Ivo Skoric on Tue, 4 Jun 2002 08:16:59 +0200 (CEST)

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"Ivo Skoric" <ivo@reporters.net>
     Re: White House wants trial kickbacks ended: UN attorneys share fees              with clients
     Bosnian Al Qaeda Connection
     Re: Testimony: Milosevic Got Atrocity Reports by E-Mail

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From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo@reporters.net>
Date: Mon, 3 Jun 2002 14:59:19 -0400
Subject: Re: White House wants trial kickbacks ended: UN attorneys share fees              with clients

This is fantastic. I don't really remember that we in former 
Yugoslavia expected our attorneys to share their salary with us. 
But it is definitely an original idea. I guess, O.J. Simpson missed 
that one.

However, it is nauseating to hear that even one person suspected 
of being responsible for tortures and massacres is actually being 
paid for standing the trial: even building a house with the money he 
receives for being tried for burning the houses of hundreds of others.

While that may explain the sudden burst of volunterism among the 
suspected war criminals in the post-Yugoslav societies, it is an 
abomination of justice to have them profit from the gruesome deeds 
they are suspected of committing. It is an insult to the victims. It is 
a sarcastic testimony to the ineffectiveness of international 
community in bringing perpetrators to justice.

And now, it seems, it serves this White House as a convenient 
vehicle to embarass ICTY and provide logical grounds for the U.S. 
opposition to the ICC.

It proves what I thought for over ten years: in Yugoslavia at the end 
of eighties it paid to pick a side and immerse yourself in the living 
hate to avoid being a victim, or leave.


date sent:      	Thu, 30 May 2002 18:12:12 -0400
send reply to:  	International Justice Watch Discussion List
from:           	Andras Riedlmayer <riedlmay@FAS.HARVARD.EDU>
subject:        	White House wants trial kickbacks ended: UN attorneys share fees
             	with clients

(cross-posting of comments only permitted)

Reports of fee splitting at the ICTR and ICTY may be old news, but the
U.S. administration is asking for further steps at the U.N. tribunals to
suppress this "illicit welfare system" for lawyers, war crimes defendants,
and their relatives and friends back home.

Andras Riedlmayer
The Washington Times
May 30, 2002, Thursday

White House wants trial kickbacks ended
U.N. attorneys share fees with clients


 The Bush administration said yesterday that it is urging the United
Nations to crack down harder on kickbacks paid to war-crimes suspects
by their U.N.-financed defense lawyers at international tribunals for
the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

 The Washington Times reported Tuesday that the practice was widespread
at the U.N.-sponsored International Criminal Tribunal for the Former
Yugoslavia in The Hague, where defendants routinely ask for as much as
30 percent of the fees of their court-appointed attorneys and threaten
to dismiss lawyers who refuse to cooperate.

 An internal U.N. investigation in March said the tribunals have
tried to curb so-called "fee-splitting," but tribunal officials
conceded that the arrangement "is not an easy practice to eradicate."

 A State Department official, speaking on background, said yesterday
that the U.S. government has urged the Rwanda and Yugoslavia panels
to beef up the number of auditors and to strengthen the code of conduct
for defense attorneys. "We urge both tribunals to implement these steps
as soon as possible, including the adoption of sanctions that may be
applied to those who engage in fee-splitting, and to undertake more
vigorous efforts to identify and bar lawyers engaged in fee-splitting,"
the official said.

 The State Department official said the U.S. government, which pays
23 percent of the regular U.N. budget, "strongly" supported internal
U.N. efforts to clean house.

 The Washington Times reported that the Hague tribunal has become
a kind of illicit welfare system for lawyers, defendants, and their
relatives and friends back home.

 In all but a few cases - former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic
is defending himself - the tribunals pay the defendants' lawyers a
tax-exempt salary of up to $200,000 a year.  Defense lawyers report
that their clients threaten to dismiss them if they do not share
some of the fee.

 In one case, the lawyer defending Zoran Zigic, a Serb accused of
war crimes at the notorious Omarska detention camp in Bosnia-Herzegovina,
said Mr. Zigic is building a house with the money he extorted from two
of his court-appointed lawyers.

