Title: Message

Milosevic outlasts May - 02/28/2004 13:39

Hague Tribunal Farce: Richard may to resign due to health problems.

  The proceedings at the International Criminal Court at The Hague go from the sublime to the ridiculous. Firstly, its jurisdiction is not recognized by all countries, foremost among those which refuse to recognize it being the United States of America. Secondly, if this kangaroo court does not have unanimous recognition, what jurisdictional authority can it wield?

  No jurisdiction

  Under Yugoslav Federal law and Serbian law, which govern the person of Slobodan Milosevic, the man and the Head of State, there is no call whatsoever for the ICC to try him because the legal institutions exist inside the country to judge the former President, if and when a case is made against him, which to date has not been the case.

  Under the same two legal systems, the decision to kidnap Slobodan Milosevic and bundle him out of the country was illegal, since it was not taken by a majority of cabinet Ministers. Therefore, the ICC, even if it were internationally and unequivocally recognized, has no legal jurisdiction over Slobodan Milosevic because his appearance in the Netherlands is the result of kidnapping by forces loyal to the USA-which ironically, does not recognize the court it had Mr. Milosevic taken to.

  Political tool, not jurisdictional institution

  That said, Slobodan Milosevic has spent the last two years complying with the court, although he has stated that the ICC is a political tool, not a jurisdictional institution.

  The ?trial¦ was opened in February 2002. Two years on, how much nearer is it to completion? The resignation of Judge Richard May on 31st May, 2004 for undisclosed health reasons creates another blocking point in these farcical proceedings, which began with a public declaration by the prosecuting attorney, Carla del Ponte, that Mr. Milosevic was guilty, even before the trial had begun.

  The case for mistrial

  Slobodan Milosevic now has the chance to contest the replacement of Richard May on the grounds of incompetence or impartiality (who would not be influenced by public opinion?), or call for a retrial or dissolution, due to mistrial.

  The ICC does not have a jury and so the decision is taken by three judges. With a three-month recession due to be called shortly for Mr. Milosevic to prepare his defence, how can a new judge catch up on two years of proceedings in one eighth of that time and be as well prepared for judgment as the other two judges?

  The Charges. Genocide: No case to answer

  One charge against Slobodan Milosevic is genocide, which under the UN Genocide Convention of 1948, is described as the physical killing of members of a racial, national or ethnic group and the intention to destroy such group(s) in whole or in part. The geographical area in question in this case is Bosnia-Herzegovina, 1992-1995.

  1. How much authority did Mr. Milosevic have over the Bosnian Republika Srpska and how much of what happened was due to the orders of Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic?

  2. Were the deaths in this war the result of a determination to destroy the Croats and Muslims or were they the unplanned result of the desire to protect Serb communities in this region, given the ferocity of the attacks against Serbs by Croats and Muslims, backed by external influences, including the West?

  3. Did Carla del Ponte have the right to publicly declare that Slobodan Milosevic was guilty before the trial began?

  4. The court v NATO-s puppet v has to prove that Slobodan Milosevic in fact commanded the Serb forces in a campaign to willingly destroy Croat and Muslim communities in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

  To date, the prosecution has presented hearsay and gossip, no insider evidence as to Milosevic¦s guilt. No smoking gun.

  The Charges. Crimes against Humanity: No case to answer

  The charge that Slobodan Milosevic was responsible for Crimes against Humanity in Croatia in 1991 and 1992 and in Kosovo in 1999 hits the same stumbling block as the genocide charge.

  1. How much authority did Mr. Milosevic wield over the Serb forces in Croatia?

  2. Were the Croats and Albanians themselves not fighting the Serbs?

  3. Had the Croats and Albanians not been aided, supported, trained and financed by foreign powers? Were the USA and Canada not actively helping the Croats? Were the UCK terrorists not received on Capitol Hill and wined and dined by US Congressmen?

  4. How then can the Serbs be blamed for everything when in fact the area was a free-for-all?

  5. What right did these foreign powers have to intervene? Should they not be the defendants and not Slobodan Milosevic?

  Ball in Milosevic¦s Court

  The prosecution has decided to file a motion with the UN panel of judges to end the case. There will now be a recess of three months for the defendant to prepare his defence. In six weeks- time, he must provide a list of witnesses and will have at least two years, the same time as the prosecution had, to defend himself.

  NATO v the real culprit.

  It takes two sides to wage a war. The Croats were armed and fighting, the Muslims were armed and fighting, the Albanians were armed and fighting, all of these groups supported from abroad.

  The Serbian army and authorities were no more guilty than the other elements involved, the difference being that the West (Washington) had already decided to humiliate Serbia.

  NATO was spoiling for a fight. The resulting massacres of civilians in Yugoslavia and Kosovo by this organization were no less war crimes or crimes against humanity than those with which Mr. Milosevic is being charged.

  In comparison, it is Slobodan Milosevic who comes across as the victim and NATO as the culprit. Therefore, the trial should be immediately declared as void and those guilty put on trial for the war crimes they committed: NATO and its leaders at the time.

  Why do all roads always lead to Blair?

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

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