The 1970s and 1980s: Cold War Arms Sales
During the cold war, Bulgarias arms industry was the cornerstone of the national economy. According to one report, it employed over 100,000 persons in 1989 and earned nearly 20 percent profits on sales of over U.S.$1 billion.1 At its peak the industrys annual production capacity was estimated to be as high as U.S.$5 billion.2 The industry produced military equipment for the Bulgarian army, but most of its production was destined for export.3
Kintex, a state-owned trading firm, was Bulgarias only authorized weapons export company during the communist period. It supplied Bulgarian-made weapons to the countries of the Warsaw Pact and Communist-backed governments and rebel groups on several continents. Although official figures are not available, it is believed that at its peak in the 1980s Bulgarias arms industry brought in U.S.$1 billion or more in earnings annually.4 At that time, arms sales may have accounted for as much as 9 percent of the countrys export earnings, more than any other industry.5
Much of Bulgarias cold war arms trade alarmed Western governments, who maintained that the country was covertly supplying so-called terrorist groups. Kintex was closely tied to the Bulgarian secret service, thereby contributing to suspicions about its arms dealing.6 Kintexs first post-communist director offered to trace whether arms it had sold to Libya, Syria, and Iraq were diverted to groups considered terrorists. He stated, It is possible that these arms have reached such groups via governments we have supplied legally. If they are selling the weapons after we ship them, it is their responsibility.7 Bulgarias Interior Ministry said in a 1992 statement that during the communist period arms and other military gear were given to assist totalitarian regimes and [the] development of international terrorism.8 The statement said there had been Bulgarian involvement in the training of terrorists based in Angola, Cuba, Nicaragua, Yemen, and Tanzania.9
The Early 1990s: Arms Industry Crisis and Illicit Exports
The end of the cold war dramatically changed the landscape for Bulgarias lead industry: once lucrative markets dried up, production capacity went unused, unsold inventory accumulated, and debts mounted. The collapse of communist governments and the loss of state subsidies closed many former markets and, in several cases, Bulgarias former arms clients failed to pay for past arms purchases. Together with the expense of keeping its factories open, these circumstances saddled Bulgarias arms industry with a heavy debt burden.10
Simultaneously Bulgaria undertook to convert its military industry to civilian production. Little financial support was available to facilitate conversion, and the country continued to view arms production as a vital industry. Consequently, conversion was half-hearted and incomplete, with many factories engaged simultaneously in military and civilian production.11
The industry incurred further heavy losses when newly negotiated sales could not be executed. For example, planned sales to Georgia, Estonia, and other former Soviet republics were halted under pressure from Russia, which reportedly feared the destabilizing impact of Bulgarian weapons, and orders from Iraq and Libya could not be legally fulfilled due to U.N. embargoes. The loss of these markets contributed to accumulating inventories of unsold weapons. In 1992, for example, the arms industry held arms stockpiles estimated to be worth more than U.S.$800 million, and the price of Bulgarian weapons fell.12
For an industry that was and has continued to be highly export oriented, the loss of markets represented a serious blow. A number of arms factories suspended production, and others closed their doors, leading to worker protests in several Bulgarian cities in late 1992. Bulgaria was not alone it its predicament, as several of its former Warsaw Pact allies faced similar conditions and likewise struggled to sustain domestic arms industries that had once thrived. In a shift from the days when arms production by its allies was viewed as complementary, Bulgaria found itself competing with them for clients.13
The external constraints on arms exportsincluding the loss of markets, the imposition of international and regional arms embargoes, and the stiff competition for arms salescombined with strong demand by rebel groups and embargoed governments to drive much of Bulgarias arms trade underground in the early 1990s. Arms dealers often turned to Bulgaria to obtain arms for a variety of clients. They negotiated with state-owned firms to purchase Bulgarian weapons and, by providing fake or misleading documents, were able to bypass Bulgarias poorly implemented arms export controls. Bulgarian authorities did not monitor exports to prevent unapproved retransfers, so its weapons could be diverted to rebel groups or countries under international embargo. In the arms market that emerged after the collapse of communism, Bulgaria had a reputation as a country where few questions would be asked. One arms dealer said, They dont give a shit about embargoes and will sell anywhere.14
