Archive for Friday, June 8, 2001

World Briefs

June 8, 2001


Argentina: Ex-president arrested in arms smuggling case

Former Argentine President Carlos Menem, a flamboyant political boss who presided over a decade of economic transformation and scandals, was arrested Thursday on charges of masterminding an international arms-trafficking scheme while president.

Authorities took Menem into custody shortly after he entered a courthouse Thursday morning to testify about his role in the alleged smuggling of 6.5 tons of arms and ammunition to Croatia and Ecuador between 1991 and 1995. Menem, 70, became the first elected Argentine president, current or former, to be arrested under a democratic government.

Belgium: Nuns found guilty of war crimes

Two Rwandan nuns were found guilty early Friday of war crimes during the 1994 genocide in their central African nation, in a landmark Belgian trial.

Sister Gertrude and Sister Maria Kisito were convicted by the jury of most of the counts of homicide against them. Two other defendants, university professor Vincent Ntezimana and factory owner Alphonse Higaniro, also were convicted on a number of counts in a trial which human rights activists hope will become a precedent. The trial, which lasted almost eight weeks, was the first in which a jury of ordinary citizens had sat in judgment of war crimes committed in another country.

France: Spelunker rescued after 5 days underground

A French cave explorer who had been trapped underground for five days surfaced Thursday after an intensive rescue operation. Patrick Meunier, 40, was suffering from hypothermia and breathing problems but managed to make the four-hour climb, assisted by a doctor and an expert spelunker.

Meunier's three team members alerted authorities Monday that their companion, an experienced caver, had been separated from the group Sunday in the Fontanilles cave, 25 miles east of Montpellier.

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