January 7, 2009

Year's Top Issues: War Crimes

The world is full of ghosts and memories of the many war crimes enacted during the last part of the 20th century.

But issues and people around the violence remain very much alive.

In the Balkans, the high-profile arrest of former Serbian leader Radovan Karadzic, who helped spearhead the region’s genocidal civil wars, brought additional pressure to arrest other, less-well-known Serb leaders who remain on the run.

One reader commented on the Newsdesk.org Web site that Croats and Bosniaks are also to blame, and that a focus on Serbs is one-sided.

Targeting Rwanda, Spain indicted 40 Army officers as well as Rwandan President Paul Kagame over the killing of aid workers in the 1990s — charges that Kagame fiercely rejected.

In Chile, investigations, monument-building and legal actions perpetuate the legacy of General Augusto Pinochet, whose 17-year rule was marked by repression and the disappearance of thousands of political activists.

In May of last year, the government arrested 98 military and police personnel, most of whom had been lower-level functionaries during the Pinochet era.

The Philippines, meanwhile, saw new legislation calling for reparations for “comfort women” held in sexual captivity by Japanese occupiers during World War II.

The measure, which passed unanimously, was met with concern by the nation’s foreign office, which said reparations were already dealt with in previous treaties.

However, an official said the government had no opposition to private claims of “sexual slavery” sought against Japan.

NYMHM HAS THE DETAILS:

“On the Run: Accused Balkan War Criminals Remain at Large”
Jul. 24, 2008

“Pinochet’s Ghost Still Haunts Chile”
Jul. 31, 2008

“Rwandan President Disputes Spanish Indictments”
Apr. 2, 2008

“New Reparations Call for Philippine ‘Comfort Women'”
Mar. 13, 2008

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