Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Will Justice Ever Be Done at The Hague?



This article of mine appears in The First Post.

"One of the worst men in the world, the Osama bin Laden of Europe, has been captured". That was the verdict of an ecstatic Richard Holbrooke, former US envoy to the Balkans, on the arrest of Radovan Karadzic (pictured above).

But no one should think that justice is done and dusted with Karadzic's capture.

While the massacre of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica by Bosnian Serb forces was by far the most terrible single atrocity committed in the Balkan wars of the 1990s, other parties to the conflict were guilty of dreadful crimes too - crimes that have largely gone unpunished.

For the West, it seems that only crimes in which Serbs are the perpetrators are of interest. There was little media coverage of the killing of up to 1,000 Serbs by Bosnian forces led by Naser Oric, which preceded Srebrenica. 'Operation Storm', in which 200,000 Serbs were forcibly driven from their homes in Croatia, has also been airbrushed out of history.

And what of the prima facie evidence that Nato forces were guilty of war crimes – the bombing of a passenger train at Grdelica gorge and the RTS television studios in Belgrade, which together took the lives of 30 civilians in April 1999?

If the treatment of other Serbian defendants at The Hague is anything to go by, his chances of receiving a fair trial look remote. The trial of Slobodan Milosevic descended into farce as a succession of 'smoking gun' prosecution witnesses turned out to be damp squibs. After four years of proceedings, the prosecution palpably failed to land a blow - and it was a mighty relief for his accusers when Milosevic died in custody.

Many have claimed that Karadzic's arrest will lead to closure.

But 'justice' selectively applied to only one party in a conflict is only likely to increase Serbia's sense of victimhood - and prevent long-term reconciliation.


UPDATE: Meanwhile, despite the arrest of Karadzic, the bullying of Serbia continues.

42 comments:

neil craig said...

More important than Serbia's victimhood is the New World Order's triumphalism.

The NATO powers have ridden roughshod over international law & their own signature of the Helsinki Treaty (which guarantees they will take not action against the territorial integrity or unity" of other signatories). The Iraq war was, in those terms, merely a confirmation that international law & treaties are worthless as a defence against them.

When law & treaties are powerless then only force remains. Iran & North Korea clearly know that Yugoslavia decided in the 1970s, to forgo their own Bomb. The lesson of Yugoslavia will be understood wherever NATO countires make promises. We have made the world a much more dangerous place. The value to us of owning Kosovo & Bosnia does not compare to the cost, but then cost is paid by ordinary people & triumphs enjoyed by rulers.

Whether Oric killed as few as 1,0000 or the 3.800 named by the Serbs & whther anything like the claimed number of Moslem deaths occurred could be determined by DNA testing, which in the intervening years has become sensitive enough to determine probable ethnicity. For reasons on which we can only speculate the ICTY refuses to do such tests.

Anonymous said...

Well said, Craig.

I wonder which action will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Such humiliation cannot last forever.

Anonymous said...

Neil Clark

There is a simple test I use to decide if a journalist is a member of the Corporate Media Club. When discussing Srebrenica they always repeat the same mantra:

“the massacre of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica was the worst crime in Europe since WW2”

There is of course no evidence that any “boys” were killed and very little evidence that anyone was “massacred” let alone 8000 people.

The names, photographs and forensic reports of 3500 Serbian civilians butchered by Bosnian Moslems in and around Srebrenica are publicly available for anyone who cares to know what really happened in that small Bosnian town.

Alternatively, you could get your information from CNN and the BBC.

vladimir gagic said...

Don't forget the Haradaj fiasco too. But in any event, Serbia had no choice but to arrest Milosevic, Karadzic, eventually Mladic, and anyone else the US orders Serbia to arrest. It could be a random street vendor, and if the US wants them, Serbia will eventually have to give them up. Justice is in the interest of the strong. The Palestinians never learned that lesson, and that is why they are poor and humiliated after 60 years. The American Indians never learned that lesson, and they are still poor after 200 years. It's enough to make me sick to my stomach.

Dan, portsmouth said...

Don't agree with you Neil. may be I should avoid your Balkans articles.

Bjarte said...

Mr. Neil,

I hope you are all right. Seems like you are. Karadzic is guilty as was Milozevic, and justice will be done in The Hague. It will be a fair enough trial. That is one of two sides. The other one is the western demonisation of Serbian motivation, involvement and general ethics during the Bosnian and Yugoslavian war. I think you are mixing these two sides.

The process of lustration seems to be oddly necessary for ‘ex-troubled states’ - and especially Eastern Europe. It concerns taking a stand to former perpetrators, even if you personally might define them as good guys. They are anyhow obstructing the moving on. This one is the Serbian lustration. But it does not mean that any other Bosnian nationalities or any other post Yugoslavian states are not to blame.

Take care

Anonymous said...

Notice how the americans dont get the airtime and media interest as war criminals as do the like of Karadzic, who get smeared across the MSM. Rule of thumb: any person who gets treated as Karadzic by the MSM are probably innocent.

Worse crimes were committed by the faceless men behind the NATO forces. Worse crimes are being committed today in Iraq and Afghanistan and aided by the media.

Brian

Bob said...

People of all nationalities have been tried and convicted at the war crimes trials in the Hague and in Sarajevo.

