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Milosevic, Karadzic and, now, Seselj, are innocent victims

I said that? It's an inquisition because it's one sided, not because those it's prosecuting individuals who are innocent. Although I would remind you that the foundation of criminal law is that a suspect is innocent until proven guilty.

I also wonder how the judges and jury can be impartial given the media's unrelenting lynching of the suspects. In any descent "Western" court this would be a serious cause for concern which could result in an acquittal.

So, Seselj's trial is adjourned and he's kept in jail for an indefinite period of time after already having served 6 years because the prosecution alleges that witnesses are being harassed. But Haradinaj is left to walk free after 9 witnesses are murdered. How can you say that the court is not impartial?

by vladimir on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 07:26:01 AM EST
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I also wonder how the judges and jury can be impartial given the media's unrelenting lynching of the suspects. In any descent "Western" court this would be a serious cause for concern which could result in an acquittal.

No it wouldn't. Every single time the secret police rounds up a bunch of brown people, they run around in the gutter press telling more or less far-fetched stories about how dangerous these particular brown people are.

While that's certainly a democratically questionable practise (to put it rather mildly - IMO they ought to report only that they've arrested so-and-so many people in this-and-that city, on such-and-such charges, and save the speculation for the court...), that's not usually the grounds for acquittal.

Usually, the grounds for acquittal is that the brown people in question have not, in fact, done anything proscribed by the law. And while the tendency on part of the secret police to round up more or less innocent brown people without enough evidence to convict is certainly troubling, that's something of a different story.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 07:43:42 AM EST
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Erratum. Should read:
How can you say the court is impartial...
by vladimir on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 07:43:59 AM EST
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Did I say the court is impartial?

What I just said is

Whether they can be (or, in the case of Milosevic, could have been) convicted of war crimes or crimes against humanity in a fair trial is a different matter, and it is possible that they cannot. Certainly the prosecution has bungled some of the cases and give the appearance of less than fair trial. And, to me, it is maybe better to let a war criminal go than to taint international law with a string of sham trials.
I have said on several occasions and not just on this thread that they give the appearance not to be.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 07:52:50 AM EST
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because it's one sided
And it's one-sided why? Because it only prosecutes Serbs? That is plainly not the case.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 07:53:58 AM EST
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Yesterday there was a meeting in Serbia. The Croatian prime minister came to Serbia giving in 1 million euros worth of translation of documents necessary for negotiations with EU, offering help in the process of negotiations and promising that Croatia never ever will prejudice the border with Serbia as Slovenians are doing with Croatia now (If some court decides to do a precedent and assigns some territories to Slovenia, it would provoke the avalanche in which Croatia and others could ask for new territories added on the same precedent). He was welcomed with photos of Seselj, and anti-Croatian transparents. Their arguments were the same as Vladimirs, just they were openly showing themselves as Seselj's followers. Serbian politicians still claim that Croatia is not safe for Serbian people. It is very sad because I see that these convictions of theirs of being harassed still persist and will not stop ever. I can't do more than bring here my Serbian friends who live there with me all my life to tell how they feel, but I guess you could say that you don't have the proof who they are. If somebody shop gets robbed and devastated, you can say that it is just one more shop being robbed and you can also say that this is a proof that somebody is being harassed because of his nationality. There are no proofs, so one can not demonstrate anything.

I can tell you about my first boyfriend, his cousin (already mentioned Jelena) and his godmother - we were all in the same class, we lived together in the same big building and my grandparents were family friends of theirs. Because of a surname in my family that sounded Serbian, Jelena thought that we were Serbs also. She was telling me that 'we' are in danger because after the independence one rock group was singing the song 'Croatian rose'. That group did not have any connection with Ustashe whatsoever. She did not believe that people were celebrating the independence gained but that necessarily means that they are put to danger.  I told her so but she said that all those who pronounce the word Croat are killers. It was the last that she spoke to me. My first boyfriend left me waiting for him under the street lamp as we agreed, not knowing that they will flee that night. In the next couple of weeks the other two girls stop talking to me. I thought I did something very bad to them that I do not understand until they disappeared and the rest of Serbs disappeared from the class also (all before the shooting). I can't say about the others but since I was around these families 24/7 living in the same building, parents working together, we in the same class I am 100% positive that nobody ever did anything to them. After the war Jelena told me on the phone he sends big greetings for me and he is married, opening some firm in Serbia with his father, ex Yugoslav army commander.

In Serbia, they were treated as refugees. I also fled from that territory later because, besides of constant shooting the schools were ruined so I continued my education in the capital. For escaping from our homes they gave us free public transport while we were living temporary in our friend's houses in Zagreb. At the end, for that heavy shooting, the majority of population, Serb or Croat fled from those regions being sheltered somewhere. Just that Serbs more often had families in Serbia and Croats had more often families in Croatia to go to, although there were examples vice versa too. Now, those who fled to Serbia are counted as refugees and those who did it within Croatia not! After the worst shooting passed, The Croatian capital could not support any more such quantity of people and public services were collapsing, they remove us al privileges and forced us to return although there were still occasional shootings since we had improvised school 1 street away from occupied zone. Since several times it happened, they had a special place to hold concerts and other public gatherings because during the ceasefire they liked to throw 1-2 grenades in the mass of people.

During Yugoslavia, majority of people were getting flats from the state. There were many people moving between republics for work and there were many Serb and Croat families in possession of flats in various republics whit the right to reside. So, because of the war, there were many exchanges of those flats to reside between opposite nationalities. A lot of these flats in the central part of Croatia that was not under the direct danger of war were sold to Croats who fled from war areas but, since they had their new homes were not considered in numbers of those fled without homes.

Now, since in 91-92 Croatian towns in the war zone emptied because of shooting, leaving only armed people who were defending the territory, I suppose that it happened the same with territories occupied by Serbs because they were receiving heavy counterfire in 92 also after Croatia got all those arms and organized its defense better. Serbs had under control then pure Serb villages as well as others that were mixed and some pure Croatian from which all Croats escaped till then. There is no way that the normal Serb population stayed there under that fire in '92 because they were living in villages without shelters and majority would die.

So, now, comparing with Wikipedia, I find some contradictory data:

As Vladimir said and as I assure you, there were a lot of Serbs escaping before the shootings. Majority of Serbs in my class disappeared. But then, according to Wikipedia, there was larger percentage of Serbs in Croatia in '91. than in '81. You can expect that the percentage fluctuates 1% in normal times, but with so many fled to Serbia, it did not reflect the percentage of Serbs in Croatia then?!

How many did you say fled during the operations of the Storm and Flash in '95? All those people were living there since always, including under heavy bombings when all Croats escaped even from non occupied territories around? Or a part of them came in the years when the shootings were over?

So please tell me which facts should be corrected:  the ratios of people escaped en various moments, or that Croatia really was not putting in danger Serbian civilians living there not even during the heaviest war?

by SteelLady on Sat Mar 21st, 2009 at 09:00:32 AM EST
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