April 2002

Updated July 10, 2020 | Infoplease Staff


  • Fighting Escalates Between Israelis and Palestinians (April 2): Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon says he would allow Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat to leave his besieged Ramallah headquarters if he went into exile. Arafat refuses the proposal, saying he “would rather die.” (April 3): More than 400 Israeli tanks enter Nablus, largest city in the West Bank, and Jenin, bulldozing buildings and questioning suspected militants. Palestinians retaliate with gunfire.
  • Palestinians Seek Refuge in Church (April 2): More than 250 Palestinians hole up in the Church of the Nativity from Israeli incursion.
  • UNITA Rebels and Angolan Government Sign a Cease-fire (April 4): Agreement ends civil war that has ravaged the country since Angola's independence from Portugal in 1975. Accord reached six weeks after the death of UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi.
  • Sri Lankan Rebel Leader Expresses Hope for Peace (April 10): In a rare public appearance, Tamil Tiger chief Velupillai Prabhakaran says he supports the Norwegian-mediated cease-fire and would participate in peace talks if the Sri Lankan government ends its ban on the group.
  • International Criminal Court Wins UN Ratification (April 11): Court will try criminals charged with genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression. The U.S. refuses to ratify the treaty, saying Americans overseas may be unfairly targeted.
  • Truck Bomb Kills 19 in Tunisia (April 11): Victims include 14 German tourists. Intelligence officials suspect al-Qaeda responsible.
  • Venezuelan President Ousted (April 12): Hugo Chávez forced by military officers to resign after massive street protests turn violent. (April 14): Chávez returns to power amid international criticism of the coup and overwhelming support from Venezuela's poor.
  • Palestinian Suicide Bomber Strikes in Jerusalem (April 13): Six killed at a bus stop. Secretary of State Colin Powell postpones a meeting with Yasir Arafat.
  • Former Guerilla Leader Elected President of East Timor (April 14): José Gusmão wins in a landslide. Will become the country's first president when independence is officially declared in May.
  • Israel Begins West Bank Withdrawal (April 15): Responding to plea by President Bush, Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon begins to pull out of some towns.
  • Pope Summons Cardinals to Rome (April 15): Pontiff calls unprecedented meeting to discuss the sex-abuse scandal that has shaken the Roman Catholic Church in the U.S.
  • Dutch Government Resigns (April 16): Prime Minister Wim Kok and his coalition step down after an investigation concludes that the government and military leaders should have been able to prevent the 1995 massacre of Bosnian Muslims by Bosnian Serbs at Srebrenica.
  • Nigeria to Receive Looted Funds (April 17): Family of former military rule Sani Abacha to return about $1 billion that was embezzled and stashed in Swiss banks.
  • Former Afghan King Returns to Homeland (April 18): Mohammad Zahir Shah arrives in Kabul after 29 years in exile.
  • France's Rightist Candidate to Face Chirac (April 21): Jean-Marie Le Pen polls ahead of Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, placing second in the first round of France's presidential election.
  • U.S. Cardinals Condemn Sexual Abuse by Priests (April 24): Communique released after unprecedented two-day meeting at Vatican results in policy to oust notorious predators.
  • Vote Gives Musharraf Another Five Years (April 30): Voters approve a referendum to extend the Pakistani military leader's presidency for another five years.


  • U.S. Lawyer Charged with Aiding Terrorist (April 9): Lynne Stewart indicted for allegedly helping client Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind Egyptian sheik convicted of planning the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, to pass messages to other terrorists.
  • Bush Calls for Total Ban on Human Cloning (April 10): Urges Senate to pass legislation forbidding procedure for both reproductive and research purposes.
  • Senate Passes Election Reform Bill (April 11): Votes, 99–1, to set national election standards.
  • Ohio Congressman Convicted (April 11): James Traficant found guilty of bribery, racketeering, tax evasion, and obstruction of justice.
  • U.S. and Cincinnati Agree on New Police Policy (April 12): Pact, signed a year after protests erupted over the shooting deaths of 15 black suspects by police, calls for more patrol officers, improved inquiries into civilian complaints, and more police training.
  • Senate Rejects Arctic Drilling (April 19): Measure to permit oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge defeated, 46–54.
  • Top Bush Aide Resigns (April 23): Karen Hughes, president's confidant, director of communications, and spokeswoman, says her husband and son miss Texas home. She plans to advise Bush from Austin.
  • Senate and House Agree on Farm Bill (April 26): Measure, which tops $100 billion, will increase subsidies to farmers and fund conservation programs.
  • House Supports Splitting INS (April 26): Votes, 405–9, to divide agency's roles between two new bureaus, one for immigration services and one for enforcement.


  • Plane Crashes into Milan Skyscraper (April 18): Three die and dozens injured when a small private craft hits the city's tallest building.
  • Actor Charged with Wife's Murder (April 22): Robert Blake pleads not guilty to 2001 shooting death of wife, Bonny Lee Bakley.
  • Rapper Killed in Honduras Accident (April 25): Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes of hip-hop band TLC dies when the SUV she was driving veers off a road.
  • German Student Kills 18 in School Shooting (April 26): Robert Steinhäuser, 19, recently expelled, murders students, teachers, and staff member before turning the gun on himself in Erfurt.

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