- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 30, 2003

RWANDA
19,000 to be freed to ease jail crowding
KIGALI The government began releasing 19,000 genocide suspects and former rebels two days ago to ease intense prison overcrowding and foster national reconciliation, the attorney general said.
The suspects had confessed to taking part in the 1994 genocide in which upward of 800,000 Rwandans, mainly ethnic Tutsis, were slaughtered, said Attorney General Gerard Gahima, adding that President Paul Kagame ordered the mass release. Instead of court proceedings, the suspects and rebels will be judged under the traditional "gacaca" system of trial by their communities, Mr. Gahima said.
The government instituted the system last year to ease crowding in the prisons and clear a backlog in the courts that some estimated would take more than 150 years to clear up. The defendants will also go to "solidarity camps," where they will spend two months taking civics courses.

SOUTH AFRICA
TRC and Inkatha agree on final report
JOHANNESBURG South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) struck a deal yesterday allowing the former to issue this year its long-awaited final report on crimes committed during apartheid.
An interim report last year accused the Zulu-nationalist IFP of human-rights violations against rivals during the final struggle against white rule. The IFP sought to expunge parts of the report, and a court delayed its release.
TRC spokesman Richard Lyster said the commission and the IFP agreed on changes to the final text which will be presented to President Thabo Mbeki. The TRC wants financial compensation for several thousand victims of white-minority rule.


SUDAN
Violations separated from truce discussions
NAIROBI, Kenya Sudanese government officials and a delegation of the main southern rebel group resumed peace talks here yesterday after it was decided that claims of truce violations that threatened to derail negotiations will be addressed separately, a source close to the talks said.
Talks between Khartoum and the Sudan People's Liberation Army were suspended on Monday after the rebel movement accused the government of attacking three rebel-held towns in violation of a truce reached in Kenya.

Weekly notes
An Islamic court in Zamfara state, northern Nigeria, has ordered that a thief caught breaking into a shop have his right hand amputated. Ibrahim Sulaiman, 45, was found guilty Friday by a Shariah court in Gusau, the state capital. Though he admitted the crime, Judge Mukhtar Umar gave him 30 days to appeal. Shariah (Islamic law) was in use in the mainly Muslim north throughout British colonial rule until Nigeria's independence in 1960. A dozen northern states began reinstating it in 1999, provoking bloodshed between Muslims and the region's Christian minority. … The head of the United Nations World Food Program has extended a visit to southern Africa with a trip today to Angola, where up to 2.4 million people face hunger. James Morris, WFP executive director, was originally to visit Lesotho, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia, but is now also going to Angola for three days.

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