The Bulgarian governmentthrough its government-appointed arms industry officialsengaged in embargo-busting activity in the early 1990s. In 1992, the government was forced to admit that Kintex had illegally sold more than U.S.$15 million in weapons to Iraq on the basis of false end-user certificates and that the state-owned company was involved in other illicit arms deals.15 Forbes magazine estimated that combined illicit arms deals arranged by Kintex that year with the embargoed countries of Iraq, Libya and the then Yugoslavia were worth U.S.$100 million.16 In September 1992, for example, Bulgarian authorities stopped an illegal shipment of weapons.17 Forbes magazine reported that the shipment was destined to Croatia and was halted on the basis of a tip from U.S. sources, but that other illegal arms deliveries had already been completed.18
The Croatia case highlights the ease with which arms export controls could be circumvented. Bulgarian authorities permitted Kintex to export weapons despite the fact that the documents submitted to them contained seemingly obvious errors. The documents, ostensibly from Bolivia, included a number of spelling and punctuation errors and were signed with the name of a nonexistent Bolivian general. In addition, the orders were for Soviet-standard equipment, but the Bolivian armed forces utilize NATO-standard weaponry. Falsification did not end there: the contents of ships loaded with weapons were deceptively labeled as technical equipment, presumably to bypass customs controls.19
Kintexs then director responded to allegations about the illicit arms shipments to Croatia by stating that he had no idea where the weapons went, and anyway its not my problem.20 The use of falsified documents prepared by others permitted him to assert that his company had not knowingly engaged in illegal arms exports. Likewise, the regulatory authorities responsible for overseeing arms exports were able to insist that they had been misled. In this way, fake documents provided both the regulators and the regulated with plausible deniability with which to avoid responsibility for embargo-busting arms deals.
1991-1992: Failed Arms Trade Reform Effort
The illicit arms deals to Croatia and elsewhere occurred during the government of Prime Minister Philip Dimitrov. The government, formed in 1991 by a coalition of parties known as the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF), had declared a strong commitment to arms export control and announced new efforts to clean up Bulgarias arms trade. Prime Minister Dimitrov, on a visit to the United States, stated that the country would halt arms sales to the Middle East and other regions where Bulgarian weapons might have a destabilizing effect. The government also tightened licensing procedures for arms sales, reportedly halting several suspicious arms deals. Among other changes, the prime minister personally took over the chairmanship of a government arms control commission after its former head, Defense Minister Dimitar Ludzhev, resigned.21
In addition, the Dimitrov government created a supervisory board to oversee Kintex. An official who served on the board for several months explained that the creation of the board was a first step that didnt get far because arms industry representatives resisted government control. He said that Kintex kept information hidden from it in order to protect its involvement in illicit deals. The former board member, currently a diplomat stationed in the United States, also stated that the arms industry had very strong ties to the former communist party and thus considered itself at odds with the Dimitrov government.22
Not only did the governments efforts to control the arms trade fail to do so, they also rankled arms industry insiders, opposition politicians, trade union representatives, and others, who charged that Dimitrovs government would drive Bulgarias once-great arms industry into the ground.23 Ultimately, dissatisfaction over how he handled arms export policy together with an arms export scandal helped bring down the Dimitrov government.24 In October 1992, the government lost a no-confidence vote in parliament over allegations of an attempted arms sale to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, which was subject to a U.N. embargo on the former Yugoslavia.25 The government that followed dismissed the Kintex board and reportedly loosened restrictions on Bulgarias arms trade.26 According to one source, it approved arms deals without inspecting documents.27
Mid-to-Late 1990s: Undiscriminating Arms Exports
After the demise of Filip Dimitrovs proclaimed policy of arms export restraint, subsequent governmentswhich after 1994 were formed by the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP)undertook to boost arms sales by aggressively promoting the countrys weapons. For example, Bulgaria sponsored its first ever arms fair in 1994, at which national arms manufacturers displayed their wares to potential clients. Such efforts began to pay off in that same year: according to a government official, Bulgarias arms exports in 1994 more than tripled the level of the previous year.28
In part, the government was politically motivated to assist the arms industry. Several observers have stated that the BSP was closely tied to the arms industry.29 Although diminished, the industry represented an important source of hard currency earnings and jobs, and was considered vital to the countrys national security (see Arms Production and Incentives for Export, below).
