Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Cowardly in the extreme

by IdiotSavant Tue Dec 20th, 2005 at 05:07:32 AM EST

From No Right Turn - New Zealand's liberal blog:

In May this year, the Uzbek government massacred 700 demonstrators in the town of Andijan.  Following the massacre, the EU imposed "smart sanctions" on the Uzbek regime, barring arms sales and denying visas to key members of the Uzbek regime. You can imagine the fury then when it was learned that Uzbek Interior Minister Zokirjon Almatov, the man responsible for Uzbekistan's policy of systematic torture, as well as for the murderers at Andijan, was in a German hospital being treated for cancer.

Human Rights Watch immediately laid a complaint with Germany's federal prosecutor on behalf of a group of Uzbek torture victims, calling for Almatov to be prosecuted under Germany's universal jurisdiction law for torture and crimes against humanity. And the prosecutor did... nothing.  According to The Independent,

as of last [Sunday] night not a finger had been lifted. It was reported moreover, that the man known as the "Butcher of Tashkent" was safely back in Uzbekistan.

This is cowardly in the extreme.  Up until this week, Germany had taken a leading role in establishing international accountability for crimes against humanity.  Now, they've deliberately looked the other way and let one of the great criminals of our age escape justice, because they didn't want to cause an international incident.

Coincidentally, Germany has a military base in Uzbekistan, which it uses to support operations in Afghanistan.  And the Uzbeks have withdrawn their threat to close it down.  But I'm sure that that has nothing to do with it, and there was no sordid quid pro quo...

Uzbekistan is guilty of horrific human rights abuses, including boiling people alive.  (Link has graphic pictures)
by tyronen on Tue Dec 20th, 2005 at 01:00:11 PM EST
European Union officials said Germany had granted the visa in accordance with a European Union practice that allows travel ban exceptions for medical emergencies and other urgent needs.

"The USA appears destined by fate to plague America with misery in the name of liberty." Simon Bolivar, Caracas, 1819
by Ritter on Tue Dec 20th, 2005 at 03:41:10 PM EST
Sure - but then why didn't they arrest and try him as well?  The two are not at all incompatible.  Instead, they seem to have deliberately worked to prevent justice being served.

The German government should be made to answer some tough questions about this...

by IdiotSavant on Tue Dec 20th, 2005 at 05:43:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeedy, if it could have been done at the orders of a Spanish judge with a retired butcher in Britain... even if that butcher was ultimately allowed free...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Dec 21st, 2005 at 05:26:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tough questions? Like the what?

"The USA appears destined by fate to plague America with misery in the name of liberty." Simon Bolivar, Caracas, 1819
by Ritter on Tue Dec 20th, 2005 at 05:54:48 PM EST
Like what the hell they thought they were doign and why.  Like when exactly HRW's complaint was received and what exactly the federal prosecutor did after receiving it (a round of golf, perhaps?).  Like whether there was any communication between the government and the prosecutor, or the government and Almatov.

I presume that Germany has some system for holding the executive accountable to Parliament, or for people to gain information from the government.  Because this is where it is needed.

by IdiotSavant on Wed Dec 21st, 2005 at 04:41:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It seems to me though, that the real scandal is that Germany STILL has a military base in Uzbekistan.

On a similar note, after the Andijan massacre my (Swedish) government promised to look over the possibilities to get out of Uzbekistan. I somehow doubt anything has happened. Does anyone know?

by Johannes on Fri Dec 23rd, 2005 at 08:42:56 AM EST

Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]