You are right that atrocities were carried out by people of all nationalities. It is significant that a policy of war crimes - the strategy of ethnic cleansing - was that of the Chetnik forces in Croatia and Serbia. (I don't say Serb forces as in Bosnia many Serbs fought with the multi-ethnic Bosnian army.)

olching said...

A good article, Neil, and good follow-up by Neil Craig.

I have spent the last 48 hours arguing. I've heard the expression 'better than nothing' countless times (the most recent instance this morning on Radio 4). It is obvious to any thinking individual that victor's justice is not better than anything. It fosters animosity and hatred.

But then western intervention has never been about problem solving, but about management and exploitation. Karadzic should answer to accusation in Bosnia, not in a Kangaroo court in The Hague.

It is a sad process to watch. The west is yet again sowing the seeds of discontent and will act perplexed when all the frustration and anger boils over (yet again). How can the west get it so consistently wrong?

That western intervention has nothing to do with helping is all to apparent. Take Iraq and Afghanistan and contrast that with Saudi Arabia.

The insensitivity and ahistoricism applied in the Balkans is disastrous, has been, and will continue to be just that.

Anonymous said...

@Bob

Many Muslims fought in the VRS. Chetnik is an old term to describe royalist guerrilla fighters who fought the Nazis during WW2 (and the communists afterward)... unless you are claiming that the political establishments of Tudjman and Izebegovic are the equivalent of Nazi Germany and the political establishment of Karadzic is the equivalent to the Yugoslav monarch, the term has no place here.

tim said...

Neil.
I'm delighted that you are no longer peddling the view that 2-4000 people died at Srebrenica.
Why are you now using the figure of 8000?

KNaylor said...

The idea that two wrongs do not make a right seems to have been forgotten here. Neil Clark does nothing to deny that Karadzic and Maldic were responsible for Srebrenica. The fact that Oric also carried out crimes against the Serbs should not be forgotten too. But the logic here is strange.

The idea that just because Oric has not been given a trial or that because NATO bombings killed people and intensified the killing on the ground during the Kosovo War, then Karadzic should not have one either is no different to suggesting that because the Allies committed crimes during WW that there should have been no Nuremburg Trials.

This is curious given the fact that was the Nuremburg Trials led to the principle of the 'supreme crime' of invading a nation is always cited by Clark, Pilger, Milne et al in order to condemn the USA and UK. Perhaps there should not have been any attempt to put the Nazi elite on trial because it was victors justice and because of what the Allies did in Dresden.

The Nuremburg Trials were hardly fair either because one of the main prosecutors was the Soviet Union which was equally as murderous as the Nazi regime, ran the largest network of concentration camps anywhere in the world, had jointly invaded Poland in 1939, had invaded Finland and the Baltics.

Curiously such facts are forgotten when Milne starts invoking the Nuremburg Trials or trying to airbrush such tactical necessities out of history. Sounds a bit like doublethink.

Yet when it comes to the former Yugoslavia doublethink is rife too. Clark is correct to mention some of the facts like Oric's massacre but to claim it was not mentioned in the media is not true. Picking up my copy of the Fall of Yugoslavia by Misha Glenny, a BBC correspondent, I find the following on page 273

'While it is true that the Bosnian Army commander Nasir Oric once the bodygurd of Slobadan Milosevic and one of the few Muslims under investigation for possible war crimes, used Srebrenica as a base for raiding serb villages up towards Bratunac and that countless Serb civilians were slaughtered in these raids, this will never justify the systematic mass murder that accompanied the conquest of beseiged towns by the Bosnian Serb army'.

There. Not so difficult to reason like that is it ?

pierre said...

"Yet when it comes to the former Yugoslavia doublethink is rife too. Clark is correct to mention some of the facts like Oric's massacre but to claim it was not mentioned in the media is not true. Picking up my copy of the Fall of Yugoslavia by Misha Glenny, a BBC correspondent, I find the following on page 273"

1. A BOOK IS NOT MEDIA. Much less page 273! PEOPLE DO NOT READ BOOKS ANYMORE. These wars in Yugoslavia were fought as much in the NEWSPAPERS as they were on the battlefied. NATO leaders and Bosnian Muslims and Croats were playing on the good intentions and/or profit motives of people in the West. Also, newspapers by presenting it in a simple one sided affair of good v. evil could sensationalize stories to revive their dying business.

2. Everyone mentions conceedingly that there were "crimes" on all sides yet who on the bosnian muslim and croat side has been vigorously prosecuted to the extent the Serbs have?

3. Regarding Karadjic, since NATO and the rest of the world insist on trying him at ICFY, why is everyone finding him guilty already? At least let the kangaroo court find him guilty first to butress your feelings on the subject. If two wrongs dont make a right as some riteously claim on this site, then don't deny someone's rights under the law no matter what he's done. Good reasoning indeed.

One final note. I'VE LEARNED NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS WHEN IT COMES TO THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA. ANYONE WHO CLAIMS TO HAVE FIGURED IT OUT, IS LOOKING TO PROFIT FROM IT - JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE THROUGHOUT THE CENTURIES IN THAT REGION.


I've said it before, Neil. Thank you for your good work.

Anonymous said...

Here is the RS Srebrenica report that Ashdown made them rewrite this is the original and presents a much differnet picture then the corrupt New world order media presented.