In its zeal to make the sale, successive Bulgarian governments appeared to display little concern about the humanitarian or human rights impact of the weapons it exported. The government in 1995 stated that it wanted toclean up the countrys image,30 but throughout the mid-to-late 1990s Bulgaria was involved in a number of deals to forces engaged in armed conflicts and/or serious human rights abuses. Deals acknowledged by the government included the sale of surplus tanks to Angola in 1993 and to separatist forces in southern Yemen in 1994 (see Surplus Weapons, below). Its supplies to war-torn countries also included weapons flows to Peru in 1995 and 1996 as it was rearming itself during peace talks to end a border war with Ecuador.31 Bulgarian-made ammunition and weapons of possible Bulgarian origin were found among the stockpiles that Sudanese rebels claimed they had captured from Sudanese government forces in April 1997.32 The previous year, a Bulgarian official stated that the planned sale to Sudan of Bulgarian weapons had been halted under U.S. pressure.33 The Washington Times alleged that Bulgarian arms dealers working secretly with Czech military officials were attempting to supply Iraq with sophisticated radar equipment,34 to which Bulgarias trade minister responded by stating that the reported deal involved private Bulgarian arms dealers, not the Bulgarian government.35
Bulgarian authorities openly acknowledged that Bulgarian weapons could be diverted to unauthorized end users.36 False documents, including incorrect or misleading flight documents, were used in a number of instances to facilitate the flow of Bulgarian weapons to rebel groups and other non-state actors. For example, a British arms broker admitted transporting quantities of small arms from Bulgaria to separatist forces in southern Yemen during a brief 1994 civil war,37 and in 1995 seventy-seven cases of weapons obtained in Bulgaria, purportedly for the Bangladeshi defense ministry, were airdropped over West Bengal, India near the headquarters of a group allegedly linked to terrorist attacks.38 Bulgarian weapons were supplied via the former Zaire to the forces responsible for Rwandasgenocide (see Rwanda, below). In 1996 and 1997 Lithuanian arms brokers negotiated to illegally supply Bulgarian-made surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) to a Colombian drug cartel operating in the United States.39
Such examples raise questions about the extent to which Bulgarian officials and arms trading company representatives may have turned a blind eye to arms transactions based on deception. In the U.S. case, brokers operating from the United States arranged to purchase the SAMs from a state Bulgarian company, Armimex, on the basis of documents stating they were for use by the Lithuanian defense ministry. Armimex was able to secure an export permit from Bulgarian authorities on the basis of an end-user certificate purportedly signed by Lithuanias defense minister, despite the fact that the arms brokers were not licensed to import military weapons to the United States. (Instead, one of them was affiliated with a U.S. front company that could only legally import handguns and hunting rifles.) In addition, a man who identified himself as a broker for Armimex was closely involved in the illicit deal. He reportedly arranged to have a Cypriot shipping company send a vessel to pick up the cargo and deliver it to Puerto Rico. The owner of the shipping company, who had worked for Armimex before, was planning to use false documents stating that the cargo was bound for Lithuania. Court documents, including transcripts of taped conversations with the two Lithuanian brokers, indicate that the brokers contacts in Bulgaria, Lithuania, and Russia were aware that the shipment was to be diverted. For example, the arms dealers repeatedly stated that their counterparts were only interested in their cut from the salenot the ultimate destinationbut that the Bulgarians insisted that all documents be in order so that they would not be exposed to charges of illicit arms trafficking.40
