Iraq's new interim Governing Council announced it will form a special tribunal to try captured members of Saddam Hussein's ousted regime as war criminals. But the group Human Rights Watch quickly challenged the move on grounds that justice might not result if victims of that regime were put in the position of judging their former tormentors. Meanwhile, US administrator for Iraq Paul Bremer told a news conference that the pace of recovery would determine how long US and other coalition forces remain there, adding that "is now in the hands of the Iraqi people."

Squabbling between Yasser Arafat and new Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas over contacts with Israel's leaders was resolved, sources close to both men said. Abbas had threatened to resign unless Arafat's militant Fatah movement supported his handling of relations with the Jewish state's government. But in a new blow to the fragile truce declared by Palestinian militants, an offshoot of Fatah, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, claimed responsibility for the stabbing death of an Israeli in Tel Aviv Monday night and vowed more attacks. The assailant was captured.

New pressure for political and social reform in Iran was applied by 350 leading activists, who wrote to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, demanding that he choose between democracy and despotism. The academicians, lawyers, and politicians said Khamenei should overhaul the hard-line institutions that have blocked all efforts at reform. Meanwhile, the 10-day visit of a senior UN human rights envoy was postponed until further notice because of what Iran's official news agency called scheduling problems. It was to take place in the wake of thousands of arrests of antigovernment protesters and many journalists, one of whom, a female Canadian photographer, died in police custody last weekend.

Embarrassed government officials in the Philippines announced a reward of 5 million pesos ($93,000) for information leading to the recapture of a leading Muslim radical whose escape from prison set back the nation's antiterrorism efforts. Fathur Rohman al-Ghozi, an Indonesian national, bomb-building expert, and self-confessed member of a group linked to Al Qaeda, led two other militants out of a heavily guarded detention center in Manila as Australian Prime Minister John Howard was visiting the Philippines to confer on counterterrorism strategy. The reward applies even if al-Ghozi is found dead, police said.

By a 4-to-3 vote, the highest court in Guatemala ignored a law banning coup participants from seeking the presidency and OK'd ex-dictator Efrain Rios Montt to run in November's election. The justices overturned a ruling Saturday by a lower court, which had upheld the rejection of his candidacy by Guatemala's elections commission. Critics noted, however, that the high court is stacked with allies of the retired general, who's widely considered one of the worst abusers of human rights in recent Latin American history. Rios Montt seized power in 1982 but was himself overthrown 18 months later.

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