- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 29, 2002

Reporters in danger at Milosevic trial

THE HAGUE Slobodan Milosevic clashed yesterday with a war reporter who questioned Serbian assertions that NATO bombs killed Kosovar prison inmates, as a wider debate escalated over journalists testifying at war-crimes trials.

Mr. Milosevic challenged the objectivity of the British Broadcasting Corp. after its former Belgrade correspondent, Jacky Rowland, told of two visits she paid to Dubrava Prison in May 1999, where she saw dead bodies and was told they were victims of the NATO raids.

"I have strong doubts that all those prisoners were killed as a direct result of the NATO bombing," Miss Rowland told the U.N. International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia, where Mr. Milosevic has been on trial since February accused of genocide and crimes against humanity in the Balkans in the 1990s.

Miss Rowland's appearance came weeks after a retired Washington Post reporter, Jonathan Randal, said he did not want to testify at another trial at The Hague tribunal because it could endanger reporters' lives and hinder access to information.

Israeli tank fire kills four in Gaza

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip Israeli tanks raided a coastal village in the Gaza Strip late yesterday, firing several tank shells into a house and killing four Palestinians, including a mother and her two sons, witnesses and hospital officials said.

"Israeli tanks rolled into our area, they were firing everywhere, and one house was hit by at least four shells," said Rami Shamalakh, a neighbor of the family that came under fire.

Hospital officials confirmed that four members of the al-Hajeen family had been killed, including Ruwaida, 55, and her two sons, Ashraf, 23, and Nihad, 17. The fourth person killed was a cousin of the family, Mohammed, 20.

Georgia sees rebels as Russia's problem

PANKISI GORGE, Georgia A Georgian official said yesterday that troops taking part in an operation to round up Chechen fighters in the Pankisi Gorge, on Georgia's border with Russia, were under orders not to arrest any of the guerrillas.

"The fighters are Russia's problem," said a high-ranking official in Georgia's National Security Ministry who is taking part in the operation.

The official, who did not want to be identified, said Georgian commanders knew the location of a band of Chechen fighters but had no plans to engage them.

"We do not intend to start a war with them and put at risk our troops and thousands of innocent people. We are already doing enough," the official said.

White farmer eviction nullified by judge

HARARE, Zimbabwe A Zimbabwean judge nullified eviction orders served on 54 white farmers, ruling yesterday that the orders were wrongly served under land-seizure laws.

High Court Judge Benjamin Paradza's decision came hours after President Robert Mugabe warned he was not prepared to negotiate with white farmers and would not relent on a government program that seizes land from whites and redistributes it to landless blacks.

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