During the mid-to-late 1990s, corrupt government officials were suspected of facilitating arms sales. For example, Sri Lankan rebels allegedly procured weapons from Bulgaria with help from government officials in exchange for bribes.41 A government white paper on Bulgarian security issues referred to uncontrolled corruption at different levels of the Ministry of Defense, a number of known and unknown affairs and arms deals, and a lack of serious control over the military-industrial and industrial complexes.42
Late 1990s: Continued Arms Deals, Uncertain Future
Buoyed by exports to areas of violent conflict in the mid-to-late 1990s, Bulgarias arms industry avoided collapse, but such sales did not erase industry-wide debts to national banks, nor ensure the sustainability of the industry. With the imposition of an International Monetary Fund-approved economic reform program in 1997 under the new UDF
government, state subsidies to the arms industry were withdrawn and workers had to be laid off.43 Arms exports to areas of violent conflict continued to be viewed as part of the solution to the arms industrys deteriorating position. Bulgaria exported, transported, or transshipped arms to conflict areas, particularly in Africa, and its weapons continued to make their way to abusive military forces, including government forces and rebel groups. For example, a British newspaper reported that in mid-1998, as war broke out in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a flight fromBulgaria delivered approximately thirty-eight tons of weapons to Congolese rebels.44 Additional cases involving weapons flows to Angola, Burundi, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Uganda are described below (see Arms Exports to Human Rights Abusers below).
Despite such sales, the future of Bulgarias arms industry remains uncertain. Privatization of the industry, announced in 1997, has heightened the concerns of some observers, leading them to assert that the once vital industry will be liquidated within a few years time.45 They were skeptical of the governments claim that privatization, foreign direct investment, and the switch to NATO-standard production would help the countrys arms industry remain viable in the long term. The UDF government is sensitive to criticismwhich it considers as politically-motivatedthat its moves to enhance arms trade controls, as well as its plans to privatize the countrys arms industry, will result in devastating losses of hard currency income and jobs.46
1 Antoaneta Dimitrova, The Plight of the Bulgarian Arms Industry, RFE/RL Research Report, vol. 2, no. 7 (February 12, 1993), p. 50.
2 Elisaveta Konstantinova, End of Cold War Shatters Bulgarias Arms Industry, Reuters European Business Report, November 2, 1992.
3 In 1993, when export levels were much reduced as compared to the cold war period, an estimated 70 to 80 percent of arms industry production was intended for export. Kjell Engelbrekt, Bulgaria and the Arms Trade, RFE/RL Research Report, vol. 2, no. 7 (February 12, 1993).
4 Estimates of Bulgarias peak arms exports vary widely, with conservative figures hovering around U.S.$600 million per year and others going as high as several billion dollars per year. A figure used by international journalists is U.S.$1 billion. See, for example, Engelbrekt, Bulgaria and the Arms Trade; Douglas L. Clarke, Eastern Europes Troubled Arms Industries: Part II, RFE/RL Research Report, vol. 3, no. 21 (May 27, 1994); and Konstantinova, End of Cold War.
5 U.S. Report Describes Bulgarian Arms Sales, Associated Press, August 10, 1984.
6 Human Rights Watch interview with Nicola Tcholakov, Deputy Chief of Mission, Bulgarian Embassy to the United States, Washington, D.C., December 4, 1998.
7 A Western expert quoted in the New York Times expressed scepticism, stating: I would be surprised if they didnt know where the arms really went....Theyre not asking a whole lot of questions. These people are concerned about the bottom line, and in hard currency. Chuck Sudetic, Bulgarians to Share Data on Arms Sent to Terrorists, New York Times, August 2, 1990.