 Zika Rakonjac, author of a forthcoming book on the shady financial
practices at the Hague tribunal, said in an interview that some
1,000 people, including family members of those on trial, have
benefited from the money.

 The author said the usual arrangement in Yugoslavia calls for
defense lawyers to kick back 10 percent to 15 percent of their
annual salary to their clients, as much as $30,000 a year, and
sometimes the contribution is even higher.

 "Everyone wants their cut - Serbs, Croats and Muslims alike,"
Mr. Rakonjac said in an interview.

 Defense attorneys at the International Criminal Tribunal for
Rwanda, based in Arusha, Tanzania, receive up to $110 an hour and
can bill up to 175 hours a month. Defendants are allowed a team of
three defense attorneys, selected from a pool of 200 lawyers kept
by the tribunal.

 As in Yugoslavia, the majority of defendants in Rwanda plead poverty
and have their legal expenses paid by the court. Investigators found
that many defendants in Rwanda were choosing only counsel who agreed
beforehand to kick back some of their pay.

 Some of the defense lawyers practicing at the Hague have said the
charges are overblown.

 They say they have occasionally financed family visits or other
small favors for their clients but have never been asked to make
any cash payout.  The Netherlands has exempted the defense fees
from local taxation.

 The United Nations declined to comment yesterday on the latest
charges but referred a reporter to two internal studies, one issued
in February 2001 and one in March, that found financial abuses
continue to plague both the Yugoslav and Rwandan tribunals.

 In February, lawyers working for Joseph Nzirorera, a former Rwandan
politician accused of participating in the 1994 ethnic genocide,
were fired after investigators uncovered evidence of fee-splitting
with their client.

 The March report, issued by the U.N. Office of Internal Oversight
Services, found that both tribunals had taken "proactive steps"
since the first report issued 13 months earlier.  Among them:
tighter screening of the pool of defense lawyers; changes to the
code of conduct; and new limits on the number and value of gifts
detainees can accept at the U.N. holding facilities.

 Although the Bush administration has refused to sign on to the
International Criminal Court, the United States remains a strong supporter
of the more limited panels looking into Rwanda and Yugoslavia.

 Pierre-Richard Prosper, the State Department's ambassador-at-large for
war-crimes issues, told a House hearing in February that the United States
continued to support the panels while acknowledging that "there have been
problems that challenge the integrity of the process."

 Mr. Prosper said the United States was pushing for the two tribunals to
finish their work by 2008 at the latest.

 *Special correspondent Milorad Ivanovic contributed to this report from
Belgrade, Yugoslavia.

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From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo@reporters.net>
Date: Mon, 3 Jun 2002 14:58:41 -0400
Subject: Bosnian Al Qaeda Connection

>From www.iwpr.net

Bosnian police sources claim a recent inquiry into the activities of a
controversial aid worker reveal links with al-Qaeda leader.

By Senad Slatina in Sarajevo and Zenica

Bosnian police raids on the premises of the Islamic relief agency
Benevolence International Foundation, BIF, have allegedly provided
evidence of links between the organisation's director Enaam 
Arnaout and
the al-Qaeda network.

Arnaout was arrested in Chicago on April 30 and is currently 
trial in the United States on perjury charges.  If convicted, he faces 
five-year prison term and a 250,000 US dollar fine.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigations brought the perjury 
Arnaout filed a written statement to a US court on April 5, 2002,
that BIF had "never provided aid to people or organisations known 
to be
engaged in violence, terrorist activities, or military operations of any

Arnaout was suing the US government over its December 14, 2001 
ban the BIF - an organisation Washington claimed was engaged in 
terrorism - and freeze its assets.  The FBI claims to possess 
supporting the charges from four cooperative witnesses - including
captured al-Qaeda members - and from documents seized during 
raids on
premises in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Bosnian police raided the BIF head office, warehouse and homes of
members of the organisation in Sarajevo and Zenica on March 19, 
According to police sources, evidence was uncovered which 
confirms that
close links existed between Arnaout and Bin Laden in the late 
1980s and
early 1990s.  The documents included photographs of the two men 
with automatic rifles, anti-aircraft guns and hand-held rocket
possibly in Afghanistan just over a decade ago.

