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Problems with organizing humanitarian intervention: Kosovo as a case

by Upstate NY Mon Mar 9th, 2009 at 02:54:15 PM EST

This diary is posted after reading papicek's excellent diary here: http://www.eurotrib.com/?op=displaystory;sid=2009/3/9/25517/00415
in which the case is made that certain global organizations such as the ICG may be highly effective methods for locating, assessing and predicting human rights abuses, and perhaps then also advising on a course of action.

My response: The ICG was highly in favor of the Kosovo intervention. Someone will have to explain to me how 1,500 deaths spread evenly between Serbs and Albanians over the prior two to three years constitutes a necessary intervention. I'm not seeing it at all. The negotiations at Rambouillet support my point-of-view.

The ICG is heavily tilted toward powerful global actors. To a degree, obviously, so is the UN. In Bosnia and Kosovo, we saw the UN taking on charges that were largely outside its scope, and often the charges were contradicted by its own employees and others in institutions it set up (such as the ICTY, UNHRW). UN Generals such as Morillon at the ICTY, prosecutors such as Del Ponte at the ICTY, investigators such as Helen Ranta, all showed that political games are played. I can point to a spirit of collaboration among certain powerful actors and the ICG right now that makes the ICG seem a political pawn.

I'm actually in favor of humanitarian intervention. I'm not so certain I want there to be pan-global organizations involved. So far, the abuse of such interventions in highly contested territory (Balkans, Georgia) has proven evident, while elsewhere (Africa) we have non-interventions.

Then we have to address the problems of preferring interventions over diplomacy, as in the case of Samantha Power. I read an essay of hers in the USA's TIME magazine from last year in which she projects some light on her vision of foreign policy problems in the future. She argues that Kosovo matters to our future because it underscores some alarming features of the current international system. This is the Power article: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1718556,00.html


First, going back a little bit on Power, I found that in her book on genocides, A PROBLEM FROM HELL, Power did a fantastic job of diagnosing the factors behind the genocides in Bosnia, Rwanda, Iraq, but she did not venture heavily into the diplomatic nitty-gritty prior to the wars. In fact, the one section of the book that I took heavy note of was her discussion of the 1992 Cyrus Vance-Lord Carrington-Lord Owen Peace Plan which was meant to bring Serbs, Croats and Muslims together. All three leaders of each ethnic group had agreed to the plan, though James Baker came in at the last minute and scuttled it. In retrospect, Power damned that plan for essentially giving the Serbs time to organize their paramilitaries. She went a little beyond that and basically considered the plan a sop for the Serbs since it broke the territorial integrity of Bosnia and gave the Serbs their own Bosnian Republic. Left unsaid in her book, however, was that the Dayton Plan essentially reproduced almost the same exact result, as we are seeing in Bosnia even today. In the Vance-Owen Plan, the Serbs were to receive 51% of the territory. In the Dayton Plan, they received 49% (the Serbs held over 70% of Bosnian territory in their control during the war). Presumably, then, Power would not see a great difference between the two plans. So, [and now I'm projecting how Power may be influencing Obama's policy], I'm imagining that if Power had been advising the US President at the time, and that if she like Baker had scuttled the Vance-Owen Peace agreement, then she would have advised committing ground troops to Bosnia in defense of the Muslims. After all, by breaking the peace agreement in 1992, the West accomplished nothing. 100,000 were slaughtered in the interim until Dayton, around 50,000 of them Muslims. Given Power's plaintive calls for the prevention of genocide, it stands to reason that we would have engaged in a major war in the region with ground troops. If I'm incorrect about this, someone will have to explain to me how the USA and Europe could square their responsibility for scuttling the peace plan with the killing that ensued. The diplomatic charades of 1991-1992 appear, in hindsight, as a huge case of malpractice. The only decision then is, accept the peace plan, or go to ground war as a means of humanitarian intervention. You can't leave the Muslims to the slaughter. Which is of course what happened. If I'm right about Power's preference for intervention over diplomacy, then the positive results of such a ground intervention must be reasonably predictable (avoiding of course Rumsfeldian myopia).

In the TIME piece Power writes:

Kosovo's ethnic-Albanian leaders have belatedly tried to extend an olive branch to the province's aggrieved 120,000 Serbs. In addition to allowing Serbs in northern Kosovo to have their own police, schools and hospitals, Kosovo's new Prime Minister, Hashim Thaci, did the unthinkable: he delivered part of his inauguration speech in the hated Serbian language. Even in Serbia, whose citizens feel genuine humiliation over losing Kosovo (which Serb nationalists call their "Jerusalem"), the protests should abate.

While it's certainly true that the Albanians have indeed tried to insert the Serbs into the body politic, something in Power's phrasing caught my eye. First, after the Serbs left Kosovo in 1999, there were a series of reprisals which continued until 2004 when 200,000 Serbs were expelled from Kosovo. In the words of Bernard Kouchner--now the FM of France but who ran the province of Kosovo at the time--the reprisals were understandable and even expected given the brutal crackdown on Albanians by Milosevic. However, this history is still with the Serbs as much as the brutal Serb guerilla crackdown weighs on the Albanians. Indeed, this is one of the central contradictions of Kosovo's independence. The EU and US argue that Kosovo's secession does not set a precedent, and that it is unique because of the crimes committed by Milosevic and thugs. In other words, the Albanians cannot live with Serbs any longer. This same logic (which I agree with by the way) is not then considered when Kosovo is refashioned into a multiethnic state. At that point, as Power does here, western diplomats argue that Albanians can live with Serbs side by side. Their logic contradicts, which raises questions about the possible success of Kosovo as a multiethnic state. Furthermore, the Serbs do not trust the Albanian leaders. The former PM before Hashim Thaci was Agim Ceku, the commander of Operation Storm which ethnically cleansed 200,000 Serbs from the Krajina in Croatia. He is being investigated by the War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague. The man in charge before him, Ramush Haradinaj, was already indicted by the same tribunal for killing Serbs and moderate Albanians. Thaci himself is not trusted by the Serbs as he was a leader of the KLA, which, until early 1999, was considered a terrorist organization by the US and EU. Power drove the backroads of this region and did the hard work in her research. She knows all this. She knows how each ethnic groups STILL feels about each other. She knows very well how the Serbs feel about the Albanian leadership, and especially Thaci, and yet she still wrote this passage which seems blissfully optimistic. Blissful optimism AND humanitarian intervention? How do they mix?

Power then outlines some problems in foreign policy for the next decade:

[Kosovo] exposes the chill in relations between the U.S. and Russia, which is making it difficult for the U.N. Security Council to meet 21st century collective-security challenges. Putin has used the Kosovo standoff as yet another excuse to flaunt his petro-powered invincibility, sending his  successor, PM Dmitri Medvedev, to Belgrade to sign a gas agreement. If a firm international response is to be mobilized toward Iran, Sudan or other trouble spots in the coming years, the U.S. will have to find a way to persuade Russia to become a partner rather than a rival in improving collective security.

There is indeed a chill in relations. One problem is that the UN cannot right now back the West on the issue of Kosovo precisely because the independence of Kosovo violates the UN charter as well as UN resolution 1244. Recently, an UN official in charge of Kosovo (UNMIK) rebuked the EU steering group leader for assuming supreme authority over the state. Russia is conveniently sticking to UN laws in this case. But the trouble is, the fact that it's convenient is somewhat overshadowed by the fact that they are sticking to UN laws.

Power writes about the second problem:

Finally, the disagreements over Kosovo expose the world's fickleness in determining which secessionist movements deserve international recognition.

I certainly agree with her here, but then she writes...

If Kosovo's supporters were more transparent about the factors that made Kosovo worthy of recognition, they could help shape new guidelines. A claimant has a far stronger claim if, like Kosovo, it is relatively homogeneous and not yet self-governing, if it has been abused by the sovereign government and if its quest for independence does not incite its kin in a neighboring country to make comparable demands. Not all secessionists can clear that bar. Iraq's Kurds, for instance, are clamoring for independence. But the Kurds are already exercising self-government, and their independence could have the destabilizing effect of causing the Kurdish population in Turkey to try to secede.

I don't know where Power sees this lack of transparency regarding Kosovo recognition. Kosovo's backers always raise it up as a unique example. Furthermore, pay close attention when Power mentions "new guidelines." She does make an excellent case in A PROBLEM FROM HELL as to the proper methods for interceding in genocides. But refashioning guidelines is a whole other ballgame altogether. Borders are not inviolable if you're slaughtering people. But if oppression becomes a pretext for self-determination, then suddenly we're going to have hotspots all over the globe. Think of the mayhem such a criteria would cause in a country such as Turkey or Macedonia. All you have to do is rise up and then wait for the crackdown.

Next, Power uses the term "relatively homogeneous." This idea of homogeneity is curious especially since Kosovo is supposed to be multiethnic. By all media accounts, there are 1.8 to 2 million Albanians in Kosovo today. There are 120,000-150,000 Serbs there (200,000 left in 2004, and another 100,000 in 1999). In addition, you have another 2-4% comprised of Sandzak Muslims (Slavic Muslims), Egyptians, Gorani, and Gypsies. So now the numbers are 90% Albanian, which maybe meets her definition of homogeneity. In 1999, however, the numbers were 80% Albanian. In the 1980s, they were closer to 70-75% Albanian. Is that homogeneous enough?

The next test: has the populace been abused by the sovereign-government? In Kosovo, yes, obviously. But elsewhere the same test applied also yields "yes" as an answer. The Turkish Kurd-Turkish fight has yielded TEN times as many Kurd civilian deaths as the Albanian-Serb fight in Kosovo. And judging from Turkey's forays into Iraq this summer, it caused a lot less outrage than the Serb youths who burned the US Embassy last spring.

I notice then that Power is careful to add yet another criteria: the quest for independence cannot cite ethnic kin in a foreign country. Of course, the large body of Kurds in the Turkey-Kurdish guerilla wars are not Iraqi Kurds. They are Turkish Kurds. Which begs the question: who is being incited? The Iraqi Kurds by the Turkish Kurds, or vice versa? If we simply switch the perspective a little bit, then Power's criteria collapses (unless she honestly thinks we should intervene on behalf of Turkey's Kurds, as there isn't much fear after all that this will incite the Iraqi Kurds since they already control their destiny). Furthermore, there are also Albanians seeking secession in the Presevo Valley of Serbia, in Montenegro, in Macedonia most especially and in the Chameria/Epirus region of Greece. Kosovo's independence has of course incited ethnic Serb kin in Bosnia and also the Serbs of Kosovo itself toward partition. This criteria of Power's is curious, almost as though the criteria were made to fit the logic.

Ultimately, Power really needs to address a little discussed trigger in the Albanian-Serb fighting. The moderate Kosovo Albanians were marginalized fairly early on (i.e. long before Milosevic began the counter-insurgency crackdown in 1998). Indeed, Kosovo leaders like Haradinaj were in the docket in the Hague for murdering moderate Albanians. Rugova's party was a moderate party seeking secession through peaceful means. He had managed to set up a parallel structure of universities, hospitals, government, police. The KLA, on the other hand, were violent, extremist, and had ties with narco-traffickers. The roots of their victory over the moderates started in the 1980s. In 1981 and 1982, David Binder wrote a series of articles in the New York Times about the rise of the extreme nationalist Albanian groups in Kosovo, which were all coming from hardcore elements in Albania. Concomitantly, nationalists in Serbia such as Milosevic seized on the oppression of Serbs in Kosovo at the time, and he succeeded in radicalizing the whole region.