8 Bulgarian Communists Backed TerrorismInterior Ministry, Reuters, June 10, 1992.
9 Ibid. In addition, communist Bulgaria is believed to have supplied governments in Cuba, Ethiopia, Iran, Nicaragua, South Africa, and Yemen, as well as rebel groups in Algeria, Angola, Chad, El Salvador, and Mozambique, as well as the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), among others. Several reports have highlighted Bulgarias cold war weapons sales to different governments and rebel forces. See, for example, Engelbrekt, Bulgaria and the Arms Trade; Ernest Beck, Bulgaria Aims to Revamp Its International Image in the Legitimate Global Arms Market, Wall Street Journal, July 24, 1995; Raymond Bonner, Arms for the Revolution, New York Times, February 10, 1994; Abdel Fatau Musah and Robert Castle, Eastern Europes Arsenal on the Loose: Managing Light Weapons Flows to Conflict Zones, BASIC Paper Number 26 (May 1998), available at http://www.basicint.org/bpaper26.htm; and Sudetic, Bulgarians to Share Data.
10 See Engelbrekt, Bulgaria and the Arms Trade; and Alexander Mladenov and Paul Beaver, Industry Moves from Crisis to Confidence, Janes Defence Contracts, June 1994.
11 See Beck, Bulgaria Aims to Revamp; and Veselin Toshkov, Strapped Bulgarians Look to Arms Again for Economic Boost, Associated Press, December 5, 1994.
12 Mladenov and Beaver, Industry Moves from Crisis to Confidence.
13 See Konstantinova, End of Cold War; Kintex Slims Down, Mednews - Middle East Defense News, vol. 5, no. 10 (February 17, 1992); Engelbrekt, Bulgaria and the Arms Trade; Douglas L. Clarke, Eastern Europes Troubled Arms Industries: Part I, RFE/RL Research Report, vol. 3, no. 14 (April 8, 1994); and Douglas L. Clarke, Eastern Europes Troubled Arms Industries: Part II.
14 Portuguese arms trader José Saldanha, quoted in Peter Fuhrman, Trading in Death, Forbes, May 10, 1993, and Andrew W. Hull and David R. Markove, Trends in the Arms Market: Part Two, Janes Intelligence Review, May 1, 1997.
15 A government official acknowledged in a press conference that Kintex had supplied false end-user certificates in more than one instance and that it was the duty of the [government arms trade] commission to check these certificates but they did not do so. Vladimir Zhelyazkov, Bulgaria Admits Arms Sales to Iraq, United Press International, September 8, 1992. See also, John Pomfret, E. Europes Merchants of Death Elude U.S. Sting, Washington Post, April 24, 1993; and Kjell Engelbrekt, Bulgaria Admits Arms Shipments to Iraq, RFE/RL Newsline, September 8, 1992, available via the Internet at: http://www.friends-partners.org/friends/news/omri/1992/09/920908.html.
16 The deals were arranged using broker-provided fake documents that named Bolivia, the Philippines, and Mali as the purchasers. Fuhrman, Trading in Death.
17 Zhelyazkov, Bulgaria Admits. See also, Fuhrman, Trading in Death.
18 Fuhrman, Trading in Death.
20 Ibid. The official asserted in a subsequent interview that his company strictly abided by international regulations on the arms trade. BTA News Agency, April 26, 1993, in Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), East Europe, May 4, 1993; and Kjell Engelbrekt, Forbes on Bulgarian Arms Trade, RFE/RL Newsline, April 26, 1993.
21 According to one source, he resigned amidst allegations that he permitted illicit arms peddling. Engelbrekt, Bulgaria and the Arms Trade, pp. 45-46. At the time, Prime Minister Dimitrov attributed the resignation of his defense minister to a clash of personalities. Zhelyazkov, Bulgaria Admits. A Bulgarian official interviewed in 1998 concurred that the resignationwas due to political disagreements with the prime minister, not allegations about arms deals. Human Rights Watch interview with an official at the Bulgarian Embassy to the United States, Washington, D.C., November 11, 1998.
