Ivo Skoric on Sat, 6 Jul 2002 22:22:56 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> ivogram: US vs BiH, milosevic trial, US nixes new pax

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"Ivo Skoric" <ivo@reporters.net>
     Re: U.S. Vetoes Bosnia Peacekeeping Extension
     Re: Progress of Milosevic trial
     Re: U.S. Might Refuse New Peace Duties Without Immunity

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From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo@reporters.net>
Date: Mon, 1 Jul 2002 13:17:52 -0400
Subject: Re: U.S. Vetoes Bosnia Peacekeeping Extension

Yes. This is how situation in Macedonia got both out of hand and 
out of the media. No UN presence there means that local 
warmongers prevail, and it also means that nobody outside cares. 
Did China veto continuation of UN mission there to make 
Macedonia more directly dependent on its neighbours like Serbia, 
which is very dear to China in recent years? Well, that's China. 
Nobody expects from a communist tyranny to behave any better 
but minding its own narrow selfish interest, do we?

Here, however, we have the declared lone superpower, the touted 
ordering power of the world, the self-proclaimed gurantor of the 
global stability, the country that loudly thinks that it can attack 
others pre-emptively and alone, that country vetoing a U.N. 
peacekeeping mission. And why? For an ultimately selfish reason 
of not getting what they wanted from the world  - and that is 
immunity for their 'boys' from the scrutiny of the International 
Criminal Court. 

The Bush doctrine is very simple. It can be summarized in the 
question: "Why does dog lick his balls?" Current U.S. 
adminsitration showed from its beginning certain disregard for the 
world's institutions, agreements and treaties. It believes that 
because nobody can compete with U.S. militarily, that sheer power 
gives U.S. the right to do what it wants, strike whom, where and 
when it pleases AND be accountable to nobody. The international 
law is there merely to keep others in check. It is just another tool 
of American global rule. Therefore, it is silly to think that the U.S. 
would allow to be subjected to it, isn't it?

The UN peacekeeping mission in Macedonia was never that 
numerous and that ubiquitous as it is in Bosnia. Therefore ending 
the UN peacekeeping mission in Bosnia would be a far larger 
shock for that country than it was for Macdeonia. Bosnia is virtually 
divided in two countries: Bosnian-Croat Federation and Republika 
Srpska and only the UN peacekeeping mission is what holds them 
together. There are strong tendencies within Republika Srpska 
leadership to separate from Bosnia and join with Serbia. Without 
UN peacekeepers, this process may not be prevented. Renewal of 
hostilities is therefore foreseeable. Refugees have yet to see the 
day of return to their homes - seven years after the war. That day 
now may never come. And war criminals like Radovan Karadzic, 
Zeljko Mejakic (the rape commander from Omarska) and Ratko 
Mladic are still at large, and likely to remain now with no UN 
presence in Bosnia.

U.S. veto of Bosnia Peacekeeping Extension is a cheap blackmail: 
either the world will hold the U.S. troops above the international 
law, or the U.S. will let both the international law and the world go 
to hell: the war criminals will go unpunished and the small 
European country will spiral back to war. Well, world, it is your 
choice, isn't it?

ivo skoric

date sent:      	Sun, 30 Jun 2002 20:00:27 EDT
send reply to:  	International Justice Watch Discussion List
from:           	Ewen Allison <Wugga@AOL.COM>
subject:        	Re: U.S. Vetoes Bosnia Peacekeeping Extension

In a message dated 6/30/02 6:24:04 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
riedlmay@FAS.HARVARD.EDU writes:

>  As predicted, the Bush administration put ideology first and instructed
>  American U.N. Ambassador John Negroponte to cast a veto, scuttling a
>  Security Council resolution extending the mandate of United Nations
>  peacekeeping operations in Bosnia.

