Jaber said the rockets were launched at the Future TV building from a white BMW car parked nearby, piercing the walls and exploding inside.

“We don’t know who would benefit from doing such a thing or why,” Mr. Jaber said. “There is no doubt it is serious, and it is meant to be a message for the television, but we don’t know who from.”

A previously unknown Islamic group calling itself Ansar Allah (Supporters of God) claimed responsibility for the attack.

ISRAEL

U.S. envoy’s cousin among bombing victims

JERUSALEM — A cousin of the U.S. ambassador to Israel, Daniel Kurtzer, was among the 17 persons killed by a Palestinian suicide bomber in an attack on a bus last week, the State Department said yesterday.

Anna Orgal, 55, was buried Thursday at a cemetery outside Tel Aviv, and Mr. Kurtzer attended the funeral, the Yediot Ahronot newspaper reported.

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