22 Human Rights Watch interview with Nicola Tcholakov, Deputy Chief of Mission, Bulgarian Embassy to the United States, Washington, D.C., December 4, 1998.
23 Engelbrekt, Bulgaria and the Arms Trade; and Dimitrova, The Plight of the Bulgarian Arms Industry, pp. 48-53.
24 The arms scandal was the visible cause, but according to at least one analysis, the underlying reason for the ouster was the unpopularity of the Dimitrov governments austerity program. Ian Traynor, Eastern Europe: Hard Times Mean Good Times for the Old Guard in Eastern Europe, Guardian (London), November 19, 1992.
25 Tim Judah, Bulgaria Seeks New Cabinet, Times (London), October 30, 1992; Dimitrov Government Falls, Facts on File World News Digest, November 12, 1992; and Evgenia Manolova, Arms Scandal in Bulgaria, Warsaw Voice, November 18, 1992.
26 Peter Fuhrman, The Heart of the Illegal Trade, Forbes, May 10, 1993
27 Human Rights Watch interview with Nicola Tcholakov, Deputy Chief of Mission, Bulgarian Embassy to the United States, Washington, D.C., December 4, 1998.
28 Bulgaria Hosts Its First Arms Exhibition, Reuter European Business Report, November 8, 1994.
29 Human Rights Watch interviews with Dimitar Abadjiev, Member of Parliament (UDF); a Bulgarian journalist; and a foreign diplomat, Sofia, February 1999. One official stated that the 1990 BSP government was closely aligned with the arms industry and most likely was involved in questionable arms trading practices. Human Rights Watch interview with Nicola Tcholakov, Deputy Chief of Mission, Bulgarian Embassy to the United States, Washington, D.C., December 4, 1998.
30 Beck, Bulgaria Aims to Revamp, Wall Street Journal, July 24, 1995.
31 In 1995 Bulgaria exported to Peru twenty-one Igla surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) and two rocket launchers for the countrys armed forces. The following year Bulgaria sold more than 200 additional portable Igla SAMs to Peru. In both cases, Peru listed its purchases as replacements. United Nations, United Nations Register of Conventional Arms (New York: United Nations, 1996), A/51/300, and United Nations, United Nations Register of Conventional Arms (New York: United Nations, 1997), A/52/312. In addition, Air Sofia, a private Bulgarian airline, was apparently involved in transporting weapons to Ecuador shortly after armed hostilities broke out between the two countries in March 1995 (see Transport Companies and Transshipment, below).
32 The caches of weapons included types of anti-tank mines and assault rifles manufactured in Bulgaria and a few other countries. Human Rights Watch, Global Trade, Local Impact: Arms Transfers to All Sides in the Civil War in Sudan, A Human Rights Watch Short Report, vol. 10, no. 4, August 1998, pp. 17-19.
33 The arms deal, reportedly worth $120 million, was negotiated by Kintex. According to the then industry minister of Bulgaria, Kliment Vuchev, a deal was finalized on April 26, 1996, shortly before the United States imposed a unilateral embargo on Sudan. Kontinent (Sofia), May 6, 1996, in FBIS, East Europe, May 9, 1996; BTA News Agency, May 22, 1996, in BBC Monitoring Service: Central Europe and Balkans, May 24, 1996.
34 Bill Gertz, Iraq Set to Buy Anti-Stealth Radar Systems, Washington Times, November 11, 1997.
35 Bill Gertz, No Deal with Iraq, Czechs Assure U.S.; Pentagon Foresees No Anti-Stealth Sales, Washington Times, November 14, 1997. The private individuals named in the Washington Times categorically denied the allegations. See Standart News (Sofia), November 13, 1997, in FBIS, East Europe, November 17, 1997; and Kontinent (Sofia), November 15, 1997, in FBIS, East Europe, November 19, 1997.