Lessons of history.  *sigh*  Isn't this how the recent mess in Macedonia got
out of hand?  No UN force there because China vetoed extending the force's

Ewen Allison

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From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo@reporters.net>
Date: Mon, 1 Jul 2002 14:44:02 -0400
Subject: Re: Progress of Milosevic trial

US media tends to picture Milosevic trial as a Hollywood courtroom 
drama simply by inertia: they picture any trial like that. Milosevic's 
trial is as interesting as Collin Fergusson's trial was (Fergusson is 
the guy who shot half a dozen people on LIRR New York city's 
commuter railroad and then proceeded to defend himself without a 
lawyer in the court - very similar personality).

B92 had a traditionally anti-Milosevic stance, but it indeed did not 
insist on it during the NATO bombing of Belgrade. This is 
understandable given the circumstances. Milosevic shut them 
down briefly anyway as a treacherous station. Whether should we 
call that a black page in their history, or not, depends on whether 
we are realistic or not.

On NPR's Sylvia Poggioli report about Milosevic's trial, I think she 
was right to note that "testimony from 'the inner circle'" shall be 
necessary to convict Milosevic. Frank Tiggelaar reminds us here 
that such testimony was neither asked nor provided during the 
Nuerenberg war crimes trials. Those two trial experiences are, 
however, vastly different.

First, Hitler was never on trial, because he killed himself. Second, 
Nazis kept written records of everything, because they believed 
they'd be victorious, and they themselves believed that they were 
doing a service to humanity. In contrast, Milosevic's regime was 
well aware of possibility to lose and of the fact that their actions 
might not be looked upon amicably by an objective outside 
observer. Therefore, they functioned as an organized crime group, 
and as U.S. juristic experience shows, never was a boss of an 
organized crime group succesfully convicted without a testimony of 
his 'inner circle'.

Third, while common sense points to Milosevic's guilt, as it did to 
the guilt of Nuerenberg defendants, common sense is not enough 
for conviction. Fifty years ago the world was more ready to believe 
the common sense. Today, there is a relentless emphasis on 
evidence. And, fourth, evidence was easier to obtain in occupied 
Germany, fully under the control of the allies who also run the 
Nuerenberg tribunal, than it is in Serbia, governed by often 
obstructive and uncooperative Milosevic's successors.

As the discussion, that we had at Raccoon Space on June 27 with 
Thommas Keenan of Justwatch, Fred Abrahams (who testified 
against Milosevic on June 3 and June 4), Mandy Jacobson (director 
of Calling The Ghosts) and Mark Landsman (director of Letters 
>From Peje), showed, obtaining evidence that establish clear 
connection between the enormous existing list of atrocities and 
Milosevic's role as a supreme commander (capo di tutti capi) of 
Yugoslav/Serbian forces under arms is pivotal. It is true that The 
Hague understands this, and the tribunal prosecutors are with 
mixed success trying to nudge Serbian secret police into co-
operating and providing that type of evidence. But, it is also true 
that ICTY is often disorganized, over-bureaucratized, and slow to 
change, react and adapt, which gives certain unfair, albeit -
hopefully - just temporary, advantage to Milosevic.


date sent:      	Mon, 1 Jul 2002 10:08:37 -0400
send reply to:  	Thomas Keenan <keenan@bard.edu>
from:           	Thomas Keenan <keenan@bard.edu>
subject:        	Re: Progress of Milosevic trial

date: Mon, 01 Jul 2002 06:24:21 +0200
from: Frank Tiggelaar <frankti@xs4all.nl>
reply-To: webmaster@domovina.net

Tom, why is it that US media tend to picture the Milosevic trial as a
Hollywood courtroom drama, with a script based on inaccurate facts?

In the past week it was decided that

a - the prosecution has six more weeks to finish the Kosova case in the
court (July 2nd-26th, August 26th-Sept 6th);

b - the prosecution may apply for an extra week in court in September;

c - the prosecution has four extra weeks during the recess to prepare
for the Aug-Sept Kosova sessions.

So far there have been 67 trial-days, and there will be some 30 more, i.e.
a third of the prosecutor's time in court is yet to come.  After seeing
all the public sessions in the Milosevic trial so far, I would say the
prosecution is well on the way to proving beyond a reasonable doubt that
Milosevic was aware of what went on in Kosova and that he was responsible
for most of the evil that happened there.