The lesson I draw then is that radicalism is ultimately a catalyst for change. Extreme nationalism can yield results, and it can also destroy your country (ex. Serbia). This is not a good example for the rest of the world. Rugova's party was a good example. I'm not at all satisfied that Power's new guidelines will not encourage the likes of the KLA in other countries. Once you set those criteria down in a charter, or in another supranational organization which sets criteria for humanitarian intervention, you are essentially asking those with irredentist or separatist bent to think of ways to fulfill the new criteria. It should be enough to prevent tragedies such as Bosnia, Darfur, Rwanda, without a guarantee of reward for the armed militant groups on the ground. There should be punishment for murderers, no doubt. War criminals must pay. But if you're also going to provide a reward, do not be surprised if this scenario gets replayed over and over again. So far, I'm not convinced by Power's new guidelines.

Then, the final question is, who funds groups such as the ICG? Do we trust them? Heck, I can't even trust the ICTY, especially when Carla del Ponte makes sensational allegations against it; I can't trust UN Human Rights Watch, especially when Helen Ranta throws cold water on its impartiality. I recall that the OSCE sent William Walker, of all people, to oversee the treatment of Albanians in Kosovo! William freakin' Walker! I note the ties between UN negotiators, think tanks, security organizations like NATO, NGOs and non-profit human rights organizations, and I see concerted efforts to use every means possible to cow countries (even peaceable countries who haven't oppressed minorities with violence) into being amenable or else. In a perfect world, we could limit interventions to genocides or massacres, but given the evident will to use these humanitarian organizations as political pawns, I am highly skeptical.

I keep thinking that the threat of intervention, coupled with diplomacy, should be a great bargaining tool, but then the possibility always exists that these threats will be used as political motivators. After all, what do they say about diplomacy being war by other means? In addition, the idea that a country could not profit from intervention is dubious especially in hot spots such as Georgia. What would that even mean in a region loaded with natural resources?

Display:
You search in vain if you search for consistency in international relations, about the only consistency you will find is the consistency of power in search of its own advantage.  The EU is a brave attempt to put some boundaries around that dynamic, and hopefully all the former Yugoslav Republics and Kosovo will end up in closer alignment as part of the EU.  (Then they can start voting for each other on the lines of the Eurovision Song Contest!).  

The reality of inter-ethnic marriage, multi-ethnic communities, and the requirements for non-ethnic economic activities and public administration means that it is impossible to draw clear national boundaries on ethnic lines and to do so is either a historic hangover or a modern artefact to overcome seemingly intractable political problems.

Sbrenica was profoundly shocking because that was precisely the sort of thing that the EU was supposed to prevent and here was the EU powerless in what was almost its own back yard.  Whether the US got involved because it saw Serbia as a Russian ally or for genuine humanitarian reasons I do not know.  What I do know is that there are no good solutions when inter-ethnic tensions become inflamed to such a degree.

In fact the EU is about the best solution that we have got.  Hopefully it will be similarly successful in the former Yugoslavia in due course.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Mar 9th, 2009 at 06:08:28 PM EST
I have to say, as an American, born in the Balkans, who spent time living there, researching contemporary history and inter-relations (my interest has been in Balkan languages and certain syntactic commonalities that exist there), I do take a jaundiced view of the EU on these issues. To this day, a man like Peter Handke is anathema in Europe precisely because his "Justice for Serbia" quest rings so hollowly against the media coverage of the time. When European interests are at stake in a war such as Kosovo, I do believe the European media can be as misleading as the American one in Iraq. The truth comes, eventually, so the saying goes, but my view of the wars (I spent a year in Padova, Italy, watching much of the Italian and European media) was definitely colored by my access to alternative sources other than European media.

A real good study of the decade would have to begin with questions about the IMF and World Bank in 1980s Yugoslavia. Here we are talking about a proud Communist country whose economy became a basket case overnight.

Then we have to ask what interest Germany really took in recognizing the former Yugo's so quickly? There are a lot of important highways running from Central Europe into Turkey. From the viewpoint of Greece, I see a lot of European self-interestedness when it comes to Turkey. And the EU, concertedly, can push an agenda as well as anyone.

by Upstate NY on Mon Mar 9th, 2009 at 07:11:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm going to hotlist this diary just so I can get at this comment for later research. Any source material and guidance would be much, much appreciated.

Unless you'd like to delve into this yourself. If so, by all means, have at it. I'll look forward to it.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Mon Mar 9th, 2009 at 07:18:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm referring to Peter Handke's treatment all over Germany, especially in Spiegel. I mean, I know he was directly against Germany's foreign policy, and he was a Serb sympathizer, but his ostracism seems to me a product of only seeing the war in one way, and one way alone.

As for the rest, there's the case in England where a documentarian was censored after proving that ITN footage of a detention camp was doctored; there was the case of the AFP having footage of the fight in Racak the entire day in which the dead bodies were discovered (the single event that lead to the war) and the AFP footage showed a long distance firefight, no executions. Beyond that, there was no outcry about Rambouillet, you have Kouchner now as the FM of France, and he was no more than the Paul Bremer of Kosovo, just a decade ago.

Every nation's mass media takes its cue from the politicians when it comes to foreign policy.

by Upstate NY on Mon Mar 9th, 2009 at 07:46:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Every nation's mass media takes its cue from the politicians when it comes to foreign policy.

Nah, it's much more intertwined than that. They feed off each other and the national prejudices. It's easy to sell nasty evil Serbs because that fits the stereotype of ruthless gangsters which was (is?) pretty much the only mass media portrayal of that part of the world.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 10th, 2009 at 03:53:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I tend to disagree.

In Europe, we find many networks aligned to political parties, but when the national interests are at stake, they fall into line.

Dan Rather, considered an anti-government reporter in the US, once eviscerated a reporter from Pacifica at a National Press Club event for traitorous acts against the nation.

by Upstate NY on Tue Mar 10th, 2009 at 10:47:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wasn't Dan Rather the one who famously said
George Bush is the president, he makes the decisions, and, you know, as just one American: He wants me to line up? Just tell me where.... Whatever arguments one may or may not have had with George Bush the Younger before September 11, he is our commander-in-chief, he's the Man now. And we need unity, we need steadiness. I'm not preaching about it. We all know this.
What I found shoking about that was the notion that the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces was the Commander in Chief of all Americans including the press.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 10th, 2009 at 10:55:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
LOL, but that's the attitude in the US Press. Our alternative Press, such as Democracy Now or Pacifica, is reviled by the Rather's of the world.

So much of European media did great exposes on the US invasion of Iraq the last 8 years precisely because their gov't was opposed to it. I don't think the media would be as critical in a so-called "allied war." I wonder how the first Gulf War was covered in Europe. I lived in Europe for 2 years from 1988-1990, but left before that war started.

by Upstate NY on Tue Mar 10th, 2009 at 11:04:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Upstate NY:
So much of European media did great exposes on the US invasion of Iraq the last 8 years precisely because their gov't was opposed to it.
I don't think the British press was blind to what was happening in Iraq. Apart from Robert Fisk in The Independent you had decent coverage in The Guardian and in other, more right-wing, papers.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 10th, 2009 at 11:06:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We also had Seymour Hersh in the USA, and of course, Robert Scheer at the LA Times.

But this is what happened to Scheer: http://www.democracynow.org/2005/11/14/la_times_fires_longtime_progressive_columnist

Our independent voices were few and far between.

by Upstate NY on Tue Mar 10th, 2009 at 11:22:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You do know that Kouchner's wife is one of the foremost journalists on French television, currently the boss of France24 ?

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Tue Mar 10th, 2009 at 05:10:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I did not. Thanks.
by Upstate NY on Tue Mar 10th, 2009 at 10:47:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One more thing, about research and guidance, I've read many many books on the issue, from all sides, from Malcolm to Garton Ash to Samantha Power to Noam Chomsky to really horrid academic histories published by the Texas A&M University Press (how a university press got involved publishing propaganda is beyond me) and I'm not sure I can recommend any books over any others.

For in depth history of the region, I go to LS Stavrianos' The Balkans. But that only takes you to WW2. Then I'd read Kaputt by Curzio Malaparte. And the only indispensable book after that is Lord David Owen's Balkan Odyssey. The rest is all murder and mayhem. After diplomacy breaks down, it's mainly the Serbs who do the killing, but the rest take part.

That will take you all the way to Carla Del Ponte's new book who sheds light on all the disgusting background and conspiracy.

As for me, I read lots of newspapers daily on the crisis, and tried my best to read between the lines. I was also on a listserv that received daily reports from the ground from the infamous Cybermonk who was capable of having firsthand reports translated from Albanian and Serbian into English. I also contacted journalists and investigators directly with questions and had them respond to me. For instance, when I got wind that an AFP film crew was in Racak the day of the infamous massacre, I started reading up, and apparently, the journalists in the village that day were highly doubtful that a massacre occurred. This was the report from the journalists themselves. Then William Walker showed up in the village. After reading an article by NBC reporter Preston Mendenhall who came into the village after Walker, I wrote him and he wrote back. I asked if any of the reports from AFP were credible. He said he heard of them, but in interviewing the Albanians on the ground he was highly doubtful. He had covered lots of wars and he thought the eyewitnesses were credible. Years later, the Finnish forensic team that investigated Racak revealed that the massacre corresponded more with the AFP rumors than the report that was printed all over the EU media after the OSCE showed up. We get a lot of this in the media. Check out the Markale Market Massacre in Bosnia and what happened when munitions experts examined the shell that ripped through the market. It really is hard to believe any of this stuff, which makes any of the research you do questionable. Everyone has an angle, everyone relies on rotten sources, and those backing the Serbs are the worst of all with their wild conspiracies about Srebernica.

But I try to focus on the diplomacy. At least there, you have the minutes of the actual proceedings.

by Upstate NY on Mon Mar 9th, 2009 at 08:02:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If the media reports were so obviously flawed in their efforts to justify NATO aggression against the Serbs (you cite the examples of Markale and Racak) - what makes you think that Srebrenica is any different? It might be worthwhile noting that 1.500 Serbs, mostly civilians, were massacred by Muslim forces in the villages surrounding Srebrenica before the Serb offensive.
by vladimir on Tue Mar 10th, 2009 at 03:12:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The graves. The evidence.

But, really, how do the murders of Serbs in prior years justify Srebernica?

by Upstate NY on Tue Mar 10th, 2009 at 11:24:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It doesn't justify. But it certainly explains.

Imagine yourself in the US Army in Vietnam. The Vietcong (the Gooks - right?) down 20 of your fellow GIs in a most brutal and bloody fashion. What is the expected reaction of the US Army? This is real.

Now let's go back to the German invasion of Yugoslavia in WWII. Novi Sad - 1942 : German forces execute a couple of thousand Serb civilians for the revenge of some 20 or 30 ambushed Wermacht soldiers. This is real.

Killings of Indian civilians or Boer civilians by British forces... This is also real.

I mean, you could go on and on and on with this. Armies are not angels of peace. No matter what uniform they wear, they are trained and told to kill.

by vladimir on Tue Mar 10th, 2009 at 04:22:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"20 of your fellow GIs." This is thousands we're talking about. It's not a good analogy. The Serbs in the Bihac pocket were killed a year earlier. Then a year later the Serbs took thousands hostage and executed them.

Huge difference.

Then you're comparing what the Serbs did at Srebernica to the Germans. Doesn't seem like much of a defense.

by Upstate NY on Tue Mar 10th, 2009 at 05:06:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Killings of Indian civilians or Boer civilians by British forces... This is also real.

This and other actions by other similar colonial powers brought about the Hague and geneva conventions

Now let's go back to the German invasion of Yugoslavia in WWII. Novi Sad - 1942 : German forces execute a couple of thousand Serb civilians for the revenge of some 20 or 30 ambushed Wermacht soldiers. This is real.

