- The Washington Times - Monday, December 2, 2002

Iraqis tipped to visits
BAGHDAD Doubts arose over the surprise nature of new arms inspections in Iraq when a U.N. spokesman acknowledged that the head of a suspected weapons site received advance warning of the visit by the U.N. specialists to his facility Saturday.
"He was informed the day before [Friday] that the team was coming to remove an air sampler and install a new one," Hiro Ueki told Agence France-Presse by phone shortly after denying at a news briefing that the United Nations had tipped off the Iraqis.
"That is all [there is] to it," the spokesman added in an apparent bid to quash concerns about whether U.N. inspections of suspected weapons sites that resumed Wednesday really would be on a no-notice basis.
Reporters had pressed Mr. Ueki earlier about remarks by an Iraqi official, Hussein Hammudeh, who told reporters that he had notice of a visit to his facility by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) specialists.
Later, Mr. Ueki issued a statement elaborating on what he told AFP. He defended the notice to Iraq as purely a matter of logistics but added that the United Nations also had given notice to a second inspection site.
"Um al-Maarik Company, which the IAEA team visited today, 30 November, was notified by the IAEA team in advance that two of their technicians would review the status of the remaining video surveillance," he said.
"Al-Qa Qaa Company, which the IAEA team visited, was also requested on Thursday afternoon to provide assistance to facilitate removal of sampler," Mr. Ueki added. "This type of advance notification is sometimes given to facilitate their work on monitoring equipment. It happened to the above two cases."

Trials are too divisive
PAILIN, Cambodia Surviving Khmer Rouge leaders want the United Nations not to put them on trial for genocide and instead set up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to detail how 2 million people perished under the regime.
Former Prime Minister Khieu Samphan told Agence France-Presse that he and other senior leaders would be prepared to give evidence on the internal workings of the secretive ultra-Maoist regime, headed by "Brother No. 1" Pol Pot, if a South Africa-style truth commission is formed. Khieu Samphan said a U.N.-sponsored trial charging him and other leaders with crimes against humanity, reportedly between 1975 and 1979, would risk "retaliation."
"At a trial, people would not understand," he said from his home in a remote forest clearing six miles west of Pailin, on the Thai border. "And we can't afford a defense, and therefore we won't get a fair trial."
Khieu Samphan, speaking ahead of a vote in the U.N. General Assembly that was expected to bolster efforts for a Khmer Rouge trial, said a Truth and Reconciliation Commission similar to South Africa's post-apartheid inquiry would be a fair way to proceed.
The U.N. human rights special envoy to Cambodia, Peter Leuprecht, said last month that the prospect of holding a Truth and Reconciliation Commission had been raised with the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen. However, the idea was rejected because Cambodia lacked national figures of the stature of South Africa's Nelson Mandela or Archbishop Desmond Tutu to legitimize the proceedings.
Betsy Pisik is on vacation. Her column will resume when she returns.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide