As the world's media circus prepares for the show-trial of Saddam Hussein, here's a reminder of another trial that the New World Order is less keen to publicise these days. I wrote this piece for The Guardian eighteen months ago- and since then developments at The Hague have become even more farcical. All impartial observers (and I don't mean those from the IWPR)- who have followed developments on a regular basis will agree that the prosecution have abjectly failed to prove their case. But since when have the NWO allowed a little thing like absence of evidence to hold them back? Remember, the trial is brought to you by the same people who assured us that Iraq possessed WMDs....
The Milosevic trial is a travesty
Political necessity dictates that the former Yugoslavian leader will be found guilty - even if the evidence doesn't
Neil Clark Thursday February 12, 2004
It is two years today that the trial of Slobodan Milosevic opened at The Hague. The chief prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, was triumphant as she announced the 66 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity and genocide that the former Yugoslavian president was charged with. CNN was among those who called it "the most important trial since Nuremburg" as the prosecution outlined the "crimes of medieval savagery" allegedly committed by the "butcher of Belgrade". But since those heady days, things have gone horribly wrong for Ms Del Ponte. The charges relating to the war in Kosovo were expected to be the strongest part of her case. But not only has the prosecution signally failed to prove Milosevic's personal responsibility for atrocities committed on the ground, the nature and extent of the atrocities themselves has also been called into question.
Numerous prosecution witnesses have been exposed as liars - such as Bilall Avdiu, who claimed to have seen "around half a dozen mutilated bodies" at Racak, scene of the disputed killings that triggered the US-led Kosovo war. Forensic evidence later confirmed that none of the bodies had been mutilated. Insiders who we were told would finally spill the beans on Milosevic turned out to be nothing of the kind. Rade Markovic, the former head of the Yugoslavian secret service, ended up testifying in favour of his old boss, saying that he had been subjected to a year and a half of "pressure and torture" to sign a statement prepared by the court. Ratomir Tanic, another "insider", was shown to have been in the pay of British intelligence.
When it came to the indictments involving the wars in Bosnia and Croatia, the prosecution fared little better. In the case of the worst massacre with which Milosevic has been accused of complicity - of between 2,000 and 4,000 men and boys in Srebrenica in 1995 - Del Ponte's team have produced nothing to challenge the verdict of the five-year inquiry commissioned by the Dutch government - that there was "no proof that orders for the slaughter came from Serb political leaders in Belgrade".
T o bolster the prosecution's flagging case, a succession of high-profile political witnesses has been wheeled into court. The most recent, the US presidential hopeful and former Nato commander Wesley Clark, was allowed, in violation of the principle of an open trial, to give testimony in private, with Washington able to apply for removal of any parts of his evidence from the public record they deemed to be against US interests.
For any impartial observer, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that Del Ponte has been working backwards - making charges and then trying to find evidence. Remarkably, in the light of such breaches of due process, only one western human rights organisation, the British Helsinki Group, has voiced concerns. Richard Dicker, the trial's observer for Human Rights Watch, announced himself "impressed" by the prosecution's case. Cynics might say that as George Soros, Human Rights Watch's benefactor, finances the tribunal, Dicker might not be expected to say anything else.
Judith Armatta, an American lawyer and observer for the Coalition for International Justice (another Soros-funded NGO) goes further, gloating that "when the sentence comes and he disappears into that cell, no one is going to hear from him again. He will have ceased to exist". So much then for those quaint old notions that the aim of a trial is to determine guilt. For Armatta, Dicker and their backers, it seems that Milosevic is already guilty as charged.
Terrible crimes were committed in the Balkans during the 90s and it is right that those responsible are held accountable in a court of law. But the Hague tribunal, a blatantly political body set up and funded by the very Nato powers that waged an illegal war against Milosevic's Yugoslavia four years ago - and that has refused to consider the prima facie evidence that western leaders were guilty of war crimes in that conflict - is clearly not the vehicle to do so.
Far from being a dispenser of impartial justice, as many progressives still believe, the tribunal has demonstrated its bias in favour of the economic and military interests of the planet's most powerful nations. Milosevic is in the dock for getting in the way of those interests and, regardless of what has gone on in court, political necessity dictates that he will be found guilty, if not of all the charges, then enough for him to be incarcerated for life. The affront to justice at The Hague over the past two years provides a sobering lesson for all those who pin so much hope on the newly established international criminal court.
The US has already ensured that it will not be subject to that court's jurisdiction. Members of the UN security council will have the power to impede or suspend its investigations. The goal of an international justice system in which the law would be applied equally to all is a fine one. But in a world in which some states are clearly more equal than others, its realisation looks further away than ever.