And this and similar actions brought about the later Geneva conventions about the mistreatment of civilians.

THERE. IS. NO. EXCUSE. and there is no justifiable explaination.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 10th, 2009 at 05:11:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or the response to the German blitz on London, when the British wiped out the entire city of Dresden, burning to death more German civilians than the number of people killed in Hiroshima.

Or Hiroshima - for that matter, 70 000 dead on the day of impact. Or Nagasaki, 40 000 dead on the day of impact.

Or the 3 000 000 Vietnamese dead (mostly civilians) murdered by American carpet bombing, napalm or GI rampaging and burning of villages.

Or the US razing to the ground of Fallujah - a city of 420 000 people which today has only 25 000 inhabitants left. We don't yet know the true number of civilians killed by GIs because of the effective media blackout imposed by Central Command (that's free press).

Or Croatian operation Storm which drove out 250 000 Serbs while terrorizing and murdering thousands which never made it to Serbia.

Or NATO bombing of Serbian civilian infrastructure including hospitals, schools, bridges, markets... Yes markets in Kragujevac using cluster amunition - which is also against the Geneva convention.

All of these acts are barbaric and condemnable. My point is that you can pick out any one of these, air it on the media again and again and again to demonize your political adversary. And that's exactly what we have Srebrenica.

by vladimir on Wed Mar 11th, 2009 at 02:58:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The casual reader should note the amount of backpedalling going on here. The first comment said:

If the media reports were so obviously flawed in their efforts to justify NATO aggression against the Serbs (you cite the examples of Markale and Racak) - what makes you think that Srebrenica is any different?

Clearly implying at least the possibility of a conspiracy to fabricate a massacre.

Then a series of historical digressions, until we get to:

All of these acts are barbaric and condemnable. My point is that you can pick out any one of these, air it on the media again and again and again to demonize your political adversary. And that's exactly what we have Srebrenica.

In which Srebrenica is recognised as an atrocity on par with(?) the terror-bombing of Dresden, but raises the (much more reasonable, IMO) question of why Srebrenica in particular should become the icon of Yugoslav atrocities, considering that those wars in no way offered any shortage of atrocities.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Mar 11th, 2009 at 05:44:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In fact, all of the atrocities I mention can not be on par with Srebrenica. They were much much worse in terms of the scale and scope of destruction of innocent human life.

Another I forgot is the bloody massacres of some 300 000 Algerians (again, the majority of whom were civilians) by the French Army and especially the OAS in the 1960s.

Another is the massacre of the over 30 000 Kurds by the ongoing Turk effort to subdue this region. But of course, Turkey is an important NATO ally... so much for principles.

Another is Indonesia. Another is Chile. Another is Afghanistan. Oh shit, but all these bastards are our bastards. Let's change the subject!

But tell me Jake, how are the numerous (not to say systematic) atrocities committed by US forces over the past 50 years more humane or simply different than those committed by the barbaric Serbs? I know! Americans soldiers have a special genetic code which gives them superior moral principles when the go to battle. Or maybe it's something else? In any case, I'm sure the casual reader would be interested to know.

by vladimir on Wed Mar 11th, 2009 at 06:10:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But tell me Jake, how are the numerous (not to say systematic) atrocities committed by US forces over the past 50 years more humane or simply different than those committed by the barbaric Serbs?

Which I implied where, again?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Mar 11th, 2009 at 06:24:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In fact, all of the atrocities I mention can not be on par with Srebrenica. They were much much worse in terms of the scale and scope of destruction of innocent human life.

I'd argue that they are on a par, and no matter the number, or scale they should be delt with with an equal lack of tolerance. Politicians and soldiers of all stripes and colours should face similar justice for any similar actions. If a single civilian is shot intentionally, not accidentally there should be similaroutcome.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 11th, 2009 at 06:34:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You seem to be busy projecting your expectations of what people are going to say onto what they're saying.

There are few here that will argue that the US, or France, or the UK or whatever don't do some pretty evil stuff. Most of us would like to see the people responsible locked up. Unfortunately, we're somewhat short of divisions.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 11th, 2009 at 06:39:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think we agree. As I said:

All of these acts are barbaric and condemnable. My point is that you can pick out any one of these, air it on the media again and again and again to demonize your political adversary. And that's exactly what we have with Srebrenica.

I'm certainly not justifying or defending. If anybody has examples of "clean wars" please share. I just don't believe that concept exists.

by vladimir on Wed Mar 11th, 2009 at 06:54:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In fact, I rather agree with something you wrote awhile back:
The theory put forth often by international experts is that US administrations seem to unintentionally (albeit systematically) mismanage international diplomacy, which then leads to accidental chaos. Simply put, this is unfathomable. If the United States government, with its nuclear arsenal and awesome military armada which annually spends $600 billion, or the equivalent of 50%-60% of the world's total spending on arms, can "unintentionally mismanage" international relations to the point of causing war then we all have grave cause for concern.

It's one reason I've chosen to focus on foreign policy, US foreign policy in particular, as a topic. It's also the reason I've chosen to blog primarily here at ET rather than dkos, even though my target audience is American. Though I may start paying more attention to Congress Matters.

For all our wealth, Americans (I've held this view for a long time) are on the whole a provincial people. Not cosmopolitan at all. One can hardly expect enlightened policy of remote cultures from such people. I include myself in this, but, in typical American fashion, I'm working on it. That being said, my operating premise is that the core group of Americans, diplomats, academics, whatever...that is in fact culturally sensitive, whether due to innate character, or simply because so many are late arrivals from other nations, are those whose voices need to rise above the sabre-rattling jingos America churns out by the truckload.

What can I say? I'm giving it my best shot. And I feel that so much of what goes on these days, like R2P, is the diplomatic community feeling the forward, not certain what will work, unsure of what tools humanity needs in the kit. Nobody has the answer to genocide or mass atrocity. Rwanda, Kosovo, and Sudan. If I were a conspiracy theorist, I'd say this is a global experiment in determining which approach yields the best results: non-interference of any kind, military intervention, or a purely diplomatic approach.

The fact of the matter it, nobody has a good answer.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Wed Mar 11th, 2009 at 10:43:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ollow the money.

What you see in America is the jingoists are good at making it. Look at Silvio Berlusconi in Italy. Filthy rich. Imagine if he were the head of the EU!

Money leads to power, and often political power. And that explains George Bush. Doesn't take brains to make money from oil, but it probably takes guts. Then we have Dick Cheney=Halliburton.

When people have gamed the system for wealth, somehow find themselves with political power, all questions about their knowledge of the world should be dropped. At that point it's, "Hold onto your hats."

It should be obvious to anyone that the last administrations were masters at mismanagement, or else you're forced to take this statement from Bush literally:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91oBxESzpUk

by Upstate NY on Wed Mar 11th, 2009 at 04:27:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh yeah. The latest round of Obama administration wanting to postpone purchase a new fleet of tankers for the air force for 5 years has all of Congress groansing.

I'd like to dig deeper into the issue, but it's a daunting task, and outside of competence. In other words, I wouldn't know where to start. Not that I knew what I was getting into with foreign policy, but by now, I've 8 months of web searching, and a huge turnover of sites until I found the best sources available. And that's STILL changing on a weekly basis.

The thought of searching for whose congressional district gets what out of the deal, how they're voting, who their campaign contributors are....

If anyone wants to pick up on that, be my guest. I'm certain it'd be illustrative of just how dirty the defence procurement system is.

Have you heard about Chas Freeman being forced out of his nomination for Chairman of the National Intelligence Council? (here and here). AIPAC got him. He was in favor of restricting settlements on the West Bank and the Two-State solution, and maybe he wasn't as hard on Iran as the AIPAC hardliners wanted. Otherwise, I guess he was well suited to the post.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Wed Mar 11th, 2009 at 08:25:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Clearly implying at least the possibility of a conspiracy to fabricate a massacre.

Well that's exactly what the Racak "massacre" was. A fabricated conspiracy. The Markale market bombing was another fabricated conspiracy.

In fact, so much has been fabricated (if you re read Upstate NYs diary) that one wonders what remains of the truth. Regarding Srebrenica, I personally have no first hand knowledge of how many corpses were unearthed and whether those unearthed were Serb, Muslim, military or civilian.

I think that having a reasonable doubt about the facts and figures that Western media feed us is, at this point, perfectly legitimate.

by vladimir on Wed Mar 11th, 2009 at 09:45:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that having a reasonable doubt about the facts and figures that media feed us is, at this point, perfectly legitimate.

Fixed that for you.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 11th, 2009 at 09:47:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What does it matter what the media say? There are at least two expert reports on Srebrenica and those are the ones we should be discussing:

Srebrenica - a 'safe' area

Reconstruction, background, consequences and analyses of the fall of a Safe Area

In November 1996, the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation (NIOD) was instructed by the Dutch Government to carry out a study of 'the events prior to, during and after the fall of Srebrenica'. For the purposes of this independent historical analytical research, the Government undertook to do everything in its power to grant the NIOD researchers access to the source material at its disposal. On 10 April 2002, this report was made public with the presentation of the first copy to the Minister of Education, Culture and Science, Loek Hermans, as representative of the Government.

The Dutch government commissioned this report, which when released in 2002 failed to pin the blame on the Dutch peacekeepers so the victims got angry. But still the government resigned
"The international community has failed to protect the people in the UN safe areas (in Bosnia)," Mr Kok said in a short explanation of his resignation in parliament.

Then there is Srebrenica and the Politics od War Crimes

Findings of the Srebrenica Research Group into the allegations of events and the background leading up to them, in Srebrenica, Bosnia & Herzegovina, in 1995.
The UN press conference (July 12, 2005) claims
* The premise that Serbian forces executed 7,000 to 8,000 people "was never a possibility,"

  • US policy in Bosnia endangered safe zones by opposing UN requests to provide enough personnel to demilitarize these enclaves and by facilitating illegal arms shipments to Muslim forces through C-130 Hercules night time deliveries to the Tuzla airport.

  • Despite signing the demilitarization agreement, Bosnian Muslim forces in Srebrenica were well armed and under orders to engage in provocations ("sabotage operations") against Serbian forces.

  • Instead of defending the town with a force of 5500 well armed soldiers, the Bosnian Army 28th Division was ordered to evacuate Srebrenica two days before a small force of 200 Bosnian Serb forces (according Muslim General Halilovic and the London Times) entered the nearly empty town on July 11.

  • The International Criminal Tribunal on Yugoslavia (ICTY) whose staff had been largely appointed by Madeleine Albright, then US Ambassador to the United Nations, acknowledged political considerations when they issued indictments for genocide against Bosnian Serb leaders


Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 11th, 2009 at 10:11:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I did read the diary. That Racak and Markale were fabricated does not mean that Srebrenica was.

I'm not personally in possession of sufficiently detailed knowledge to decide whether to believe the official version of the Srebrenica story or some alternate version - both a real massacre and a manufactured one seem well within the political and logistical capabilities of the involved actors.

But you really ought to decide what case you're trying to make. Are you saying that Srebrenica was manufactured in order to justify Western(TM) involvement? Or are you saying that the evidence of what went on in Srebrenica at the time of Western(TM) intervention was insufficiently clear and unambiguous to justify the intervention(s)?

Those are two different cases, and the latter is substantially easier to argue than the former. Because the latter places the burden of proof on the those defending intervention to demonstrate that Srebrenica was a) sufficiently well documented at the time and b) sufficiently cause to warrant the intervention(s), whereas the former places the burden of proof on you to demonstrate an actual conspiracy and/or actual falsified records.