NPR's Sylvia Poggioli seems to forget that none of the defendants in the
Nuremburg trials were convicted with the help of testimony from 'the
inner circle' - why would this have to be the case in the Milosevic trial?

I'm also unaware of an anti-Milosevic stance in B92's reporting during
NATO's war with Serbia.  I would say that episode was a black page in
their history, a view shared by my Serbian friends in Amsterdam.


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From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo@reporters.net>
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 2002 13:22:29 -0400
Subject: Re: U.S. Might Refuse New Peace Duties Without Immunity

"The administration worries that the new court could be driven by 
politically motivated prosecutors and that American military 
personnel would not have the constitutional rights granted all 
Americans in criminal proceedings  for example, the right to be 
tried by a jury of peers and to have access to evidence."

1) This is the same argument Serbian "administration" has about 
ICTY. Aren't we endlessly hearing even from Kostunica that The 
Hague is driven by politically motivated prosecutors? So, what's the 
difference between the U.S. and Serbia in that respect? They both 
hold their 'sovereignty' more sacred than the human rights law.

2) It is besides the point to argue that ICC is a fair court with all the 
protections built in - in fact many judges would be American and 
the rules would be the same, save for absence of trial by jury, as 
they are in the US courts - I would like that some big media US 
journalist ask Rumsfeld what of those protections are guaranteed 
to non-citizens in the U.S. detained on suspicion of connection 
with terrorists? Do they have access to evidence?

I understand that I merely continue to state the obvious: that the 
U.S. wants to set the rules for the world, but wants itself to be 
exempted from them, but I think that sometimes repeatedly stating 
the obvious may be helpful.

After all the discussion whether should we live obeying the law or 
obeying the brute force is as old as human civilization itself.  I 
wonder what would Socrates tell Rumsfeld, and would he be given 
lethal injection for that....


date sent:      	Wed, 3 Jul 2002 09:42:46 -0400
send reply to:  	International Justice Watch Discussion List
from:           	Thomas Keenan <keenan@BARD.EDU>
subject:        	U.S. Might Refuse New Peace Duties Without Immunity

Cross-posting of commentary only permitted

The New York Times reports on this morning's front page about the shape of
a possible compromise on the peacekeeping vs. ICC issue, the day after
Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld energetically defended the U.S. position:

        One proposal was being discussed late tonight at the United
        Nations, where diplomats are working against a deadline of
        midnight Wednesday to resolve the United Nations dispute
        over the Bosnia mandate. It would give 12 months of
        immunity in cases involving peacekeepers from any country
        that had not yet ratified the treaty establishing the war
        crimes court. The immunity could then be renewed by the
        Security Council.

The Times also provides a helpful chart, enumerating just exactly how
limited U.S. contributions to U.N. missions are:


Thomas Keenan
Human Rights Project
Bard College


Copyright 2002 The New York Times Company
The New York Times
Wednesday, July 3, 2002, A1

U.S. Might Refuse New Peace Duties Without Immunity

WASHINGTON, July 2 - Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld warned today
that America might not send its forces to join future peacekeeping
missions without a grant of full immunity from the jurisdiction of the new
International Criminal Court.

Mr. Rumsfeld aggressively defended the administration's demand that
American troops and government officials be exempt from the court, two
days after the United States vetoed a Security Council resolution
extending the United Nations' peacekeeping mandate in Bosnia. The veto,
which was based on American perceptions that the court violates American
sovereignty, has generated sharp criticism from Britain and other American
allies, which see it as further evidence that the administration is
adopting a go-it-alone, unilateralist stance.

Mr. Rumsfeld and senior administration officials insisted that the United
States would not withdraw wholesale from its current peacekeeping
commitments overseas. But they did say that without promises from the
international community or host nations that American troops would not be
handed over to the court, the United States would carefully review the
importance of its international missions, case by case.