PDF :

http://www.slobodan-milosevic.org/documents/srebrenica.pdf

Anonymous said...

@KNaylor

The fact that Oric was released and then acquitted proves that Karadzic will not be given a fair trial.

The fact that Karadzic had no contact with Mladic during the Srebrenica massacre and that he had nothing to do with Kosovo proves that you know NOTHING (more then mindless propaganda) of Karadzic or his supposed crimes.

Jock McTrousers said...

" While the massacre of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica by Bosnian Serb forces was by far the most terrible single atrocity committed in the Balkan wars of the 1990s..."

Neil - you've been one of the best writers on Yugslavia for years, in the Morning Star and elsewhere, so it's extremely depressing to see you come out with stuff like this.

" The names, photographs and forensic reports of 3500 Serbian civilians butchered by Bosnian Moslems in and around Srebrenica are publicly available for anyone who cares to know what really happened in that small Bosnian town." Anonymous

'Anonymous' for good reason. Not TRUE! As I prove below.

I have no doubt that some massacres took place - the Dutch government report has plenty of eyewitness accounts, unlikely to be complete fabrications - but I've seen no evidence that this was more than dozens here and there, at most, sporadic and spontaneous, and not systematic. Not nice, but par for the course in a bloody civil war - Srebrenica had been used as a base for the murderous terrorising of nearby Serb villages, for years.

But, so far there has been NOT ONE body identified as having been summarily executed by Serbs at Srebrenica.. So far only 45 bodies from the missing list have been identified from sites around Srebrenica - see the link to the forensic evidence submitted to the ICTY below - with the cause of death, or who did the killing, not ascribed. Since then, there has been a constant drip, drip, in the media, mostly for the (NATO front) International Committee on Missing Persons, claiming thousands of new identifications - in the words of the chief Operating Officer of the ICMP, on 12 Mar 2007 ( see below for details and link), the ICMP does not establish date, place or cause of death, or ethnicity. So it is inappropriate to claim that the bodies identified (if accurate; he also admits that the ICMP's procedures aren't transparent) were summarily massacred by Serbs after the fall of Srebrenica.


The forensic evidence submitted to the ICTY is available on an Anti-Serbian -' Balkan Witness Debate: the Srebrenica Massacre ' - website on the internet at

http://tinyurl.com/2vbdno ( Scroll down to page 90, Annex B: positive identifications, and count them for yourself - I make it 45, with manner of death, and who did the killing, not ascribed)

The forensic evidence, presented to the ICTY, DOES date from 2000, but the website was last updated on Dec 12, 2007 - so I assume that, on such a virulently anti-Serbian site, if there WAS any more substantial, concrete evidence, they would be shouting about it. But the most important point is that, for years before the ICTY kangaroo courts, and ever since, the media have been presenting the figure of 8000 as a proven fact.

The International committee for missing persons is a Nato creation, staffed almost entirely by Nato personnel( listed on their website), and so should be discounted as an objective authority - it is just a propaganda vehicle - they claim that there are 2000 + identified dead from Srebrenica without offering any evidence. If they really did have evidence, it would be screaming at us from all our media - instead they offer us a film of some guys getting out of a van, somewhere, and ask us to believe that this proves 8000 were killed at Srebrenica - pull the other one!
Yes, the International Committee of the Red Cross have missing lists - what does that prove? The missing lists were compiled by the Serbs' enemies - they are propaganda, and even if they were accurate they prove nothingl


.On 14 March 2007, Glasgow's 'Scotsman' newspaper posted, on its website, an interview with Adam Boys, ICMP's Chief Operating Officer and Director of Finance since September 2000 at:

http://tinyurl.com/6re88b ( the interview has disappeared, but the blog discussion, in which Boys participates, which is the imporant bit, is still there)

Balkan Witness, a site dedicated to rubbishing the work of Parenti, Herman, Johnstone et al posts a link to this, I guess as the most up-to date evidence of the 8000 figure, under the banner:

"To date the ICMP has positively identified about 3000 bodies of Srebrenica victims and has partial remains of about 1000 more. The ICMP still predicts that about 8000 were killed in the massacre. "

A blog debate follows in which Boys participated, In his replies to posts #33 and #34 Adam Boys
stated (in posts 37 and 38):

"The date of death, manner of death, and who did the killing are a matter for the courts. "

It will be a decision for the (Nato-appointed) regional governments whether a list of those identified from Srebrenica will be available online.

Asked whether there is: " a publicly accessible database, broken down by date of death, place remains found, cause of death, ethnicity (established by DNA from relatives) etc. details? "
Boys evades the question by answering " There is the ICRC list of missing. It does not show ethnicity. Neither do our records. " I take that as a NO.

Asked whether there are " scientific reports detailing the methodology, results and interpretations?"
Boys says yes. I look forward to these being made available for public scrutiny.

Those figure just seem to keep melting away, don't they.

