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Updated: 12-Jul-2004

SHAPE News Morning Update

09 July 2004

  • NATO to punish troops for sex with trafficked women


  • Kosovo parliament challenges UN authority
  • Amnesty International: NATO peacekeepers, United Nations failed to protect minorities in Kosovo


  • United States sees early deployment of NATO instructors to Iraq
  • Security woes may prevent Iraq PM visit to EU
  • Pakistan envoy in U.S. mentioned for UN Iraq post¨ UK hands probes of soldiers’ deaths to Iraqi court


  • Russia and ex-Soviet states rebuke democracy watchdog


  • Muslims alarmed as Germany plans Islamist database


  • Troops who have sex with women who may be victims of human trafficking will be punished. A NATO statement said the alliance has a “zero-tolerance policy” regarding trafficking in human beings and that extends to troops who procure the services of women sold into sex slavery. In places where NATO has a presence - Kosovo, the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia and Afghanistan - law and order have all but broken down, and there is rampant crime and corruption, providing fertile ground for human traffickers, Norway’s ambassador to NATO Kai Eide said. “We expect that 90 percent of providers of sexual services in Bosnia stem from trafficking,” U.S. ambassador to NATO Nicholas Burns said in Brussels. Punishments will be handed out by national military authorities of the 26 NATO member states rather than uniformly. (Reuters 081834 GMT Jul 04)


  • Kosovo’s parliament challenged the province’s UN overseers on Thursday, adopting constitutional changes including the right to call a referendum on independence from Serbia. The amendments would also switch control over international relations and public security from the UN mission to local authorities. But to become law they must be signed by acting UN governor Charles Brayshaw and his office made clear that parliament did not have the right to make such major changes. “A comprehensive review of the Constitutional Framework is outside the competence of the assembly,” it said in a statement. A UN spokeswoman said parliament’s move would nevertheless be reviewed by UN legal experts. (Reuters 081754 GMT Jul 04)

  • NATO-led peacekeepers and the UN mission administering Kosovo failed to protect minorities during a recent outbreak of ethnic violence in the province that left 19 people dead, Amnesty International said on Thursday. In a 26-page report, the London-based human rights watchdog said a lack of coordination between NATO and the UN was partially to blame for the high casualty toll that resulted when mobs of ethnic Albanians attacked minority Serbs in Kosovo during a two-day rampage in March. According to the report, authorities estimated that some 51,000 people were involved in 33 violent incidents throughout Kosovo in the rampage. “Five years after the international community took over control of Kosovo, minorities remain as vulnerable as ever,” Amnesty International said in a statement. The violence exposed the lack of centralized control over NATO-led peacekeeping forces and different national contingents acted according to different interpretation of the rules of engagement, the report added. It cited the example of French and German troops, who it said interpreted their mandate as protecting people but not their property. The report said continuing uncertainty over the province’s final status exacerbated interethnic tensions. (AP 081410 Jul 04)


  • NATO instructors could be on the ground in Iraq within weeks to begin training the country’s new armed forces, the U.S. envoy to the alliance said Thursday in Brussels, despite continuing differences with France over the nature of the mission. “Our expectation is that NATO will see its way to do that this summer, a mission in Iraq,” Ambassador Nicholas Burns told reporters at allied headquarters. NATO military experts headed by U.S. Adm. Greg Johnson travelled to Baghdad this week on a mission to assess the training needs. Officials said Adm. Johnson, the commander of allied forces in southern Europe, had returned from Iraq to brief the alliance’s top brass, while other members of the mission continued the fact-finding trip. (AP 081530 Jul 04)

  • Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi is unlikely to go through with a visit to European Union headquarters next week because of the worsening security situation in his country, diplomats said on Thursday. Mr. Allawi had accepted an invitation to meet EU foreign ministers next Monday to discuss how the 25-nation bloc can contribute to Iraq’s reconstruction following the formal end of the U.S.-led occupation. “We’re getting indications that the trip is unlikely to take place, but nothing has been confirmed,” a senior EU diplomat said in Brussels. A NATO official said he could not firmly confirm or deny anything, but added: “My understanding for the moment is that he is not coming at all.” (Reuters 081622 GMT Jul 04)

  • Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington appears to have the edge as Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s top envoy for Iraq, diplomats said on Thursday. Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, who has been in his post in Washington for nearly two years, has been on Mr. Annan’s short list for about a week as his special representative in Iraq. (Reuters 090337 GMT Jul 04)

  • Britain will hand over its investigations into the deaths of eight of its soldiers in Iraq to an Iraqi criminal court, Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon said on Thursday in London. British investigators have been gathering evidence in the deaths of two soldiers killed after an ambush during the invasion of Iraq in March last year and six military policemen killed by an angry mob in June 2003. In a statement to parliament, Mr. Hoon said the investigations would now be passed on to the Central Criminal Court of Iraq, which “represents the best prospect of dealing with such cases in an expeditious and fair manner.” (Reuters 081631 GMT Jul 04)


  • Russia and eight other ex-Soviet states accused Europe’s biggest security and human rights watchdog on Thursday of failing to respect their sovereignty. The 55-nation Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), whose activities include monitoring elections, has chided former the Soviet states for ballots it says failed to live up to democratic standards. “In part (the OSCE) does not respect such fundamental principles ... as non-interference in internal affairs and respect of national sovereignty,” said a statement signed by Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. The EU issued a statement expressing its “serious concern” at some of the CIS states’ comments. (Reuters 081929 GMT Jul 04)


  • Germany said on Thursday it would create a central database on suspected radical Islamists, provoking concern from the country’s large Muslim community. Interior Minister Otto Schily also announced plans to boost the fight against terrorism by pooling intelligence from the three national security agencies in a new joint analysis centre. (Reuters 081524 GMT Jul 04)


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