- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 2, 2001

Sharon to face war-crime investigation
BRUSSELS A Brussels public prosecutor yesterday rejected Israeli arguments that Belgium lacked the legal authority to try Ariel Sharon, saying it should resume its probe into the war-crime charges against the Israeli prime minister.
Deputy public prosecutor Pierre Morlet was speaking ahead of the start of an appeals court hearing tomorrow on whether Mr. Sharon may be prosecuted in the European state over a 1982 massacre of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.
"We developed a lot of arguments against the objections of the Israeli state, and our position is that the penal proceeding must go ahead," Mr. Morlet said.
Mr. Sharon is the latest in a series of high-profile figures, including Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo, to become a target of complaints filed in Belgium.
The cases have caused diplomatic embarrassment and led Foreign Minister Louis Michel to call for the law to be amended.

Suspected ETA bomb destroys courthouse
MADRID A bomb exploded yesterday outside a court building in Vitoria, the capital of Spain's Basque Country, injuring one person in an attack that appeared to be the work of the Basque separatist group Euzkadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA), officials said.
The device, thought to have been a car bomb, detonated in the early hours of the morning outside the Palace of Justice in the center of Vitoria. The explosion set parked cars on fire and damaged the courthouse and other buildings.
"We had got used to a time without attacks, but we are back to usual now," the Spanish government's representative in the Basque region, Enrique Villar, told reporters.
ETA has claimed 35 killings since it ended a cease-fire in late 1999 and a total of around 800 since it began its violent campaign for independence in 1968.

Democracy returns uncertainly to Fiji
SUVA, Fiji Sixteen months after armed nationalists stormed Fiji's Parliament, democracy returned to this Pacific island nation, but political uncertainty and ethnic tensions persist.
The new parliament is dominated by the nationalist Fijian United Party. The Labor Party, a voice for the ethnic Indians who make up 44 percent of the 800,000 population, won a minority role.
The new deputy parliamentary speaker, an indigenous Fijian, is under investigation for his role in last year's coup. George Speight, the coup leader, is one of Fiji's 72 new democratically elected lawmakers.
Mahendra Chaudhry, leader of the Labor Party, was held hostage in Parliament by Mr. Speight and his armed supporters for 56 days last year.
He has refused to be sworn in as leader of the opposition, pending the outcome of a legal challenge to the validity of the new Cabinet.

Russia's Kursk a nuclear unknown
SNEZHNOGORSK, Russia The cause of the sinking of Russia's Kursk submarine still may be a mystery, but officials have said they are also in the dark over how to dismantle the nuclear wreck.
Managers at a closed navy shipyard charged with scrapping the mutilated 18,000-ton craft once it is lifted from the Arctic seabed said nobody had dealt with such a ruined submarine or knew what its mangled remains might be hiding.
"It is the first submarine to be raised from the bottom of the sea to be dismantled, and it is the first submarine of this class to be dismantled," Rostislav Rimdyonok, chief engineer at the Nerpa plant near Murmansk, told reporters.
The Kursk, one of Russia's most modern submarines, crashed to the bottom of the Barents Sea in August 2000 after two still unexplained explosions tore open its bow. All 118 persons on board died.

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