And, in case anyone should bring up the Bosnian Serb 'confession' , I couldn't put it better than Ed Herman:
"But didn't the Bosnian Serbs "confess" that they had murdered 8,000 civilians? This has been the take of the Western media, but again demonstrating their subservience to their leaders' political agenda. The Bosnian Serbs actually did put out a report on Srebrenica in September 2002, [67] but this report was rejected by Paddy Ashdown for failing to come up with the proper conclusions. He therefore forced a further report by firing a stream of Republica Srpska politicians and analysts, threatening the RS government, and eventually extracting a report prepared by people who would come to the officially approved conclusions. [68] This report, issued on June 11, 2004, was then greeted in the Western media as a meaningful validation of the official line-the refrain was, the Bosnian Serbs "admit" the massacre, which should finally settle any questions. Amusingly, even this coerced and imposed report didn't come near acknowledging 8,000 executions (it speaks of "several thousand" executions). What this episode "proves" is that the Western campaign to make the defeated Serbia grovel is not yet terminated, and the media's continuing gullibility and propaganda service.

IS THAT PLAIN? Even the original missing list, never claimed there were 8000 MUSLIMS missing!

SUMMARY: AS OF MARCH 2007, THERE WERE 45 BODIES FROM SITES AROUND SREBRENICA IDENTIFIED AS BEING ON 'THE MISSING LIST', ETHNICITY NOT MADE EXPLICIT;. MORE BODIES MAY HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED, BUT IT IS NOT KNOWN WHETHER THEY WERE ON THE MISSING LIST, WHEN THEY DIED, WHO KILLED THEM, OR WHETHER THEY WERE SERBS OR MUSLIMS. IS THAT CLEAR?


Forensic evidence
http://tinyurl.com/2vbdno

Adam Boys Interview

http://tinyurl.com/6re88b

Nick said...

Do the crime, do the time; at the end of the day there's not much more to be said than that.

Anonymous said...

Jock mctrousers

I do not understand why you object to my post.

The murders of Serbians in and around Srebrenica were all investigated by Serbian police forensic scientists, by autopsy (Dr Zoran Stankovic and his team) and finally by the Coroner. The names of the murdered Serbs are known and their mutilated bodies can be exhumed if needed. The total number of Serbians killed in and around Srebrenica is approximately 3,500. In the small rural Serbian communities of eastern Bosnia this is a significant loss of life.

KNaylor said...

@Pierre.
Glenny's The Fall of Yugoslavia is a widely read book and I mentioned it simply to prove there is no universal conspiracy within organisations like the BBC to favour the Croats and Bosniaks.
It is also curious that those who like to claim there is some media conspiracy have such a low view of the masses who read newspapers as if they are all manipulated dolts and yet claim to be socialists or left wing.

The battle for international opinion is one thing but the facts are another. Reverse spinning acheives nothing and adds untruth to untruth.

No doubt the media was biased against the Serbs and not just because the Croats were far more open to the media as Glenny also claims in his book. But to use that as some pretext to swallow Serb nationalist propaganda is quite simply pathetic.

Our 'anonymous' commenter, perhaps some Serbian nationalist sympathiser demonstrates that when he fulminates over implicating Karadzic in Srebrenica. Karadzic was political leader of the Bosnian Serbs and responsible for perpetrating the ideology of Greater Serbia and order to 'pacify' non-Serb regions.

Karadzic may never have given a direct order to kill all the Muslim men and boys in villages he simply let it happen, knowing that his soldiers could be relied upon to do it and it would all just be in the 'heat of war'.

Moreover, ethnic cleansers such as Milan Lukic were protected by Karadzic during the Bosnian War because he was part of a criminal network called Preventiva responsible for trafficking narcotics. Lukic has been under investigation by the ICFY and surely nobody here is going to try and deny his role in the mass murder of civilians in Visegrad and the rape rooms.

Denying the culpability of Karadzic is similar to the logic David Irving uses when denying Hitler's culpability for the Final Solution but few would want to be compared with neo-Nazis in this context. Hitler did not really know what was being done as he gave no explicit order to committ genocide against the Jews. It is curious that those who are most keen to have NATO officials tried for war crimes where the responsibility for the deaths was hardly intentional are the first to deny that people like Karadzic or Mladic can really have known what was being perpetrated.

The reason they can justify their contortions is by invoking fake historical analogies. The Serbs fought the Nazis and the Croats were the 'real Fascists' so Serb nationalists can't really be that bad.

Pilger comes close to that when waffling on in his New Rulers of the World about Serbia's 'epic' resistance during WW2 as proff that the USA is the real Nazi like power in the Balkans. Naturally he can't be bothered to make a distinction between the Chetniks and the Partisans. This is the vice Orwell referred to as 'transferred nationalism'.

Failing all this the next strategy of evasion is to portray the ICTFY merely as a 'kangaroo court' but presumably no matter whether it was established by the great powers it still must follow the procedures of international law.

It was the ICTFY that got the forensic experts in to Bosnia to exhume the bodies. McTrousers makes more interesting claims about the figures which were put at 8000 and this was an exaggerated estimate. Even so this is a very complex business and the fact that the number did not take into the account the missing means it was false. Even so, Srebrenica did happen and Karadzic is still culpable.

The fairness of the trial will quite simply depend on the presentation of evidence in the case against Karadzic.

With regard the notion that the Serbs are being demonised there is no doubt that murky motives are in play. Del Ponte wanted Oric to serve extra time in prison but he was aquitted. War criminals from the KLA have not been punished too and even favoured and supported by the USA in positions of power in the Kosovan government .