Vacillating between these two scenarios with little preamble will likely achieve only to confuse the reader as to what you are arguing.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Mar 11th, 2009 at 04:56:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't argue that Srebrenica was fabricated because I don't have first hand knowledge of the facts. for example, from Jonathan Rooper to Samantha Powers - we go from one extreme to another. Who to believe?

Those defending intervention are prepared to go to great lengths to demonize the Serbs, because of course this is the only way you CAN justify military intervention.

Hitler demonized the Poles and the Czechs before "intervening" and indeed history is littered by pre-war demonization of the opponent. We often witness that the official truth aired on media before an intervention (remember the weapons of mass destruction) is proven at a later stage to be... just propaganda. Lies.

In Racak and Markale, we have proof of this war propaganda. Lies. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. Not only is the Serb leadership systematically demonized but the Serb people are often collectively accused of having some type of a genocidal gene in them. Basta! For example, just read Marti Ahtisari's press conferences, where he talks of the Serbs' responsibility to face up to the past. And not even a comment for the 250 000 refugees that left Kosovo since the KLA heroin traffickers seized power. Let them rot. And this is the person the `international community' gives the Nobel Peace Prize to? Really, what world do we live in?

That Youtube video (linked above... or below in this diary) of Milosevic  trying to convince the Bosnian Serb leadership to accept the Vance-Owen plan... and imposing an arms embargo on the Bosnian Serbs later raises the question of why NATO media brandished Milosevic as the "Butcher of the Balkans"? Why was Milosevic singled out and demonized as the mastermind of ethnic cleansing, the ruthless blood thirsty dictator? Why does the Hague inquisition indict 10 Serbs for every 1 Bosnian Muslim, Albanian or Croatian? Why does the list of Serbs that have to be sent to the Hague before Serbia can normalize its relations with the EU keep increasing? I remember in 2000-2001, this `international community' was offering Serbia `redemption' if it delivered Milosevic to the Hague. Once they had him, they wanted Biljana Plavsic. Once they had her, they wanted Karadzic. Once they had him, they want Mladic. Now there are new names appearing in the press that I've never heard of before. And at the same time Ramush Haradinaj (KLA killer) is acquitted after 9 witnesses are murdered! Why?

I'm tired of this.

by vladimir on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 03:52:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
vladimir:
That Youtube video (linked above... or below in this diary) of Milosevic  trying to convince the Bosnian Serb leadership to accept the Vance-Owen plan... and imposing an arms embargo on the Bosnian Serbs later raises the question of why NATO media brandished Milosevic as the "Butcher of the Balkans"?
Could that have been Milosevic and Karadzic playing "good cop/bad cop"?

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 04:40:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
possible.
by vladimir on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 05:17:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We know Tudjman, Milosevic and Izetbegovic got along quite well...

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 05:51:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
vladimir:
I remember in 2000-2001, this `international community' was offering Serbia `redemption' if it delivered Milosevic to the Hague. Once they had him, they wanted Biljana Plavsic. Once they had her, they wanted Karadzic. Once they had him, they want Mladic. Now there are new names appearing in the press that I've never heard of before.
They have always wanted Milosevic, Karadzic and Mladic, as far as I can tell...

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 04:41:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're right. But there are new names popping up as time goes by.

Speaking of The Hague - just look at the grotesque case of Vojislav Seselj. Leader of the Radicals - he's being tried in essence for organizing and delivering nationalist speeches during the war! No case. No evidence of crimes - except political crimes. And the guy has been behind bars for what... 4 years now? Just amazing. Why not send Le Pen to the Hague? or Jorg Haider? Or any extreme right leader?

The politicized manner in which Hague 'justice system' is administered really raises the question of EU values which are propagated beyond Europe's borders. Can they be interpreted as being universal, free and fair? What is the impact of this rather visible institution on the EU's political credibility beyond its borders? Or is it all irrelevant?

by vladimir on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 05:17:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
vladimir:
Why not send Le Pen to the Hague? or Jorg Haider? Or any extreme right leader?
Because they have not been part of a "joint criminal enterprise" with people who actually committed war crimes or crimes against humanity. You can read Seselj's indictment here.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 05:50:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's indeed what I said. The first point of the indictment reads:

Vojislav SESELJ's speeches, communications, acts and/or omissions contributed to the perpetrators' decision to commit the crimes alleged

If this is a crime, then indeed the large majority of the Serb nation should be sent to the Hague and I'm right to see no end to the pressure, the demands, the conditions, the blackmail exercised by NATO nations on Serbia.

I remember back in 1990 some Serbian friends of mine who lived in Dubrovnik left their homes and moved to Belgrade after their businesses were torched. That's 1990! Most Serbs living in Karjina, in Sarajevo, in Split and Dubrovnik felt (with good reason, I believe) that they had two alternatives: a) pack their bags or b) fight to stay.

Justice should be universal, fair and blind to creed, colour, religion or ethnicity. Otherwise it's a political farce, a travesty, an inquisition.

Europe's modern inquisition is prosecuting Vojislav Seselj for the SPEECHES he delivered, but acquitting Haradinaj for mass murder - after 9 witnesses were murdered. How many Croats, Muslims & Albanians (including Mesic - current president or Croatia) gave war rallying speeches to their troops during the war? Why aren't they also in the dock?

by vladimir on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 06:15:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You are just quoting the last bit of
5. Vojislav SESELJ is individually criminally responsible for the crimes referred to in Articles 3 and 5 of the Statute of the Tribunal and described in this indictment, which he planned, ordered, instigated, committed or in whose planning, preparation, or execution he otherwise aided and abetted. By using the word "committed" in this indictment, the Prosecutor does not intend to suggest that the accused physically committed all of the crimes charged personally. "Committed" as used in this indictment includes the participation of Vojislav SESELJ in a joint criminal enterprise. By using the word "instigated", the Prosecution charges that the accused Vojislav SESELJ's speeches, communications, acts and/or omissions contributed to the perpetrators' decision to commit the crimes alleged.
This is not something that he is charged with, this establishes "individual criminal responsibility". For instance, there is this:
9. Vojislav SESELJ, as President of the SRS, was a prominent political figure in the SFRY/FRY in the time period relevant to this indictment. He propagated a policy of uniting "all Serbian lands" in a homogeneous Serbian state. He defined the so-called Karlobag-Ogulin-Karlovac-Virovitica line as the western border of this new Serbian state (which he called "Greater Serbia") which included Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and considerable parts of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
This is also not a "crime" or "charge" but it is part of the "individual responsibility" section. There is more.

The charges come later.

Basically he's being indicted as a key ideologue/planner/instigator of a "joint criminal enterprise" which included

Other individuals participating in this joint criminal enterprise included Slobodan MILOSEVIC, General Veljko KADIJEVIC, General Blagoje ADZIC, Colonel Ratko MLADIC, Jovica STANISIC, Franko SIMATOVIC also known as "Frenki", Radovan STOJICIC, also known as "Badza", Milan MARTIC, Goran HADZIC, Radovan KARADZIC, Momcilo KRAJISNIK, Biljana PLAVSIC, Zeljko RAZNATOVIC, also known as "Arkan", and other members of the Yugoslav People's Army ("JNA"), later the Yugoslav Army ("VJ"), the newly-formed Serb Territorial Defence ("TO") of Croatia and of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the army of the Republika Srpska Krajina ("SVK") and the army of the Republika Srpska ("VRS"), and the TOs of Serbia and of Montenegro, local Serb, Republic of Serbia and Republika Srpska police forces ("MUP forces"), including the State Security/Drzavna bezbednost/ ("DB") Branch of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia, and Serb special police forces of the SAO Krajina and the RSK commonly referred to as "Martic's Police", Marticevci", "SAO Krajina Police" or "SAO Krajina Milicija" (hereinafter "Martic's Police") and members of Serbian, Montenegrin, Bosnian and Croatian Serb paramilitary forces and volunteer units including "Chetniks", or "Seseljevci" (translated into English as "Seselj's men") (collectively, "Serb forces"), and other political figures from the (S)FRY, the Republic of Serbia, the Republic of Montenegro and the Bosnian and Croatian Serb leadership.
Come on, there were "paramiltary forces" calling themselves "Seseljevici"...
10. Vojislav SESELJ, acting alone and in concert with other members of the joint criminal enterprise, participated in the joint criminal enterprise in the following ways:

   1. He participated in the recruitment, formation, financing, supply, support and direction of Serbian volunteers connected to the SRS, commonly known as "Chetniks", or "Seseljevci". These volunteer units were created and supported to assist in the execution of the joint criminal enterprise through the commission of crimes in violation of Articles 3 and 5 of the Statute of the Tribunal.

   2. He made inflammatory speeches in the media, during public events, and during visits to the volunteer units and other Serb forces in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, instigating those forces to commit crimes in violation of Articles 3 and 5 of the Statute of the Tribunal.

   3. He espoused and encouraged the creation of a homogeneous "Greater Serbia", encompassing the territories specified in this indictment, by violence, and thereby participated in war propaganda and incitement of hatred towards non-Serb people.

   4. In public speeches he called for the expulsion of Croat civilians from parts of the Vojvodina region in Serbia and thus instigated his followers and the local authorities to engage in a persecution campaign against the local Croat population.

   5. He participated in the planning and preparation of the take-over of villages in two SAOs in Croatia and in the municipalities of Bosanski Samac and Zvornik in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the subsequent forcible removal of the majority of the non-Serb population from these areas.

   6. He participated in the provision of financial, material, logistical and political support necessary for such take-overs. He obtained this support, with the help of Slobodan Milosevic, from the Serbian authorities and from Serbs living abroad where he collected funds to support the aim of the joint criminal enterprise.

   7. He recruited Serbian volunteers connected to the SRS and indoctrinated them with his extreme ethnic rhetoric so that they engaged in the forcible removal of the non-Serb population in the targeted territories through the commission of crimes as specified in this indictment with particular violence and brutality.



Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 06:40:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sure the inquisition has ample proof to convict. That's why his trial has been indefinitely adjourned after 4 years.

It's a biased court. It's one sided. It's politically motivated. As such, it's not credible. Period.

by vladimir on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 06:56:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not sure that is the case, though.

Wikipedia: Vojislav Šešelj

On February 11, 2009, after 71 witnesses had already been heard and with the expected conclusion of the prosecution's case just seven hours away, the presiding judges suspended Šešelj's trial indefinitely at the prosecutors' request. The prosecutors alleged that witnesses were being intimidated. Šešelj claimed that the true motive of the prosecutors was that they were losing their case. He claimed the court had presented numerous false witnesses to avoid having to acquit him and said it should pay him damages for "all the suffering and six years spent in detention." One of the three judges voted against the suspension of the trial stating that it was "unfair to interrupt the trial of someone who has spent almost six years in detention". The judges themselves had only the preceding January 21 opened a contempt of court case against him for revealing in a book he wrote the identity of three witnesses whose names had been ordered suppressed by the tribunal.
Now, there is a lot of reason to criticise the ICTY in the way it has handled most of the highest-profile cases. But your own position that Milosevic, Karadzic and, now, Seselj, are innocent victims of an inquisition, is untenable IMHO.

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.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 07:15:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
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
[ Parent ]
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
[ Parent ]
Erratum. Should read:
How can you say the court is impartial...
by vladimir on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 07:43:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 07:52:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
vladimir:
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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 07:53:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
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
[ Parent ]
vladimir:
You're right. But there are new names popping up as time goes by.

Speaking of The Hague - just look at the grotesque case of Vojislav Seselj. Leader of the Radicals - he's being tried in essence for organizing and delivering nationalist speeches during the war! No case. No evidence of crimes - except political crimes. And the guy has been behind bars for what... 4 years now? Just amazing. Why not send Le Pen to the Hague? or Jorg Haider? Or any extreme right leader?