"It would be inaccurate to say that the United States would necessarily
withdraw from every engagement we have in the world," Mr. Rumsfeld told
reporters at the Pentagon. "We have no plans to do that. In other words,
we're engaged. We have forces in countries all over the globe. We have no
intention of pulling back."

The administration worries that the new court could be driven by
politically motivated prosecutors and that American military personnel
would not have the constitutional rights granted all Americans in criminal
proceedings - for example, the right to be tried by a jury of peers and to
have access to evidence.

A senior Defense Department official said the United States was seeking
three types of protections for its military personnel and civilian
government officials: a Security Council resolution granting blanket
immunity to Americans taking part in United Nations peacekeeping missions;
bilateral agreements with countries around the world guaranteeing that
Americans on their territory would not be transferred to the court without
American consent; and adjustments to current Status of Forces Agreements -
pacts negotiated with nations accepting American military personnel - to
reflect Washington's wishes on the court.

One proposal was being discussed late tonight at the United Nations, where
diplomats are working against a deadline of midnight Wednesday to resolve
the United Nations dispute over the Bosnia mandate. It would give 12
months of immunity in cases involving peacekeepers from any country that
had not yet ratified the treaty establishing the war crimes court. The
immunity could then be renewed by the Security Council.

The administration's concerns about the International Criminal Court
extend beyond protecting American soldiers:  it is also worried that the
court could prosecute police officers or civilian officials involved in
formulating peacekeeping policies and American combat operations.

"The I.C.C. is broad enough to not only prosecute those within the
military chain of command, but also people in the political and policy
chain of command," a senior administration official said.

"When you look back to Nuremberg, to Yugoslavia and Rwanda, there are
people that need to be prosecuted for their decisions and policies," the
official said. "But the broad end of the spectrum is that the process
could be politicized."

The administration policy toward the court says much about how the lone
superpower will project force abroad. It also presents America's partners
and the world with a stark choice: If American military power is needed to
quiet international trouble spots, the rules of that operation will be
written by America.

"The very fact that countries do want to cooperate with us and do want our
protection and do want our participation in peacekeeping and other
missions gives us the ability to go and talk with them and be listened
to," a senior Defense Department official said.

The official said the administration was trying to defend the nation's
sovereignty from subjugation to a treaty that carried neither a
president's signature nor Senate consent.

Over the objections of the Pentagon and Congressional Republicans,
President Bill Clinton signed the treaty that brought the court into
being. But he expressed deep reservations and did not submit it to the
Senate. His argument for endorsing the treaty was that Washington's
ability to improve it from inside would be strengthened.  The Bush
administration revoked Mr. Clinton's signature on the treaty this year.

"The United States is not attempting to impose its will on other
countries," a senior Pentagon official said. "In this debate, it is the
parties to the International Criminal Court Treaty who are attempting to
impose their treaty on non-parties."

The international lawyer who was chairman of the committee that wrote the
court's statutes said today that it was "far-fetched" that a prosecutor
was "going to run away with the process and target some poor American
service member holding a peacekeeping function in some remote part of the
world, just because that prosecutor dislikes the United States."

The lawyer, M. Cherif Bassiouni, a professor at DePaul University's law
school in Chicago, said prosecutors for the court were selected by its 75

He said the court's statutes also "contain all of the due process
guarantees available in the U.S. legal system, and even go beyond that."
He added, "The only thing it does not have is a trial by jury."

At the State Department today, officials acknowledged that the
administration had taken a hard line on the criminal court precisely
because the United States' unmatched military, economic and diplomatic
power made it unique in the world.

"We're going to end up having to deal with this issue for Americans all
around the world, because we do have a special role," Richard A. Boucher,
the State Department spokesman, told reporters. "The United States plays a
role in the world unlike any other, and therefore this affects us unlike
any other nation."

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell has spoken on the subject to more than
half a dozen European ministers over the last three days, including,
today, the European Union foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, and the
British foreign secretary, Jack Straw, Mr. Boucher said.


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