Yet it should be remembered that many politicians might not want a trial of Karadzic too because they were also culpable in giving the Bosnian Serb leader a free hand to ethnically cleanse Muslim villages in order to 'simplify' the borders.

Warren Christopher, Clinton's national security advisor remarked 'rather than draw lines in a kind of higgledy-piggledy way that might make sense' given where the existing populations were they should 'do what we could to have a territory that was as simplified as possible'.

This is a very complex issue. It would be better if people stopped trying to use war crimes as some pretext to make tedious partisan political points and really did think about how justice might be best served without thinking that because it is never going to be perfect it is not even worth bothering about.

Princepetr said...

Kanylor said:
Glenny's The Fall of Yugoslavia is a widely read book and I mentioned it simply to prove there is no universal conspiracy within organisations like the BBC to favour the Croats and Bosniaks.


Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah

Great non-sequitur Knaylor. Man oh Man, I needed a good laugh!

Jock:

Great post

Neil

Why haven't you replied to Jocks' point about the insubstantiated 8,000 figure?

andrew said...

Re: my previous post insubstantiated should be "unsubstantiated"!

pierre said...

Knaylor - I am not "swallowing" any Serb propaganda. The Serbs are on the defensive and offering nothing in terms of propaganda. Denying unsubstantiated allegations is not propaganda...

It is the Bosniak/Croatian side that is engaging in propaganda. They are the ones making all sorts of wild allegations that have not been proven in court. And since the ICFY Court has been set up by the West to justify their actions, ALL ALLEGATIONS MUST BE PROVEN BY ADMISSIBLE EVIDENCE AND NOT BY UNSUBSTANTIATED ALLEGATIONS AND HEARSAY - i.e. propaganda.

You (and the "international community" as a whole)cannot expect someone to abide by international law and then you yourself forgo application of that same law because you think the other side deserved it. Let's see if these allegations stand up in court. I hope Karadjic is given a fair chance. But I'm sure this doesnt bother you, you've already made up your mind even though Karadjic has not had his day in court (Just like most UN and international officials - which is why that court is a farce in action).

Princepetr: Good job.

KNaylor said...

'Glenny's The Fall of Yugoslavia is a widely read book and I mentioned it simply to prove there is no universal conspiracy within organisations like the BBC to favour the Croats and Bosniaks'.

Er, no the point is, you dolt, that Glenny was BBC correspondent for the Balkans and nowhere in the book does Glenny suppress evidence of Croat and Bosniak crimes.

Your own presupposition is that there was some universal conspiracy.

I mentioned Glenny as just one example in the 'mainstream' press and media because some fanatical Serb nationalists really so think the BBC was part of some conspiracy against them.

In fact, when I went to Putney Libary to take out Glenny and work by Judah the book had propaganda stickers placed in then calling them 'NATO lackeys' etc etc.

The real logical absurdity comes with believing that the British government and the entire media systematically manipulated the public into supporting military action against the Serbs.

This is like something from David Icke.

Next what substantial difference does it make if 3,500 or 8000 were killed ? If it was just 1000 perhaps that would be just OK. Such deaths are just statistics after a while. Judah in the Serbs gives the figure of 3,500.He also mentions the CIA aid given to the mujahadeen.

Both Glenny and Judah are the most reliable and objective writers who are scathing of Western governments as well as of the warring parties in the Balkans and nobody comes out looking particulary good from the Third Balkan War.

serbialives admin said...

Wait a second Kanylor. How on earth do you conclude that there was no anti-Serb bias in the BBC based on the quote you gave from Glenny's book? Even if Glenny said such a thing, which he didn't in the text you quoted, what makes him the arbiter on the impartiality of the BBC? He's not impartial himself.

Jock McTrousers said...

anonymous - A MILLION APOLOGIES!

I'm embarrassed about that. I didn't notice you were writing about the Serb victims - couldn't see it for looking at it. Yes, I knew about that. I thought you were repeating the ICMP propaganda re Srebrenica.

Jock McTrousers said...

ANONYMOUS AGAIN - Thanks for the link to the original Serb Srebrenica report; I've never found it before.

olching said...

Hi Karl,

Micha Glenny's book is good (in an academic sense), but doesn't hide antipathies towards Serbs.

I find it quite difficult to find scholarship on the civil war that is not partisan in one way or another.

I'm not sure what Neil position is on the Nuremberg trials, but I certainly wouldn't regard them as pinnacle of international justice. I doubt John Pilger does. There is a school of thought that places Nuremberg at the beginning of a long line of western lead attempts to being justice without being able to step beyond either victor's jusice, selective justice, or both. I recommend Eugene Davidson, The Nuremberg Fallacy: Wars and Crimes since WWII. It's not a continuation of Versailles, because the aims are different, but the shortcomings make it difficult to separate Nuremberg out as different and special to subsequent trials.

Anonymous said...

Knaylor a case in point is Radio 4 this morning. They have a Muslim from Sarajevo speaking about "concentration camps" and how he survived the Serb atrocities.

Misha Glenny's book is not the press and media now, is it?

Why didn't we hear a Serb being interviewed on Radio 4 when Naser Oric was in the Hague or when he was freed on when his sentence was overturned????????

Now that would have gone some way to bringing the conflict into perspective and would have given you a much clearer picture of events in Bosnia.