Many countries have some of the bad fame in the past. Croatia is also ashamed of its couple of years under the Independent State of Croatia when many Serbs, Jews, Gypsies and Croats opposing regime were killed. I was the darkest past of Croatia ever and even the worst wor criminals in this last war were very far from that.
On Croatian side, for eg. Tudjman, if he wouldn't be dead, certainly would be sent to Haag. For him there is the same evidence as for Seselj that he is responsible for killings. He did not carry the gun, he did not kill anybody by his hand but is very responsible for all that. He was an ideological ruler and the one who was ordering it to his followers. Tudjman was nationalist, he wanted Croatia to be independent from Yugoslavia and in carrying out his plans, it led to ethnic cleansing of certain areas of Croatia in order to 'remove those who made problems' He was the butcher also but his followers never did anything against serbs that were living integrated peacefully in Zagreb or any other Croatian town out of the zone conquered by Serbia. Not even that you could hear him saying that he would take from Serbia the autonomy region of Vojvodina, where, apart from Hungarians live a lot of Croats and even in some times in the past belonged partially to Croatian lands all the way to Zemun.

On the other hand, Seselj was repeatedly shouting that Serbia has to take by force the major part of another country, Croatia, on the line of Virovitica, Karlovac, Karlobag. (By the way... Are there any Serbs in Virovitica (almost in Hungary) and Karlobag (on middle-upper Adriatic coast)? His followers were singing 'there will be meat, we are going to sloughter Croats'. Seselj, apart from being guilty as the ideological leader for slaughter, he is also guilty for general ethnic cleansing and for claims on territories of the other country. I don't understand how you can have the face to say that the trial to such a man is politically fabricated?!

by SteelLady on Sat Mar 14th, 2009 at 10:18:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't misunderstand me. Seselj is NOT my cup of tea. I find the person revolting. My point is that if the Hague is prosecuting for rallying war cries... then the list should be long and include many prominent Croats, Bosnian Muslims and Albanians. The fact that this is not the case leads me to the conclusion that Seselj's trial is politically motivated.
by vladimir on Sat Mar 14th, 2009 at 03:28:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Marko Perkovic-Tompson is an example that immediately comes to mind. This extremely popular Croatian pop star glorifies Nazism, calls for the killing of Serbs, glorifies Jasenovac (where 600 000 Serbs were exterminated by Croats during WWII) not to speak of his grotesque Nazi outfits on stage...

Why doesn't the Hague indict him? Why doesn't Zagreb's government take any action?

by vladimir on Sat Mar 14th, 2009 at 03:44:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]

There was a village of 200 inhabitants. Came the war and they realised they will have to defend their homes. They managed to get some rifles but they felt small and not strong enough against those who were equipped with the weapons of Yugoslav army. One of them wanted to create a legend of a soldier strong and cruel that every enemy would fear. So he wrote a song:

U Zagori na izvoru rijeke Cikole,
Stala braca da obrane naše domove.
In Zagora at the source of the river Cikola,
Stood brothers to defend our homes
Stoji Hrvat do Hrvata, mi smo braca svi,
Necete u Cavoglave dok smo živi mi!
There stand Croat with the Croat, all brothers
You are not going to enter Cavoglave while we live
Puce tomson, kalašnjikov a i zbrojevko,
Baci bombu, goni bandu preko izvora!
There shoots tomson, kalasnjikov and zbrojevko
Throw the bomb, repulse that gang to the other side of the wellspring
Korak naprijed, puška gotov s', siju pjesmu svi,
Za dom braco, za slobodu, borimo se mi.
Step forward, rifle ready, there spreads the song
For our home brothers, for freedom, we fight
Cujte srpski dobrovoljci bandu cetnici
Stici ce vas naša ruka i u Srbiji!
Listen Serbian Volonteers and the chetnik gang
our fist will reach you till Serbia
Stici ce vas Božja pravda to vec svatko zna
Sudit ce vam bojovnici iz Cavoglava!
The justice of God will reach you, everybody knows that
The soldier from Cavoglave will put you to trial
Slušajte sad poruku od Svetog Ilije:
Necete u Cavoglave, niste ni prije!
Listen now the message from Saint Ilija
You will not enter Cavoglave, you have never been there
Oj Hrvati, braco mila iz Cavoglava,
Hrvatska vam zaboravit nece nikada!
Croats, brothers from Cavoglave
Croatia will not forget your devotion

It became popular to rise the moral of some soldiers that were defending their villages and after the war, he realised he could take the money out of it and started to do concerts. As you can see, he wants to direct to those who came attacking his country and not to the Serbian nation in general. Since he already started threatening with symbols of fascism like in this song ('za dom'=for home), among some other songs he wrote, he mentioned Jasenovac concentration camp and massacre place Vladimir mentioned before (Belgrade Museum of the Holocaust keeps a list of the names of 80,022 victims (mostly from Jasenovac), including approximately 52,000 Serbs, 16,000 Jews, 12,000 Croats and 10,000 Romanies while majority of names of 350,000 are still unknown) it lifted a lot of controversy and bad image for him that he stopped singing those songs in concerts. There was a joke about some of his fans going to his concert in Istria, Croatia (the part that Serbia, strangely, never claimed) when they were looking for directions and and old guy was explaining them the way through the town which parts carry exclusively antifascist and Yugo-nostalgic names when they realize that they are not welcome there (http://www.net.hr/webcafe/sale_male/page/2009/02/13/0245006.html).

On the other hand, in fallen Vukovar, full of civil victims lying around after the Cetnik slaughter there was Ceca Raznatovic walking around in Cetnik symbols (the wife of dead war criminal Arkan). I don't have to say how popular she is in Serbia! Did they even say something about her actions in Serbia? Did Croats insisted that she has to be put to trial for glorifying symbols of those who murdered all those people? No, Ceca is played in clubs in Croatia! And she was not the only one from Serbian part flagging out those symbols. There were more like Nada Topcagic, Era Ojdanic and other singers on whose concerts people are chanting Chetnik slogans. For me, they can sing whatever they want as long as they do not take arms crossing their borders.
There was one phrase very significant from the ex-Yugoslavian marshal-dictator Tito. He was a Croat, ruling in Belgrade for the good of all Serbs. He had the saying: We do not want what is not ours, but we do not give away what is. Croatia keeps to it but looks like some from the other side forgot the first part of the phrase flagging with certain symbols over the territory that is not theirs. I wonder how many more examples Vladimir can come up with because for every one of his, certainly there would be found a dozens of counterexamples and many times worse. Maybe that's the answer to his question why there are so many more Serbs at trial in Den Haag!

But, we are not here to attack each other. We want to forgive and forget. But there is one problem. People can forgive and forget when they do not feel threatened any more that the bombs might start falling again over their houses. They need to hear the sincere apology and the shame and not 'We do not deserve to be put on trial so much'. The most frightening it seems to be -the fact how many people in Serbia support Seselj. He, like his followers was putting = sign between fascists and all Croats who have to be destroyed, thus offending those people who were peaceful. He was teaching his nationals that all Croats are bad and are a threat to them to justify his plans of expanding to Big Serbia. Maybe the worst crime after all is that planting of hatred. Those who died in the war are mourned but hatred is inherited through the generations.
Why so many people support Seselj? Because they were systematically lied to that those around them are a threat, Croats, Albanians, Muslims. That they all hate them and that they have the right to other lands elsewhere where a lot of other Serbs live, whose lives are constantly in danger so they have o take over those territories to save them. I saw the evidence of various lies presented to Serbian people from inside on several occasions.
During the war, sitting in the basement for a town was for months in around the clock bombing, once I accidentally caught the Serbian television. They were saying there that Croats are bombing themselves to make Serbia look guilty!
Before the war I had a best Serbian friend. They had houses both in Croatia and Serbia so she went to Serbia immediately after the end of the school year in '91. and just before her father started to bomb our town from her village. She was treated as a refugee in Serbia and returned to live in Croatia after the war, with her parents who never left their village. She managed to make new Croatian friends later, but, despite of several calls of mine and some long talks, she still did not have the courage to look me in the eye. I do not reproach her nothing, she grew up in Croatia and knows what happened and some things in her behaviour I see like a kind of apology though not needed since she obviously realised that she is ok in the Croatia like it is and has chosen to live there.
Many years after that I befriended abroad a girl who grew up in Serbia. She is very good and generous person and really dear to me. She is working for charities all over the world. When I mentioned once the period when my town was bombed, she said: which bombing? At that time I thought that the story of people throwing bombs to their own heads was over but then I realised that she could retell stories of what I lived through, the way I would not recognise it. I think that was the fact that hurt me the most of this war. She herself was not guilty of that. She, like many can be the innocent carrier of the bad seed of distorted facts.

My friend who was growing up in Bosnia said than when they were 8-9 years old, with his little friends Aron and Muris, they did not even know they are Croats and Muslims while Serbian kids had little uniforms with `kokarda' on their sleeves saying they are preparing for war.

Croatia is very ashamed and a bit paranoid of its past in the WWII, in some things similar like Spain and Germany. There is even paranoia to bring U2 to the concert for the 'U' in their name. Even the ex president and war criminal Tudjman tried to do his apology for the Jasenovac victims. Probably if any of Serbian war criminals tried to apologise for any war victims in this last war, people would see it as a big progress. But instead, we hear that the trial to the man who was planting hatred like to those who executed it as volunteers is politically fabricated! I prefer to think that person who says that grew up in the surrounding where the input he was getting was biased. But how can we avoid that for future? This is surely an international problem in many wars, yet I have no idea how to prevent that. I believe informing properly all the people on all sides there would be much less volunteers to do foolishness guided by lies and twisted ideas. Unfortunately there is no way that some neutral body could provide a fresh clean information for all. They would have to know both languages, history, culture end be present on both sides to understand situations well and technically it is very difficult to do...

by SteelLady on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 03:38:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why does the Hague inquisition indict 10 Serbs for every 1 Bosnian Muslim, Albanian or Croatian?

[Citation Needed]

Also, please compare this to the number of people killed by the different sides in the war. While that is probably not precisely proportional to the number of war criminals, it's probably a good enough proxy.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 07:54:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Allies killed more Germans during WWII than did the Germans kill Allies. Yet those tried at Nuremberg were only German.

What's the correlation between the two?

I'll get you some figures on the indictments.

by vladimir on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 08:16:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, and NATO killed people in Yugoslavia, and NATO war criminals will never be prosecuted.

But that is not the case you were making. You were making the case that the court is stacked against Serbia and in favour of Albanians, Bosnians and Croats, specifically, not just against the locals and in favour of the White People.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 09:57:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The wikipedia articles on the Yugoslav Wars give some figures...

  • War in Slovenia: no civilian casualties
  • War in Croatia: 4,500 dead Croatian civilians, 200,000 displaced; 2,300 dead Serbian civilians, 300,000 to 450,000 displaced
  • War in Bosnia: 33,000 Bosniac civilians dead; 2,000 Herzegovine civilian dead; 3,600 Serb civilian dead
  • Kosovo War:
    Around 100 Albanian civilians killed by NATO forces [7]
    NATO bombings: Human Rights Watch was only able to verify 500 civilian deaths throughout Yugoslavia, [8][9] with other sources stating from 1,200 to 5,700 [8]

In terms of civilian deaths, Bosniacs dwarf all other groups combined. And in terms of displaced civilians, lacking figures for Bosnia for comparison the war in Croatia takes the cookie.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 10:48:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
so assuming that casualties are proportional to indictments doesn't that work out that too few Serbs and Croats have been Indicted? if we assume Bosnians are correctly totalled? If Serbian numbers are correct then too mant croats and bosnians indicted, and if Croation figures correct, then too many Bosnians, and too few Serbs?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 12:36:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How about indictments anticorrelated with civilian deaths of the same nationality? That would be three points along a straight line on a log-log plot. The exponent might be different from 1.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 12:44:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, what's more relevant is the number of convictions - IMHO.

