Thursday, August 13, 2009

War Crimes Justice -- The Wheels Grind, Slowly and Out of Sight

No, this post isn't about the people screaming bloody murder at the health care town halls around the country. Let other people deal with that phenomenon. This is about recent successes at the war crimes tribunal set up after Milosevic perpetrated genocide in the Balkans.

I recently read the memoir of Carla del Ponte, who for years was the chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). One passage stood out, and will probably never leave me: her description of the crimes of Milan Lukic, whom her prosecution team had dubbed "Lucifer" in its files. I won't recount them here, except to link to this item relating the happy news that he has actually been caught, tried and now sentenced to life in prison. His cousin Sredoje got 30 years, which was a light sentence.

As a side note, I loaned the book (Madame Prosecutor: Confrontations With Humanity's Worst Criminals and the Culture of Impunity) to a Serb friend of mine whom I know to be, by American standards, a left-of-Kucinich raving socialist. I thought she'd appreciate the opportunity to hear about the international efforts to bring to justice the people who had ruined her country. Her verdict: "Oh, she hates Serbs." She thought the court was focusing too much on Serb perpetrators and not enough on others.

Let this tribalism be a lesson to us all.


Blogger nolo said...

No kidding. And thanks for the insightful post.

10:29 AM  
Blogger charvakan said...

I knew a Kosovan Albanian who'd married an American and moved to the US. Even before the Bosnian war, he would, despite being perfectly rational and easygoing by nature, go absolutely apeshit over any suggestion that all Serbs weren't pathological liars and thugs. I knew then that the "former Yugoslavia" as it was then known was going to go through hell for a while.

3:47 PM  
Blogger Mike Swanson said...

Here's Noam Chomsky on the issue. It seems he might agree with your friend's point of view.

"The term 'genocide' as applied to Kosovo is an insult to the victims of Hitler. In fact it is revisionist to the extreme"

"In the year prior to the (NATO) bombing...about 2000 people were killed. According to the British, the most hawkish of the coalition up until January of 1999 the majority of the killings were by KLA guerillas who were coming in as they said to try to incite a harsh Serbian response (which they got) to appeal to western humanitarians to respond."

"I've gone through a ton of reporting on this. Almost invariably (the media) invert(s) the chronology. There were atrocities. The fact is that they were after the (NATO) bombing. The way it is presented is the atrocities took place and then we had to bomb to prevent genocide."

"The US did sign the genocide convention after 40 years. It ratified it, but it ratified it with a reservation saying 'inapplicable to the United States.' That was the case that Clinton brought to the world court (in case brought by Yugoslavia). The US was excused from the case on the grounds that it grants itself the right to commit genocide."

"I thought (Miloseic) was terrible.(He) deserves to be tried for crimes, but this trial was never going to hold up. It was a farce. In fact they are lucky that he died. Now you can build up an image of how he would've been convicted as another Hitler. Now you don't have to do it."

"The charges against Milosevic would never have held up. He was originally indicted on the Kosovo charges. The indictment was issued right in the middle of the bombing...however if you look at the indictment, almost the entire indictment was for crimes committed after the bombing."

Interview part 1 here:

3:25 AM  

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