I am not happy about the number of dead quoted in the article. Even "official" sources have revised that to 7.500. When a boy reaches the age of 18 he is a man everywhere in the world so the term boy does not wash here.

Jock McTrousers said...

Glenny's book not biased against Serbia? Pull the other one. He repeatedly refers to Serbia as 'the Land of Mordor' ( that's where the evil came from in Tolkein's 'Lord of the Rings'). He DOES throw in a bit of token impartiality here and there - he has to, for credibility, but it's just to give respectable veneer to what is essentially a work of NATO propaganda (I feel pretty confident that Glenny is MI6). It's a sort of travelog, with some musings on the war, and 'insights' gleaned from interviewees. There are obvious problems with the selective use of interviewees - partial choice and partial editing. Silber and Little's book is a perfect example of this, supported supposedly by the interviews in the BBC film they made - it's another stock propaganda work, often quoted by lazy journalists because it it the only one-volume narrative of the war (a narrative that manages to miss the ethnic cleansing of the Krajina), which is, however, a lot more measured in its judgements, e.g. on Srebrenica, than you might suspect from the hacks who quote it - I think you could fairly say this of Glenny too, but he's still basically a propagandist. It's a disgrace to the usually excellent London Review of Books that their only commentary on Yugoslavia came from Glenny.

Lukas said...

Knaylor, you are wholly incorrect regarding your Nuremburg analogy. Would Nuremburg have meant anything without the Soviet Union? Who suffered the worst of the war and occupation? Regardless of your opinion of Stalin, the NKVD etc. The Soviet Union had every right to sit in judgement along with The UK, France and the USA of the Nazis.
Whilst the Soviets did not 'invade Poland' in 1938. The Polish/Soviet War (started by Nationalist Poland) resulted in large parts of Belorussia and Ukraine becoming part of Poland. The Soviets re-occupied this, and in the process spared more than a million Jews from German occupation. The notion of the non agression pact being an 'alliance' is juvenile, even Winston Churchill acknowledged that, and he was no fan of Soviet Communism.

olching said...

Hi Jock,

Hope your post wasn't directed at me...I stated that Glenny's book was antipathetic towards Serbs; quite openly so, as you rightly state.

Anonymous said...

This is a blog but the links are to the BBC and Guardian. http://grayfalcon.blogspot.com/2008/07/combo-2-with-extra-cheese.html

The only book worth reading about Yugoslavia is Rebecca West's. Considering the book was published just before WWII it is a real eye opener.

All the rest is rubbish written for self aggrandisement of the authors, who suddenly become experts in matter they know nothing about, or are ready to skew the facts to justify the huge amounts of money they get to write such trash.

KNaylor said...

@Lukas

Knaylor, you are wholly incorrect regarding your Nuremburg analogy. Would Nuremburg have meant anything without the Soviet Union?

That depends on the meaning of the word s 'meant anything'. As far as justice is concerned the involvement of the Soviet Union ensured the Nuremburg Tribunals 'meant' less.

The chief prosecutor for the Soviet Union was Vyshinsky, i.e he of the Show Trials who send the Old Bolsheviks to their deaths with evidence fabricated and obtained through torture.

The Soviet Union obtained its right through might rather than through the application of international law. Stalin's Red Empire had effectively partitioned Central and Eastern Europe between it and the Third Reich. The partition of Poland had been agreed mutually between both totalitarian powers.

The date of the Soviet invasion, a fact not refuted by the use of scare quotes by the way, is 1939 not 1938.

'Who suffered the worst of the war and occupation?'

Poland and Belarus suffered atrociously and Poland was the first nation to be part of the Grand Alliance that defeated the Third Reich. Poland was given no voice, the evidence that the NKVD slaughtered 20,000 Polish reserve officers at Katyn was suppressed at Nuremburg.

So too was the fact that the supreme crime of aggression had been committed by the Soviet Union not only in Poland, not forgetting the mass deportation of Polish civilians to the Gulag from the Eastern part, but also the invasion of Finland which preceded the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union.

'Regardless of your opinion of Stalin, the NKVD etc.'

It is not just an 'opinion'.

'The Soviet Union had every right to sit in judgement along with The UK, France and the USA of the Nazis'.

After having collaborated with them up until the moment it was invaded ? Clearly if right is derived from might then they had that right. But it still means that the Nuremburg Trials were far more flawed than any attempt to put Karadzic in the dock at the Hague.

' The Polish/Soviet War (started by Nationalist Poland) resulted in large parts of Belorussia and Ukraine becoming part of Poland. The Soviets re-occupied this, and in the process spared more than a million Jews from German occupation'

No, it was not 'started' by Pilsudski but broke out because the frontiers between Poland and the Soviet Union to the East were not clearly drawn and Lenin had every intention of using Poland as a Red Bridge to link up with the Revolution in Germany. But the Poles did not want the Soviet system.

That's known as national self determination, often a cant phrase but a definite falsehood to the Bolsheviks who promised it and then coerced the nations subjugated by the Tsar into becoming parts of the

'The notion of the non agression pact being an 'alliance' is juvenile, even Winston Churchill acknowledged that, and he was no fan of Soviet Communism.'

Again the use of scare quotes around 'alliance' does not prevent it being collaboration which even the Comrades across Europe were utterly flabbergasted by as soon as they heard it. The non-aggression pact was only 'non-aggressive' is Poland as a sovereign state was seen as expendable.