According to the FBI, several al-Qaeda members occupied 
important posts
BIF and the organisation financed the group's activities.  It also
that Arnaout enjoyed the full confidence of Bin Laden.

Following the March 19 raids, Bosnian police arrested Munib 
Zahiragic -
former member of the Bosnian intelligence service, AID, and BIF's 
representative in Bosnia since mid 2000.  Around 100 highly 
documents were allegedly found in Zahiragic's office.  The papers
to wartime and post-war Islamic volunteers from African and Asian

The Bosnian federal supreme court has launched an inquiry and a 
has been issued for Zahiragic's arrest on espionage charges.

The FBI also claims that several telephone conversations between 
and Zahiragic were recorded in which the BIF boss instructs 
to tell the police anything about their relationship.

When Zahiragic confesses he has already told police certain things,
Arnaout allegedly suggests the BIF representative should say they 
known each other for several years but had only been in business
for 18 months.

The FBI charges indicate the US authorities plan to use these 
as evidence that Arnaout has sought to obstruct criminal 

Arnaout was born in Syria in 1962 and, according to the FBI, his 
later moved to Saudi Arabia where he lived until 1987.  Arnaout then
travelled to Peshawar in Pakistan where he undertook Islamic 
was in Pakistan that he met a rich Saudi sheikh, Adil Abdul Galil
who founded BIF in the mid 1980s.

When the Saudi authorities banned the charity from working in 
Arnaout registered it in the United States in March 1992 and 
became its
senior executive director.

Bosnian police claim Arnaout first came to their country in June 
opening the first BIF office in Zenica in June 1993.  In October of 
year, according to court papers, Arnaout was arrested on arms 
charges during a visit to Croatia, although he later escaped from

The US media has recently pointed out weaknesses in the US 
pursuit of Arnaout and his alleged links with Bin Laden in the late

On April 7, the Los Angeles Times quoted senior US officials who 
decision to freeze the assets of several Islamic aid agencies had 
premature and based on little solid proof.  Many of those who work 
Arnaout praise his humanitarian efforts and believe the allegations
against him are utterly baseless.

"Arnaout is a modern, Western-oriented manager of a big 
said Alen Cosic, head of the BIF office in Zenica and the only 
member of
the charity not to be arrested after the recent raids.  "All those who
work with Arnaout know how noble a man he is."

BIF takes care of some 450 orphans in central Bosnia, providing 
an income of 70 German marks per month.  The organisation also 
computer training courses, English and Arabic language classes, 
workshops and a free dental service.
Senad Slatina is a journalist of Bosnia weekly Slobodna Bosna.

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From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo@reporters.net>
Date: Mon, 3 Jun 2002 16:02:18 -0400
Subject: Re: Testimony: Milosevic Got Atrocity Reports by E-Mail

ok - now no self-respecting dictator reads his public e-mail - he 
knows he'd be spammed by alphabet soup of organizations like 
HRW. on not being the first hand witness - well, Fred was not 
exactly shot and thrown in a mass grave presumed dead, was he? 
I guess from Slobo's perspective, only that would qualify him as a 
witness. On the other hand, Fred did work for ICTY, but then he is 
a witness for the prosecution, so it doesn't really disqualify him.

date sent:      	Mon, 3 Jun 2002 15:19:39 -0400
send reply to:  	International Justice Watch Discussion List
from:           	Andras Riedlmayer <riedlmay@FAS.HARVARD.EDU>
subject:        	Testimony: Milosevic Got Atrocity Reports by E-Mail

(cross-posting of comments only permitted)

For security reasons, Slobodan Milosevic currently has no internet access
from Scheveningen, but back when he was in charge in Belgrade, his e-mail
address <slobodan.milosevic@gov.yu> was on the distribution list for HRW's
reports on human rights abuses in Kosovo.  Those reports were also sent to
him by fax and regular mail, according to testimony from HRW investigator
Fred Abrahams.  If the defendant failed to take steps to halt or prevent
those abuses, it was not because he was unaware of them.