You can also correlate with the number of expulsed.

by vladimir on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 12:58:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Then dig out those, and we'll play with them.

You're the one who brought the number of indictees to the table. And you're the one who's claiming that the court is packed.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 01:13:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And the number of acquittals, and of withdrawn indictments...

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 01:29:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm actually very surprised at the number of Serb casualties in Bosnia and Croatia. The truth will probably be almost impossible to establish.

These figures do put into perspective the accusations against Serbs for organizing ethnic cleansing. What is clear is that the Serbs were the most 'cleansed' population of all four ethnic/religious groups.

by vladimir on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 12:52:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Displaced" and "ethnically cleansed" are not - quite - the same thing, though.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 12:55:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What's the difference?
by vladimir on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 12:59:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The difference between - say - an American who flees from Saigon and a Khmer intellectual who flees from Phnom Penh.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 01:17:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
An American who flees from Saigon is not at home. He's an occupier. Serbs were at home. In both Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo.
by vladimir on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 04:05:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because there were no civilian Americans living in Saigon before the outbreak of hostilities? I find that hard to imagine...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 04:08:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Even so. Americans have no claim whatsoever to Saigon. Serbs have been living in Krajna and Bosnia for over 600 years! In fact, they were in Bosnia BEFORE the Muslims and in Krajna they were a majority since the 14th century.
by vladimir on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 04:23:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Which, by the way, is not the case of Albanians in Kosovo - who after WWII represented some 40% of the population. Tito's policies changed that.
by vladimir on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 03:48:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the case of the war in Serbia there are several waves of displacement.

First there are Serbs who fled Croatia before the war started.
Then there are Croatian civilians who fled the shelling of civilian areas.
Then there are Serbs who came into the captured territories.
Then there are Serbs who fled before Operation Storm actually started.
Then there are Serbs who fled during Operation Storm.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 01:00:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Then there are Serbs who came into the captured territories.

I was not aware of this. Who came from where to do what? This is the official NATO line.

by vladimir on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 01:07:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean war in Croatia not in Serbia.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 01:23:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's what I understood. Which Serb in his/her right mind would move to Krajna during the war? Krajna was ancient Serb homeland since the 14th-15th century - when the Habsburgs officialized this area as being Serb in return for protection against the Turks. The Serbs never 'occupied' Krajna... nor any part of Bosnia for that matter.
by vladimir on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 01:30:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
vladimir:
The Serbs never 'occupied' Krajna... nor any part of Bosnia for that matter.
The Krajina had Croatian and Serb villages interspersed among each other - the Krajina was not 100% Serb and apparently this was in part encouraged by Tito (both the interspersing and the concentration in majority Serb or Majority croat towns).

First some Serbs fled because they feared they would be attacked. Then the Croats were driven off by shelling, then the Croatian villages were settled or (more often) destroyed to prevent return. Then the same happened in reverse with Operation Storm: some serbs fled before it, some were driven off and then villages were destroyed to prevent return, or settled.

All of these with various degrees of "allegedly" and various sizes of people desplaced and houses destroyed.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 01:36:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We agree on the sequence of events except for the settlement of the abandoned Croat villages or homes. Who would have gone there? Except maybe Serbs displaced from other regions... but even there, refugees chose Serbia for peace... not Krajna to face another war.

It is in fact so difficult to 'resettle' an area that the Croats, some 13 years after Operation Storm, still can't fill up the empty ex-Serb villages. They're ghost towns.

by vladimir on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 02:28:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That might be because the industry in the areas was destroyed so the ability to support a population is greatly reduced.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 05:17:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think so. It means that the Croat population hasn't increased by 300 000 over the past 10 years. In fact Croatia has a negative population growth rate.

Second, the Serbs didn't have a scorched earth policy. They didn't even have time to properly collect their belongings and flee when Storm began... let alone destroy industry.

Finally, the area was mostly agrarian - not industrial.

by vladimir on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 02:55:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Croatian invaders did destruction all on their own. However, there was not much industry to destroy, more the homes. The area was more agrarian. (Which also means that minefields could limit re-settlement, though minefields were more in the border regions and Croatia claims to have removed most.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 05:23:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In addition, supposedly Croatia recognises the right of Krajina Serbs "who didn't commit war crimes" to return.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 05:39:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But they all committed war crimes, didn't they? That's why nobody's going back. I know people who've lost property in Dubrovnik and can't recover it.
by vladimir on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 05:49:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They are afraid they would be accused of war crimes if they came back, which is a different proposition than "they are all war criminals".

Not having first-hand knowledge I would have to take things such as the follosing at face value...

Serbs of Croatia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tension between Serbs and Croatians were violently high in 1990s.[citation needed] The violence has reduced since 2000 and has remained low to this day, however, significant problems remain.[15] The participation of the largest Serbian party SDSS in the Croatian Government of Ivo Sanader has eased tensions to an extent, but the refugee situation is still politically sensitive.[citation needed] The main issue is high-level official and social discrimination against the Serbs.[4] At the height levels of the government, new laws are continuously being introduced in order to combat this discrimination, thus, demonstrating an effort on the part of government.[15] For example, lengthy and in some cases unfair proceedings,[15] particularly in lower level courts, remain a major problem for Serbian returnees pursuing their rights in court.[15] In addition, Serbs continue to be discriminated against in access to employment and in realizing other economic and social rights.[citation needed] Also some cases of violence and harassment against Croatian Serbs continue to be reported.[15] The property laws allegedly favor Bosnian Croatians refugees who took residence in houses that were left unoccupied and unguarded by Serbs after Operation Storm.[15] Amnesty International's 2005 report considers one of the greatest obstacles to the return of thousands of Croatian Serbs has been the failure of the Croatian authorities to provide adequate housing solutions to Croatian Serbs who were stripped of their occupancy rights, including where possible by reinstating occupancy rights to those who had been affected by their discriminatory termination[15] The European Court of Human Rights decided against Croatian Serb Kristina Blečić, stripped her of occupancy rights after leaving his house in 1991 in Zadar.[16]

Operation Storm - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Approximately 300,000 Croatian Serbs were displaced during the entire war, only a third of which (or about 117,000) are officially registered as having returned as of 2005[update]. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, 200,000 Croatian refugees, mostly Croatian Serbs, are still displaced in neighbouring countries and elsewhere. Many Croatian Serbs cannot return because they have lost their tenancy rights and under threats of intimidation.* Croatian Serbs continue to be the victim of discrimination in access to employment and with regard to other economic and social rights. Some cases of violence and harassment against Croatian Serbs continue to be reported.[53] Some of the Croatian Serbs will not return out of fear of being charged for war crimes, as the Croatian police has secret war crime suspect lists; Croatia passed an Amnesty law for anyone who had not taken an active part in the war, but many do not know if they are on amnesty list or not because amnesty rules are not clear enough.[5] [6] The return of refugees is further complicated by the fact that many Croats and Bosniaks (some expelled from Bosnia) have taken residence in their vacated houses. Another reason for the non-return of refugees is the fact that areas that were under Croatian Serb control during the 1991-95 period were economically ruined (unemployment in RSK was 92%). Since that time, Croatia has started a series of projects aimed at rebuilding these areas and jump-starting the economy (including special tax exemptions), but unemployment is still high.
(my emphasis in both cases)

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 06:49:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Your statistics are questionable Migeru. I've got other figures for Bosnian casualties:

Civilian Muslims and Croats = 38,000
Civilian Serbs = 16,700
Bosnian Muslims soldiers = 28,000
Bosnian Serb soldiers = 14,000
Bosnian Croat Soldiers = 6,000

Sources (all offer the same data) :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bosnian_War#Casualties
http://grayfalcon.blogspot.com/2004/11/bosnia-death-toll-revealed.html
http://www.nrk.no/nyheter/utenriks/4260912.html

Now compare this to the ICTY indictments and you have a seriously biased court.

by vladimir on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 12:18:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Albanian civilians = 3,368 (Red Cross)
Serb Civilians = 8,000 out of a total of 12,000 casualties according to The Humanitarian Law Center in Belgrade, an organization funded by the European Commission [53]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kosovo_War
by vladimir on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 01:14:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, you compare that with indictments. We're not here to do your homework. You allege a packed court, you get to demonstrate it. All the way to q.e.d., with citations, arithmetic and the whole Turkish horn orchestra.

(FWIW, my quick mental arithmetic puts the ratios in my post downthread at 1/400 Serbian indictees vs. other people's civvies and 1/1600 Croat indictees vs. other people's civvies, respectively 18*10^5 Serbian indictees times dead Serb civvies, vs. 15*10^5 Croat indictees times dead Croat civvies.

So by one measure, they draw even - give or take 20 % - and by another measure you go from a factor of three to a factor of four. At the same time, the sensitivity to the choice of metric between these two decreases to a factor of four.

Still not convincing.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 02:52:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We can also compare things to the ratio of convictions to acquittals/withdrawals.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 02:55:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Relax Jake. You're the one who said :
Then dig out those, and we'll play with them.

Besides, my comment wasn't an order or a request that anyone should do something. It was like saying "now look at that"... that's all.

by vladimir on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 02:59:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, you were saying,

Now compare this to the ICTY indictments and you have a seriously biased court.

In other words, doing the actual arithmetic. Which is your job.

That's not to say that I wouldn't happily do it for you once, or twice or even three times. But you used up that quota half a dozen posts ago, and I'm tired of first having to (re)construct your arguments from scattered data and vague insinuation before I can even begin to consider it properly.

Presenting free-floating data and claiming to have made a case is like presenting a bucket of paint and claiming that you've made a painting.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 04:55:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Presenting free-floating data and claiming to have made a case is like presenting a bucket of paint and claiming that you've made a painting.

What on earth are you talking about? This is a discussion, it's not a PhD thesis!

by vladimir on Sat Mar 14th, 2009 at 03:18:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, and that's probably why nobody's demanding that you cite affidavits, dig out old books and newspaper articles or whatever else historians do for their Ph.d.

But when you bring numbers to the table, you either do it to make a point - in which case you need to present a plausible model to translate those numbers into a conclusion.

Or you're not - in which case the numbers are just noise that add nothing to the debate.

You're the dude making claims here. You've got to present a case if you want those claims to be taken seriously. And so far, what you have presented is not a case, any more than a disorderly pile of bricks is a house.

And if you don't want your claims to be taken seriously, then why the are we having this discussion, anyway?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Mar 14th, 2009 at 11:53:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't quite get your mathematical logic.
> 1 Serb indicted for every 400 non Serb civilian casualties
> 1 Croat indicted for every 1 600 non Croat civilian casualties
That's just 4 times as many Serbs indicted per enemy casualty than Croats. In my books that's super stacked.
by vladimir on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 03:14:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
sigh

A factor of four is not conclusive evidence with a measure this crude. Certainly not for a charge as serious as packing a court of law. Particularly when another, not notably cruder, measure using the same data essentially breaks even.

If you massage the numbers enough and then cherry-pick the "right" metric, you can make them say virtually anything (which is why we spend so much time around here taking popular econometrics apart to see how they work).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 03:34:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
yeah right
by vladimir on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 04:49:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ballpark guesstimates give you the order of magnitude, and little more than that. This discrepancy (which, by the way, only exists when using one ballpark metric - you conveniently ignore that it goes away when DoDo and I used two other ballpark metrics) is barely more than half an order of magnitude. It says jack shit about the court being packed, unless you're in the hundred-to-one range or something of that order of magnitude.