36 Beck, Bulgaria Aims to Revamp.
37 The broker, who stated he was ordered to submit false flight plans, admitted transporting more than 180 tons of weaponsincluding bombs, rocket mortars, and assault riflesfrom Plovdiv airport in Bulgaria to the port of Al-Riyan in southern Yemen. Nic North and David Brown, Gun-Running Secret of Jet Crash Boss, Daily Mirror (London), December 23, 1994.
38 The weapons included more than 200 AK-47s and thousands of rounds of ammunition, as well as pistols, rocket launchers, handgrenades, sniper rifles, and landmines, which were supplied by Arsenal, a state-owned manufacturer, and flown out of Burgas airport. They are believed to have been destined for a Hindu religious sect that the West Bengal state government has accused of terrorist activities. David Graves, Ruthless Gun Runner or Political Fall Guy? The Strange Case of Peter Bleach, Daily Telegraph, January 17, 1998; and Raymond Bonner, Murky Life of an International Gun Dealer, New York Times, July 14, 1998. Documents obtained by Oxfam indicate that KAS Engineering, a Bulgarian state-owned arms firm, helped broker the deal. Oxfam, Out of Control: The Loopholes in UK Controls on the Arms Trade (London: Oxfam UK, December 1998), p. 7.
39 This was the object of an undercover operation by U.S. Customs agents. The brokers also offered to sell undercover U.S. agents tactical nuclear weapons. For an analysis of this case as an example of how nuclear material can be smuggled, see Russian Roulette, PBS Frontline, aired on February 23, 1999, available via the Internet at: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/russia.
40 Indictment and court documents submitted as evidence in the trial of Alexander Darichev and Aleksandr Pogrebezkij, U.S. District Court, Miami. The indictment is available via the Internet at: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/russia/scenario/indictment.html.
Bulgarias trade ministry denied any wrongdoing, asserting that it had authorized the export of SAMs for delivery to Lithuania. See Ron Synovitz, Bulgaria: Sofia Denies Wrongdoing in Arms Smuggling Case, RFE/RL, July 2, 1997; and Miami Grand Jury Indicts Three in Arms Smuggle Plot, Reuters, July 10, 1997.
41 A representative of the Tamil Tiger rebel movement who was killed in October 1996 reportedly traveled to Bulgaria to arrange arms deals, which were allegedly facilitated by Bulgarian officials. Rohan Gunaratna, Sri Lanka: LTTE Fundraisers Still on the Offensive, Janes Intelligence Review, December 1, 1997; and Raymond Bonner, Rebels in Sri Lanka Fight with Aid of Global Market in Light Arms, New York Times, March 7, 1998.
42 BTA News Agency, reprinted by Kontinent (Sofia), March 24, 1995, in FBIS, East Europe, November 14, 1995.
43 Human Rights Watch interviews with Bulgarian journalists, Sofia, February 1999.
44 Mark Honigsbaum and Anthony Barnett, UK Firms in African Arms Riddle, Observer (London), January 31, 1999. See also, Raymond Bonner, Bulgaria Becomes a Weapons Bazaar, New York Times, August 3, 1998; and Chris Gordon, Eastern Europe Aid Bolsters UNITA, Mail and Guardian (Johannesburg), distributed by Africa News Online, January 15, 1999. The forces backing the rebel Congolese Rally for Democracy (Rassemblement Congolais pour la Démocratie, RCD), which include troops from Uganda and Rwanda, have been responsible for massacres of civilians and other war crimes. See Human Rights Watch, Democratic Republic of Congo: Casualties of WarCivilians, Rule of Law, and Democratic Freedoms, A Human Rights Watch Short Report, vol. 11, no. 1, February 1999.
45 Human Rights Watch interviews with Bulgarian journalists, Sofia, February 1999.
46 Human Rights Watch interview with Dimitar Abadjiev, Member of Parliament (UDF), Sofia, February 8, 1999.