Andras Riedlmayer
June 3, 2002

Testimony: Milosevic Got Atrocity Reports by E-Mail

By Abigail Levene

   THE HAGUE, June 3 (Reuters) - Slobodan Milosevic was sent reports
cataloguing Serb human rights abuses against Kosovo Albanians by post,
fax and e-mail, the ex-Yugoslav president's trial heard Monday.

   As U.N. prosecutors sought to show Milosevic had known or must have
known of crimes that his forces committed in the south Serbian province,
a human rights activist told of the horrors he witnessed in Kosovo and
the reports he helped compile on them.

   "I know for a fact that all our reports were sent to the accused ...
I personally remember adding his e-mail address to the e-mail list:
slobodan.milosevic@gov.yu," said Fred Abrahams, a former researcher for
Human Rights Watch (HRW).

   Abrahams said reports by HRW, a non-governmental organization
that documents human rights violations around the world, were always
made public as well as being sent to government officials and alleged

   To convict Milosevic over Kosovo -- one of three indictments he faces
at the U.N. war crimes tribunal in the Hague -- prosecutors must prove
not only that atrocities were committed against ethnic Albanians, but
also that he knew or should have known and did nothing to prevent them
or punish the perpetrators.

   Abrahams's appearance followed a bizarre setback for the prosecution
early in the day, when a Serbian witness expected to give important
evidence abruptly refused to testify.

   The protected witness, known only as K12, said he had been a driver
during his 1988-89 Yugoslav army military service and had then worked
for years as a truck driver, but then broke down and said he could not
give evidence, without elaborating.

   "You're here to tell the truth," presiding Judge Richard May
admonished, prompting K12 to retort: "The truth is that I cannot testify
and there is no other truth than that."


   Abrahams told the court of Serb-inflicted murder, rape, torture
and destruction of Kosovo Albanians' mosques and homes, as well as
of humanitarian violations by NATO and Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA)

   NATO launched a 78-day bombing campaign in March 1999 to curb a
violent Serb crackdown on Kosovo which HRW also investigated along with
KLA atrocities.

   Milosevic objected bitterly to Abrahams as a witness, saying the fact
he had worked briefly as a research analyst for prosecutors meant he
"wrote the indictment" against Milosevic.

   The ex-Serb strongman is accused of crimes against humanity and
genocide in Kosovo, Bosnia and Croatia during the break-up of Yugoslavia
in the 1990s.  He has refused to plead, prompting judges to enter a not
guilty plea, and is defending himself.

   Abrahams insisted on HRW's impartiality, saying it had criticized
all sides in the Balkan conflicts.  But Milosevic cast doubt on that,
speaking of HRW's "role to provide alibis for the interference of
international organizations in other countries."

   His suggestion during cross-examination that Abrahams had seen nothing
first-hand drew an impassioned response.

  Abrahams recounted his experience investigating the September 1998
murders of 21 civilians of the same family in Gornje Obrinje in Kosovo's
Drenica valley.

   "I was present in that forest and I will never in my life forget
the smell of the bodies that I saw," he said.

   Abrahams followed K12 in the witness box. The court was in closed
session for most of K12's half-hour in the stand and went into open
session only briefly before his abrupt exit.

   Pressed by judges on why he could not testify, K12 said it could
"jeopardize other people."  Judges asked to look at a magazine that had
apparently been mentioned in closed session.

   Further details of K12's identity were not clear. But a story last year
in the Belgrade weekly Vreme quoted a Serbian truck driver who said he
was drafted in February 1999 to drive a sealed refrigerator truck back
and forth from Serbia to Kosovo.

   The story was published in June 2001, just after Serb police discovered
mass grave sites near Belgrade and said they were believed to contain
bodies of dead Kosovo Albanians.

   After driving a dozen such lorries, the driver known in Vreme under
the false name "Nikola" said he had unsealed the truck to find corpses,
mainly of civilians, piled up inside.

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