Now, you may argue that this test is too crude (guilty as charged - it's a ballpark figure using a ballpark metric, nothing more). But then I invite you to construct a better metric - and argue that it is indeed better - and run the numbers on your own. Show your math, because when I do my math, it does not add up to your conclusion.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 05:01:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Err. No. Statistical significance is not as of 1:100. 1:4 is certainly statistically significant in this case. I'll do a t test as soon as I have some time and I'll post the results. Maybe that'll convince you.
by vladimir on Sat Mar 14th, 2009 at 03:20:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not talking about statistical significance. Statistical significance requires that your model at least attempts to correct for confounding factors. This one doesn't. It's a ballpark figure, and as such, it can tell you only whether you are at least roughly in the right ballpark. 1:4 is in the right ballpark. It is possible, of course, to be in the correct ballpark and still be offside, and a ballpark test won't allow you to decide that. To do that, you need something more precise. And if you want something more precise, you have to base your model on assumptions that aren't pulled out of my ass. But you're the one claiming offside. I'm not. So all I had to show was that the ball was not self-evidently offside. Which it isn't.

Besides, it's only 1:4 by one of the measures. The two other measures that have been put forward in this thread call it even. Furthermore, the measure that's 1:4 is the least appropriate one, because it assumes that all sides had an equal hand in all deaths that weren't from their own side, which is obviously nonsense.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Mar 14th, 2009 at 11:16:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
JakeS: ...you have to base your model on assumptions that aren't pulled out of my ass

Exactly which of my assumptions have come out of your ass?

by vladimir on Sat Mar 14th, 2009 at 03:30:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That all sides were equally responsible for all the deaths that were not their own nationals, that the number of actual war criminals is at least roughly proportional to the number of people killed, and that the number of war criminals for whom there is enough solid evidence to prosecute is at least roughly proportional to the number of war criminals.

None of these are trivial assumptions.

The first is pretty blatant nonsense. The second is something that I would be willing to bet money on. The third is not necessarily true: It might be the case that if there are more war criminals, they leave more evidence implicating each other, and picking up one end of the web and unravelling the whole thing might be easier. Or a larger number of war criminals might be indicative of a superior organisation, which might include better cutouts between individual members and better cover manoeuvres, which would make it harder.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Mar 14th, 2009 at 03:47:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are there figures for local prosecutions? serbs brosecuted by serbia? bosnians by bosnia? croats by croatia?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Mar 14th, 2009 at 05:10:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, prosecutions within the ICCY framework.

So, actually, you can add an assumption to the list: That all countries have been equally unwilling and/or unable to prosecute their own war criminals - because ICCY only has jurisdiction when it is clear that the country of origin is not going to prosecute of its own volition.

But I think that's a pretty fair assumption, all things considered...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Mar 14th, 2009 at 05:33:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I knew that was the original state, but wondered wether there had been any shift since the process started.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Mar 14th, 2009 at 05:56:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IANAL, but AFAIK that's still the case. It's a standard (and IMO very sensible) condition for international tribunals, so I very much doubt that it would be waived unless some of the countries in question tried to "acquit" "their" war criminals in outright kangaroo kourts.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Mar 14th, 2009 at 06:02:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, those are not my assumptions - they're yours. You were the one who proposed and calculated that metric in the first place. IMHO, the other two measures you provided seem less adequate than the first.

I'm working on a statistical analysis which I'll share with you - whatever the results.

by vladimir on Sun Mar 15th, 2009 at 02:29:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, they are my assumptions, because so far DoDo and I are the only ones who have actually done any data analysis in this thread.

But that does not matter. The figure you used to state your case was based on those assumptions, no matter who came up with them. Which means that its validity is limited to the validity of those assumptions. I explicitly stated at the time that this was a ballpark figure, not a precise measure. And I used it only as a ballpark figure, not as a precise measure. So when you use it as if it were a precise measure, you're violating the assumptions that went into it.

In plain English: That number does not say what you seem to think it says. I should know; I built it.

I'd also like to know why the other two measures seem less adequate to you? That the number of war criminals is anti-correlated to the number of civilian casualties on your own side does not strike me as an unreasonable assumption - or at least not any less reasonable than to say that all sides are equally responsible for all the civilian casualties that are not from their own side.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Mar 15th, 2009 at 05:53:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by vladimir on Sun Mar 15th, 2009 at 03:47:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Kosovo Accused's 40-year UN Conviction Overturned-EU Mission. Friday March 13rd, 2009 / 16h50

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AFP)--A European Union-led court in Kosovo has overturned a 40-year jail term U.N. judges gave an ethnic Albanian for a 2001 bomb attack on a bus that killed 11 Serbs, an E.U. mission said Friday.
"A Supreme Court panel of five judges - three EULEX and two local judges - ordered on the afternoon of March 12 the immediate release of Florim Ejupi from Dubrava prison," said the E.U. mission known as EULEX.
"He was acquitted of all charges and released for a lack of evidence," said EULEX, which in December replaced the U.N. mission that had administered Kosovo since its 1998-99 conflict.
Last year, a three-member panel of U.N. judges jailed Ejupi for 40 years over the attack on a bus carrying Serb pilgrims from Serbia to the enclave of Gracanica in central Kosovo for a commemoration service in February 2001.
Eleven passengers were killed and another 10 wounded in the incident, which occurred seven kilometers inside Kosovo, near the town of Podujevo.

by vladimir on Sat Mar 14th, 2009 at 02:31:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
vladimir:
I'll get you some figures on the indictments.
See Wikipedia's List of indictees of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
This is a complete listing of all indictees of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia along with their ethnic origin, rank or occupation, details of charges against them and the disposition of their cases. There are currently two indictees at large.


Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 11:13:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well done Migeru! I figured there'd be something available on Wikipedia, but I nevertheless contacted a friend who works at the tribunal.

I counted:

  • 100 Serbs
  • 29 Croat
  • 9 Albanian
  • 8 Bosnian Muslim
by vladimir on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 12:00:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
DoDo already linked to it when we were discussing your diary about Karadzic...

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 12:15:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So taking those figures, we get

Serbian indictments vs. other people's dead civilians: 100/(4500+33000+2000+500) ~ 1/400

Serbian indictments times dead Serbian civilians: 100*(2300+3600) ~ 6*10^5

Croat indictments vs. other people's dead civilians: 29/(2300+33000+3600+500) ~ 1/1200

Croat indictments times dead Croat civilians: 29*(4500+2000) ~ 15*10^5

Bosnian indictments vs. other people's dead civilians: 8/(4500+2300+2000+500) ~ 1/1000

Bosnian indictments times dead Bosnian civilians: 8*33000 ~ 2.5*10^5

I'm not sure what to do with the Albanians, because I think they're from a separate, later round of wars.

Just from looking at these figures, you can see that they aren't conclusive (higher figures means greater likelihood of bias against that faction): By the first measure, Serbians get a short shrift, while Croatians appear favoured, but by the other measure, Croats get shafted and Bosniacs appear favoured. And all of these figures are well within an order of magnitude of each other, which is almost certainly an optimistic confidence interval for such a simple back-of-the-envelope calculation.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 12:49:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, except for the indictees vs. other people's civilians measure, Bosniaks weren't involved in the slaughter in the War in Croatia, and Croats were responsible for the smaller part of that 33,000.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 02:51:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure, it's a just a ballpark figure, with some very, very crude assumptions.

But then, the only thing I was trying to establish with my little back-of-the-envelope calculation is that a 1:3 ratio between Serb and Croat indictees isn't completely outrageous when you look at the casualty figures.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 04:11:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Your indictees vs. other people's civilians figure maintained the 1:3 ratio :-)

Here is a comparison trying to accredit civilian deads, 'generously' assuming that 20% of the ethnic Bosniak (Muslim) civilian dead were killed by ethnic Croat militias and 80% by Serb ones (I suspect the ratio may be even more tilted), splitting Bosnian Serb civilian dead between Croats and Bosniaks (Muslims), and Bosnian Croat (Migeru's "Hercegovine") dead between Bosniaks (Muslims) and Serbs.

Serbian indictments vs. other people's dead civilians: 100/(4500+26400+500+950) = 1/323.5

Croat indictments vs. other people's dead civilians: 29/(2300+6600+1800) ~ 1/335

Bosnian indictments vs. other people's dead civilians: 8/(1800+950) ~ 1/340

Surprisingly close.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 05:17:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Your indictees vs. other people's civilians figure maintained the 1:3 ratio :-)

No, it demonstrated that the results were unstable by up to an order of magnitude (one favoured Serbians over Croats by half an order of magnitude, the other the other way round), depending on which metric one uses. Which means that, pending a more detailed analysis - which it wasn't my job to do, since I wasn't trying to prove anything - any ratio below an order of magnitude in difference is not inherently suspicious.

I used two simple metrics in order to get a ballpark figure for the sensitivity to choice between simple metrics, and demonstrate that Val's simple metric was well within the sensitivity to choice of metric.

I can't really comment on your analysis, because it uses assumptions derived from knowledge of the general sequence of events during the war, which I don't know anything about.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 11:04:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Nuremberg trials were most prominently about the Holocaust and the killing of civilians. The number of civilians executed by the Allies pales in comparison with the number of civilians executed by the Axis.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 12:16:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OTOH, Nürnberg explicitly excluded terror bombing from the list of punishable offences, on the rather spurious grounds that the Allies did it too.

I'm not sure it changes that much, though. It takes a lot of powder to wipe out five to ten million civilians, particularly given that the Allied bombing runs were, shall we say, not precisely decisively effective until the last years of the war.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 12:53:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Balkan Odyssey is ordered. Thanks, I appreciate the help. Any more news, thoughts or ideas, drop me a line, willya?

I appreciate your input.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Wed Mar 11th, 2009 at 03:19:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure, no problem.
by Upstate NY on Wed Mar 11th, 2009 at 10:29:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Stavrianos' "The Balkans" is now on order. Just started the Owens.

Thanks again.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 07:44:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My family camped in Yugoslavia in the late 1960's and it seemed to me, as a teenager, to be not all that different from neigbouring Austria, although I suppose we did concentrate on the more touristy coastal regions.  Tito always got a bad press in "the west", but in retrospect seems to have done a pretty good job in keeping ethnic tensions at bay, if not resolving them.  The rapid collapse of Yugoslavia afterwards seems to have been an unmitigated disaster.

I'm not sure it was in anyone's interest for this to occur, although typically, the IMF free market ideologues would have been pretty incompetent in terms of gauging the political consequences of their actions.  I also don't know anything about how the German secret service might have seen Germany's interest's in the region.

But what I find most difficult to understand, of all the machinations that were going on, is why the EU as a whole would want the region to be anything other than stable, prosperous, and at peace.  I fail to see how anyone's national interest is served by the collapse into ethnic war and the splintering into smaller states and enclaves.

I appreciate there may still be some WW2 baggage, some old religious alliances and all sorts of family and business ties, but it all doesn't seem to amount to a hill of beans from a larger strategic perspective.  If some intelligence services, some arms industries, or some commercial interests were engaged in nefarious activities then they really need to be called to account, because the present situation serves no ones long term interest, as far as I can see, bar the national/ethnic political elites who now have their own little states to play around with.