Which of course it was by hard left apologists like Seumas Milne and Calvin Tucker for the Soviet Union who have never stopped fulminating that Poland gained its freedom fom the 'Eastern bloc' and that Solidarnosc's brace resistance against it precipitated the disintegration of half a century of totalitarian domination.

Lukas. Hmmm.

KNaylor said...

Glenny's book not biased against Serbia? Pull the other one. He repeatedly refers to Serbia as 'the Land of Mordor' ( that's where the evil came from in Tolkein's 'Lord of the Rings'). He DOES throw in a bit of token impartiality here and there - he has to, for credibility, but it's just to give respectable veneer to what is essentially a work of NATO propaganda (I feel pretty confident that Glenny is MI6)'

Please provide evidence if you feel 'pretty confident' that Glenny is MI6. Being 'fairly' or 'quite' confident is just an assumption and a smear without it.

There is a difference between bias and propaganda. Few if any individuals can be free from bias but the neat conflation between bias and propaganda is curious.

The reason the Serbs 'lost' the propaganda war was that they were not effective enough at convincing international opinion that they were not the sole aggressors because at the height of the war in Bosnia in 1992 and Bosnian Serb control, they believed that it just was not necessary as Greater Serbia was going to become a reality and nothing could stop them. In other words, might was right and the victims would be forgotten as ethnic borders became rationalised.

'It's a sort of travelog, with some musings on the war, and 'insights' gleaned from interviewees. There are obvious problems with the selective use of interviewees - partial choice and partial editing.'

He wrote it at the height of the war and putting 'insights' in scare quotes does not detract from the fact that Glenny was equally as critical of Tudjman as he was of Milosevic for driving the nationalistic forces that broke up Yugoslavia, not least the weird kind of cameraderie they and others spoiling for war showed between one another and the correspondence they sent about the killings. Almost as though bloodsports.

There is nothing partial about the interviews. The banality and criminality of Mladic is brought out from his own words.

Glenny is also highly critical of NATO in his later history of the The Balkans and the later bombing of Kosovo for misunderstanding the dynamic of conflict in the region.

The reason McTrousers does not like it is because it does not show there was some intentional plot by 'the West' to break up Yugoslavia from the beginning.

By swallowing Serb nationalist propaganda to that extent, it is necesary then to carry out the kind of crude hatchet job on Glenny's work of the kind Milne did on Robert Service's book Comrades when the apologist for Soviet totalitarianism claimed it was 'firmly in the neoconservative mould'.

In fact, the more objective and less ideological the journalism and version of history, the more dangerous it is to those who it the facts to the proscriptions of the ideological creed rather than following the evidence.

There are a number of reasons for this. Those who see a grand NATO plot to break up Yugoslavia rather than a series of blunders and misunderstandings in the early 1990s do so because they are still bitter that the Soviet Union collapsed and the workers paradise was no more or retained the vain delusion that it could be 'reformed' more along the lines that had been tried in Yugoslavia under Tito.

This IS propaganda because it does not accord to the most basic facts about how Yugoslavia broke up. The national tensions within Yugoslavia were repressed under Tito and when by the late 1980s it was clear that Communism was being weakened those like Milosevic sought to retain power by exploiting nationalism.

The Kosovo speech was made in 1989 BEFORE the collapse of the Soviet bloc. Milosevic knew which way the wind seemed to be blowing and fanned the flames of nationalism as a power strategy.

A certain idea of Yugoslavia as a Greater Serbia or 'Serboslavia' was aimed at by Milosevic who was able to exploit the greivances of Serbs in Croatia who were being made to feel uncomfortable by Tudjman's Croatian nationalism and provocative measures such as insisting on Croatian language signs in Serbian areas.

In many ways Greater Serbia played a part in a post-communist politics rather like Greater Russia did in the Soviet Union which is why Serb nationalism appeals to those like Kate Hudson who as erstwhile members of the Comunist Party in Britain need to believe that 'the West', NATO or hideous imperialists connived at the break up of what might have been a 'systemic alternative' to neoliberal capitalism.

The reality is that any such prospect was destroyed by extreme forms of nationalism, mass corruption and Milosevic's brand of crony capitalism. The Balkans after Communism became brutal anarcho-capitalist gangster regimes in which Arkan and Ceca were suitably hideous representatives.

tim said...

Neil.
You may have missed my question.
You used to cite the figure of 2-4000 dead at Srebrenica, now you cite 8000.
What has changed for you?

pierre said...

I just realized what this whole affair with Karadzic reminds me of... The witch scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The mob mentality and the bad logic accompanying it in the movie translate to all the accusations against Karadzic (and to Milosevic to an extent).

It's a fair cop, alright...

Anonymous said...

Knaylor said:


“…those like Milosevic sought to retain power by exploiting nationalism.

“The Kosovo speech was made in 1989 BEFORE the collapse of the Soviet bloc. Milosevic knew which way the wind seemed to be blowing and fanned the flames of nationalism as a power strategy.”


Knaylor is referring to President Milosevic’s speech in Kosovo in 1989. This speech has been widely condemned in the West Press as a Serbian nationalist rant and one of the main reasons for the Slovenes, Croats and Bosnian Moslems wanting to break away from Yugoslavia.

