- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 6, 2008


France accused of genocide role

KIGALI | Rwanda formally accused senior French officials on Tuesday of involvement in its 1994 genocide and called for them to be put on trial.

Among those named in a report by a Rwandan investigation commission were former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin and the late President Francois Mitterrand.

Kigali has previously accused Paris of covering up its role in training troops and militia who carried out massacres that killed upwards of 800,000 people, and of propping up the ethnic-Hutu leaders who orchestrated the slaughter.

France denies that and says its forces helped protect people during a U.N.-sanctioned mission in Rwanda at the time.

The latest accusations came Tuesday with the publication of the report by an independent Rwandan commission set up to investigate France’s role in the bloodshed.


Police seize weapons from U.S. officials

BISHKEK | Kyrgyzstan’s police raided an apartment rented by U.S. officials and seized dozens of firearms before finding out that the Americans were training Kyrgyz secret services, the government said Tuesday.

Washington operates a military base in Kyrgyzstan to support operations in nearby Afghanistan and counts the ex-Soviet nation as a key ally in Central Asia. But their relations have been soured after a string of incidents at the base in past years.

The Interior Ministry said police had seized six machine guns, 25 assault rifles and a number of smaller firearms on Monday night from a house rented by U.S. officials.


Summit canceled after protests

TARIJA | The leaders of Venezuela and Argentina canceled a trip to Bolivia on Tuesday after protests roiled the country and two miners were killed before a recall vote facing President Evo Morales.

In Tarija in southern Bolivia, dozens of protesters tried to storm the main airport, forcing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Argentine President Cristina Fernandez to call off a trip there for energy talks with Mr. Morales.

Tensions are high across South America’s poorest country before a recall vote Sunday that will either ratify Mr. Morales and eight of nine regional governors or force them out of office.


Court delays extradition to U.S.

BRUSSELS | Britain agreed Tuesday to delay the extradition of a radical Muslim preacher to face charges that he helped set up an al Qaeda terrorist training camp in Oregon.

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, ruled Monday that Abu Hamza al-Masri should not be extradited until judges can examine his case. Britain’s Home Office said it would abide by the court’s request.

In June, Britain’s High Court ruled that he should be sent to the U.S. to face the charges. The House of Lords, Britain’s highest court of appeal, upheld the ruling.

A former imam at the British capital’s Finsbury Park Mosque, the Egyptian-born Briton is blind in one eye and has hooks in place of the hands he says he lost fighting Soviet troops in Afghanistan in the 1980s.


Palestinians to be resettled

GENEVA | Iceland and Sweden will take in nearly 200 Palestinian refugees stranded in makeshift desert camps on Iraq’s border with Syria.

The Palestinian community in Iraq has become a target for persecution largely because others thought they were favored under the regime of the now-deceased Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Over two dozen Palestinians will leave the Al Waleed refugee camp in the next few weeks for Iceland, spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said Tuesday. Another 155 Palestinian refugees from the Al Tanf refugee camp will be resettled in Sweden, he said.


Thousands honor Solzhenitsyn

MOSCOW | Thousands of Russians braved a pelting rain Tuesday to pay tribute to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, attending a formal mourning for the author, dissident and patriot that had all the trappings of an official lying-in-state ceremony.

A military honor guard stood next to Mr. Solzhenitsyn’s open casket, placed in a hall at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. Mourners filed by and placed long-stemmed flowers at the foot of the bier for the Nobel Literature Prize winner.

Vladimir Putin, now prime minister after eight years as president, was among the mourners who stopped to express his condolences.

Mr. Solzhenitsyn, who died Sunday at his home outside Moscow at age 89 from a chronic heart condition, is to be buried Wednesday at the Russian capital’s Donskoi Monastery.


Judge to rule Sept. 12 on Zuma

PIETERMARITZBURG | A South African judge announced Tuesday he will rule Sept. 12 whether to dismiss fraud and corruption charges against the country’s strongest presidential candidate, Jacob Zuma.

Judge Chris Nicholson also set Dec. 8 as the provisional date for Mr. Zuma’s criminal trial in case he does not throw out the case before then.

The 66-year-old president of the governing African National Congress party and former guerrilla leader stands accused, along with a French arms company, of bribery in a 1999 arms deal.


4 Americans convicted in plot

PODGORICA | Four Michigan residents were among 12 ethnic Albanians convicted Tuesday of plotting a rebellion to carve out a homeland within the tiny Balkan republic of Montenegro.

The Americans of Montenegrin origin were part of a group arrested in September 2006 on the eve of a key parliamentary election in Montenegro, which had just become independent of Serbia. Authorities say they were planning attacks on institutions in a predominantly ethnic-Albanian-populated eastern part of Montenegro with the aim of creating an autonomous region.

Three of the Americans, Sokol Ivanaj and cousins Kola Dedvukaj and Rrok Dedvukaj, had lived for decades in Michigan, but were on a visit to Montenegro when apprehended. A fourth American, Doda Ljucaj, was the purported mastermind of the plot. He was born in Montenegro, but lived in the United States and was arrested in Vienna, Austria, later in 2006.

From wire dispatches and staff reports



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