Perhaps it is my relative ignorance of the region, or perhaps it was a lot of people behaving very stupidly, but I recall a time with Yugoslavia was regarded as a pretty enlightened bridge between East and West even at the height of cold war tensions.  What happened is an object lesson in how a carefully crafted political edifice can be seriously screwed up by people who don't know what they are doing, or who don't care what they are doing provided it it maintains them in a position of power in their own back yard.  Sad.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Mar 9th, 2009 at 08:17:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's just that Communist Milosevic controlled the major highway and the Danube.
by Upstate NY on Mon Mar 9th, 2009 at 08:52:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can see how that would have mattered in the 19th. and first half of the 20th. centuries, but now?  What % of anyone's GDP is traded along the Danube or the highway, and aren't there many alternative routes?..  This sounds like Generals fighting the war before the last one.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Mar 10th, 2009 at 05:31:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's mountainous territory. Power and infrastructure moves through Serbia. The only way around is to get from Hungary to Romania and down to Bulgaria. The roads there are not optimal, however.

I'm just guessing. I don't know. Others have mentioned oil and gas pipelines which need to scoot up into Austria or empty into the Adriatic.

This still doesn't explain why Germany was so quick to recognize when all the other countries were warning them not to, including the USA.

by Upstate NY on Tue Mar 10th, 2009 at 11:00:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Upstate NY:
A real good study of the decade would have to begin with questions about the IMF and World Bank in 1980s Yugoslavia. Here we are talking about a proud Communist country whose economy became a basket case overnight.

IIRC, a communist country that more cooperative economics then the rest, and as such was seen as a possible middle-way.

I would be very itnerested in reading more about the IMF and World Bank interventions.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 09:51:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
about the only consistency you will find is the consistency of power in search of its own advantage

How consistent was the Bush administration in allowing the economic raise of China? What advantages does the EU power reap anywhere? Why are we wondering how the EU as a whole would want the region to be anything other than stable, prosperous, and at peace?
by das monde on Wed Mar 11th, 2009 at 06:01:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Excellent diary, UpstateNY.

Like I said before, I'm not yet ready to form an opinion on Kosovo. There's more material that I'm waiting to get into, and I simply haven't started on Kosovo in earnest yet.

That being said, I have no problem with the objections to the Kosovo intervention stated here at ET, or with the disparity between those atrocities getting attention and those which go unreported. All of this and more is true. One thing I bear in mind, and if you could address this, is whether the fact that the Milosevic regime had already gotten away with at least one atrocity has any bearing on your thoughts. I believe it had considerable weight at the time.

Thank you.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Mon Mar 9th, 2009 at 07:14:00 PM EST
Just how unbiased and creadible can this Wikipedia article be? It doesn't even mention Naser Oric and his Mujahideen troops which for months prior to the Serb offensive slaughtered over 1 500 serb civilians in the villages neighboring Srebrenica.
by vladimir on Tue Mar 10th, 2009 at 04:39:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If a wikipedia article is incomplete, inaccurate, or does not conform to a "neutral point of view", you know what you need to do... It's a wiki.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 10th, 2009 at 05:32:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You know, remembering the coverage at the time I can't really believe that Milosevic (who broke up with Karadzic and Mladic over the Vance-Owen plan in 1993 which Milosevic had accepted but Mladic opposed) had any foreknowledge of the massacre in Srebrenica, or responsibility (except indirectly) for it. Milosevic had a tense relationship with Karadzic at the time. Interestingly Zoran Djindjic who later became some sort of pro-democracy icon, was feasting with Karadzic in Pale right after the B/S leadership's break with Milosevic and was campaigning for Karadzic well after his indictment, certainly in 1996.

See this 1994 report on Yugoslav politics a year before Srebrenica, in which it is clear that Milosevic is the pro-"Peace in Bosnia" camp while the so-called democratic opposition is the war-camp.

Also see this report on Milosevic and Srebrenica.

I should also mention that, as far as the "dictator" tag goes, a lot can be said about his authoritarianism and his corruption. But I really don't think that, say, election tampering by itself was what kept him in office. He was a populist opportunist and he ran against a comedy of an opposition, which was for the most part (the "Civic Alliance" being the only honourable exception) significantly more nationalist in rhetoric than him. He would have won anyway it seems - yet, had Kosovar Albanians actually voted in Yugoslav elections at the time as they could, he would have lost power very easily.

Note that I think Slobodan Milosevic was to a great extent co-responsible for the Yugoslav tragedy, and he should have been prosecuted on a number of charges. But I don't believe the claim that he was a monster who created the mess all by himself. In fact he was one of the outcomes of  triumphant nationalism in ex-Yugoslavia. And there was no-one to challenge him inside Serbia.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Tue Mar 10th, 2009 at 07:52:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
According to Lord Owen, Karadzic was very much in favor of the peace plan, and he was pushing it harder than anyone. Mladic pressured him into rejecting it, and Karadzic was put into a corner. That's when Karadzic decided to put the plan up for a referendum, but before that could take place, the plan was scuppered with outside pressure.
by Upstate NY on Tue Mar 10th, 2009 at 10:58:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not "very much", he was pressured by Milosevic to accept. It was Mladic that killed it for the Bosnian Serbs though, yes... See this for example...

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Tue Mar 10th, 2009 at 11:12:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't say other than what I read in Balkan Odyssey, but there Owen portrays Karadzic as pressing for the peace plan much more than Tudjman or Izebetgovic.
by Upstate NY on Tue Mar 10th, 2009 at 11:26:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have no sympathy for anyone involved in Srebernica, and feel that if you can punish them cleanly, then DO IT.

By cleanly I mean, don't start another war that will take many innocents down with the monsters.

I wrote this in another post above: Why didn't the UN Dutch troops intervene? The answer corresponds to something Vladimir writes in his response to you. The reason is that the Dutch were in the Bihac pocket in the prior year when Bosnian Muslims slaughtered many Serbs. Carla Del Ponte puts the number of Serb civilians killed in the pocket at 2,500 (but maybe she's taking all the deaths together from 1992-1994). The Dutch General together with Phillipe Morillon testified at the Hague that they saw Serb reprisals as revenge for the acts of the prior year.

One reason that Naser Oric does not appear in Wikipedia on Srebrenica is because he was arrested and acquitted by the UN's ICTY. Thus, in legal terms, he never committed those crimes. He is innocent. The most you can add is that the prosecutor, Del Ponte, thought his acquittal was an obscene travesty of justice, and that the UN generals on the ground knew him well and offered testimony against him in the mid 1990s.

Regardless, I can't see how anyone can defend a revenge that is essentially a horrific atrocity, the killing of captive thousands, and the dumping of them into unmarked graves.

Serb's took revenge on Muslims (who were probably taking revenge on them) and then NATO takes revenge on the Serbs by starting the Kosovo War which leads to ever multiplying acts of revenge between Serbs and Albanians? I do buy your theory. I think this is what happened. Obviously I don't think revenge is a proper response.

by Upstate NY on Tue Mar 10th, 2009 at 10:56:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Upstate NY:
Regardless, I can't see how anyone can defend a revenge that is essentially a horrific atrocity, the killing of captive thousands, and the dumping of them into unmarked graves.
That is the key point. 1,500 deaths don't justify allowing another 1,500 deaths in a reprisal a year later. Two wrongs don't make a right.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 10th, 2009 at 10:59:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
usually means military intervention, because of the assumption that diplomacy has run out of options. I don't think that Power is against diplomacy. Just not with infinite patience.

However I'm against military interventions or the use of military for anything else than defensive purposes in general.

  • The black swan: War is a major intervention in an extremely unstable social framework. The outcome is pretty much unpredictable. Whatever you do, you shouldn't escalate a situation, because the result is chaotic and unpredictable. The only exception from that would be a case, where one side in a conflict is already out for maximum escalation. WW II is the only occasion, where I can easily see this
  • The arms race: For defending your country, you need a smaller army than for attacking. Even with a security buffer the general dynamic is deescalating. When you maintain a military, that can do interventions, others have to scale up their military, too. How can a country, lets say like Iran, ever by sure, that an intervention force will not be abused to attack it? There may be times, when there are major aggressive powers, when one has to show some strength. Currently the NATO is the uberpower in world and could reduce its military. A guarantee for never ever abusing the infrastructure for intervention isn't credible.
  • Inefficiency and structural suffering: If you say, you maintain the military to avoid genocide and mass killing, it seems the prime goal is to save lives. But there are more efficient ways to save lives. Why don't you have an army of doctors curing easy to medicate, but deadly diseases? Why don't you have benenutrition programs? A lot of people in the world die for reasons, that are quite easy to prevent. Structural suffering, just doesn't produce that spectacular pictures as killing by humans. An informed judgement shouldn't be confused by that. That costs of war are really enormous, when you consider, that even when currently nothing is going on, you still maintain the troops.

Some other stuff
  • who makes sure comittment lasts? Can you really punish  a nation that says e.g. after a change of gov't in elections, that they don't want to prolong the operation, despite it is of critical importance in the other country?
  • who wants to be part of such an army? You don't get enough volunteers - at least not, if you have social system, that allows poor people of your society to take other chances. The only way this can work is, rich nations pay poor to do the dirty work. Not exactly a great thought.
  • are the interventionists responsible for the long run, e.g.  if ten years after the intervention a conflict seems to be the result of previous agreement?
  • who what have to agree on intervention? Is the redefinition of international law something, that some states can do to others without their agreement?

So, yes, all diplomatic means, and occasionally some trade sanctions etc. (but even those are overused. ~400000 humans died in Iraq due to sanctions, for what?); but military use isn't a good idea.


Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers
by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Mon Mar 9th, 2009 at 09:03:54 PM EST
All excellent questions.

About Power and infinite patience, I'm talking about a specific peace plan in 1992, not the dawdling that happened after that which allowed the killings. The three principals agreed to it. In fact, Karadzic was pushing hard for it since it would secure 51% of Bosnia for the Serb Republic.

James Baker and Samantha Power thought that you couldn't reward the aggression and ethnic cleansing which had already occurred in 1992. That's why the plan was killed. (Well, not because of power, but because of Baker, though Power concurred that the plan was highly beneficial for the Serbs).

by Upstate NY on Mon Mar 9th, 2009 at 10:47:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Very good diary, but some objections. I think that you're ignoring a few things in the Kosovo case.

  1. The marginalization of the moderates on the Albanian side wasn't simply a result of the KLA's actions, but of the Serb ones as well, or lack thereof. That is, the inability of Rugova's strategy to achieve any tangible progress.

  2. The belief that without a decisive intervention on the Albanian side, the KLA would continue their strategy of provoking the Serbian side. That combined with the full knowledge provided by Bosnia of how the Serbs would react meant you needed military control of Kosovo with a pro-Albanian stance.
by MarekNYC on Tue Mar 10th, 2009 at 02:51:43 PM EST
If you go to Rambouillet, where the Serbs agreed to leave Kosovo, then that is indeed a tangible result, which Rugova could have worked with. In other words, the Serbs capitulated.

Your point 2 essentially supports what I'm saying. Groups such as the KLA can--through force of arms--force other nations into humanitarian interventions, by riling things up so. Look at the PKK and Turkey. If Turkey were not so indispensable, if instead Turkey were on the opposite side of the ledger when it comes to alliances with the US, NATO, Europe, then the PKK would be an optimal lever for pressuring Turkey's foreign policy.

I also would not compare Bosnia to Kosovo so easily. In Bosnia, the problem was that the dissolution of Yugoslavia without accounting for ethnic divides (the large number of ethnic Serbs in the province) created a real mess. Albania was more uniform ethnically. The question is, what could/would the Serbs do in Kosovo? If you go by the level of fighting, the numbers of killed, it simply doesn't compare.

by Upstate NY on Tue Mar 10th, 2009 at 02:58:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here they are

ICTY

by vladimir on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 08:08:51 AM EST
You're still just looking at a factor of three between Serbs and Croats, whether you count indictees or convictions.

A factor of three wasn't convincing above, and isn't convincing now.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 11:07:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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