Western lies about the break-up of Yugoslavia started with this speech. The link below will take you to an English translation so that you can make up your own minds about Milosevic and not rely on a CNN/BBC “analysis”.

I challenge Knaylor to tell us what he finds objectionable about President Milosevic’s words. I suspect Knaylor will not rise to this challenge.

Preident Milosevic’s speech on St. Vitus Day (28 June 1989):

http://www.slobodan-milosevic.org/spch-kosovo1989.htm

Jock McTrousers said...

" The Kosovo speech was made in 1989 BEFORE the collapse of the Soviet bloc. Milosevic knew which way the wind seemed to be blowing and fanned the flames of nationalism as a power strategy."

"A certain idea of Yugoslavia as a Greater Serbia or 'Serboslavia' was aimed at by Milosevic who was able to exploit the greivances of Serbs in Croatia who were being made to feel uncomfortable by Tudjman's Croatian nationalism and provocative measures such as insisting on Croatian language signs in Serbian areas."

Same old lies! Just keep on repeating them... The Kosovo speech? You mean the one where he is supposed to have stirred up race hatred in Kosovo, but which all the readily available translations show him doing the opposite?

He 'exploited' the grievances of the Krajina Serbs? Or tried to defend the legitimate interest of the Krajina Serbs, and the Krajina Croats too?

He had a vision of a greater Serbia? Lebensraum for the master race? Or tried to defend the rights of coherent populations who wished to remain in the FRY, to secede from the seceders, as was their right under the constitution, and in accord with any sense of natural justice, until such a point as it was obviously a lost cause?

All the evidence points to the latter interpretations.

A corrupt crony capitalist? Quite possibly, but in the end he turned out a tragic hero!

vladimir gagic said...

I don't know where else to post this link, but I think its worth reading. I hope other agree:

http://www.agoravox.com/article.php3?id_article=8557

neil craig said...

Anon 3.27 What was done with Oric was worse than you said. He was not released & aquitted for the genocide of thousands of Serb villagers. He was released & aquitted for the torture & murder of 7 Serb soldiers. Despite the fact that NATO general Morrillon, among others, refered to it in the Milosevic "trial" the ICTY never brought any charges against him for the primary Srebrencia massacre - presumably doing so would ruin their case about all the bodies coming from the secondary massacre. This reinforces your point that Karadzic will not get a fair "trial"

Knalyor I am astonished that you can claim the BBC were not biased. I remember Newsnight asserting that Izetbegovic was "a moderate minded Moslem committed to a multiculatural state" & I don't think anybody could deny this was their general line. It is impossible that they were, at the time, unaware that he was in fact an (ex-)Nazi, former member of an organisationn that acted as auxiliaries to one of the least "moderate" units of the SS & that he was publicly committed, not to multiculturalism, but to genocide ("neither peace nor co-existence").

Your reasoning as to why Karadzic is a war criminal is also wrong. You accept there may be no actual evidence against him but defend prosecting him on the grounds that Hitler didn't know what was happening to the Jews - something which I personally doubt. The only actual crime of commission, you seem to accept, was supporting a Greater Serbia. Thsi is also the basis for many of the ICTY's charges. But this really means a belief that Serb majority areas, like Moslem majority of Croatian majority (or indeed French, American & British majosity areas) should have the freedom to decide what country they wanted to be in. National self determination is a right not a crime.

I do not think that anybody who believes Cornwall should be part of "Great Britain" not France is thereby guilty of a war crime.

Nice one Pierre.
No doubt some of the people listed as dead at Srbrenica who later appeared on election rolls explained

"They turned me into a corpse....I got better"

Jock McTrousers said...

On BBC's 6 o'clock News tonight, I heard an interview with some 'authority' on the Jill Dando killing, who explained that, Barry George having been cleared, the MOST LIKELY SUSPECTS WERE SERBS, seeking revenge for the bombing of Belgrade by getting a well-known British tv personality. It never ends!

On the subject of Jill Dando, why were the police looking for an 'obsessed loner'? Strikes me that the presenter of a tv show dedicated to putting people in jail might have some more obvious people with a grudge against her!

Lukas said...

Knaylor,
thankyou for youir quite comprehensive reply!
I think that there are a few fundamental differences of opinion here that to be honest will not be overcome on a blog comment section about Serbia..
For example your "opinion" not being opinion, but presumably (in your opinion!) fact.
Sadly I also hold my opinion highly, and consider it to be a highly plausible accounting of the avialable evidence, and information, but I concede it to be just that, as no-one has a monopoly on the truth.
I also apologise for hitting the 8 key instead of 9 in my date '1939' (they're next to each other you see).
As for the Soviet "collaberation with the Nazis" this is not relevant to the discussion of Nurenburg, as Britain and France's role in the Munich agreement was nothing but the a sacrifice of a soveriegn nation and the deliberate ignoring of the true nature of Nazi rule, combined with the intention of pushing German agression to the East. Whilst the US traded and invested in Nazi German businesses right up until the moment when it becam wholly ilegal and impractical. As I said regardless of your opinion, the Soviet Union had the same right to sit at Nuremburg as did the other allies.
But I really do respect your comprehensive reply, and regret not having the time, or the appropriate forum for a full and friendly discussion.