Friday, September 29, 2006

Articles on the Krajisnik verdict

Some extremely interesting and thought provoking articles in this issue:

Bosnia's "Accidental" Genocide

It is noteworthy that at this meeting, both Karadzic and Krajisnik were warned by Bosnian Serb military commander General Ratko Mladic, also indicted on genocide charges, that their plans could not be committed without committed genocide.

“People are not little stones, or keys in someone’s pocket, that can be moved from one place to another just like that... Therefore, we cannot precisely arrange for only Serbs to stay in one part of the country while removing others painlessly. I do not know how Mr Krajisnik and Mr Karadzic will explain that to the world. That is genocide,” said Mladic

Krajisnik Verdict Condemned Across Bosnia

In view of that fact, Director of the Sarajevo-based Research and Documentation Centre Mirsad Tokaca, who in June last year testified as a prosecution witness in Krajisinik’s trial, finds the verdict particularly unsatisfactory.

He says it’s completely illogical to convict army officers of genocide, and acquit a man who was a member of the political leadership who issued orders to the army.

“Bosnian Serb leaders, including Krajisnik, were the creators of the genocidal policy, and I find it shocking that he was acquitted of genocide,” he told IWPR.

He added that Krajsnik was much more influential and even more powerful than Karadzic, but always stayed in the shadow, carefully covering the traces of his role in the crimes. He admitted that this could be one of the main reasons why judges said they couldn’t find enough evidence, which would convince them of Krajisnik’s genocidal intent.

Interesting though, Krajisnik isn't exactly popular amongst the Bosnian Serbs either, primarily for his shady dealings and get rich projects at the expense of the people.


Owen said...

From the judgment:

1004. When the Supreme Command of the Bosnian-Serb armed forces was formally established in November 1992, the Accused became one of its members. An informal Supreme Command had existed before that date, as accepted by the Accused; its members were the members of the Presidency together with General Mladić. A letter which the
Accused addressed to Lord Carrington, Jose Cutileiro, James Baker, and Cyrus Vance, among others, on 28 May 1992 states: “Since the day members of the Supreme Command of the Serbian Army were appointed, all armed forces are under our full control. The
Accused was, and may have even regarded himself, as one of the most important figures in the Bosnian-Serb military establishment at the time.

1005. While the Accused in court did not deny that he had some contact with the military authorities, he claimed that “It was simply a dialogue. They would say: We need food, we need clothing ... They saw the civilian authorities as logistical support ... There was no
discussion of military operative issues, only the support they needed in order to act. And all their other problems they could deal with in the Ministry of Defence. That’s where they could go. This represents another attempt by the Accused to mislead the Chamber into thinking that he was a weak and hierarchically isolated bureaucrat who dealt exclusively with inconsequential matters of administration, such as the supply of food and clothing. This insistence by the Accused is so incompatible with the evidence built up against him that it forced him down paths of obfuscation and incoherence. ...

Anonymous said...

“People are not little stones, or keys in someone’s pocket, that can be moved from one place to another just like that... Therefore, we cannot precisely arrange for only Serbs to stay in one part of the country while removing others painlessly. I do not know how Mr Krajisnik and Mr Karadzic will explain that to the world. That is genocide,” said Mladic

Interesting if Mladic said that! Perhaps Krajisnik has more culpability even than Mladic, he certainly bore command responsibility over Mladic. AS far as I'm concerned letting Krajisnik off the genocide charges was wrong if one is going to consider Mladic as guilty.

Shaina said...

If Mladic did say that sentence, than it is probably one of the strongest statements showing his, Karadzic and Krajisnik's culpability and pre meditation.

The fact that Mladic knew that ethnic cleansing was a form of genocide speaks volumes for his criminal culpability (IMO).

Kirk Johnson said...

I agree YG--that statement from Mladic is VERY interesting.

One other observation--I can't believe the defense strategy his lawyers used. I assume this essentially serves as an admission on his/their part that genocide did occur. Trying to claim that he wasn't in control of the military is pretty shaky, in my opinion. His defense team must have concluded that there was no hope denying that a genocide happend.

Shaina said...

Here is a pretty detailed article about Krajisnik's defense team's strategy (or at least one of their main arguments they made)

Asked whether the November 1992 order pertaining to the Drina Valley was also consistent with the strategic goal of separating Serbs from other ethnic communities, Krajisnik protested, “No! That is not true!”

“Driving out of population, resettlement of population cannot be connected with any of the strategic goals,” he added.

(As I said before, I didn't follow the case, and I'm just now reading articles, transcripts, etc; but that seems like a VERY weak and incredulous defense.)

Shaina said...

I think that during the trial, the Defense team tried to remove the genocide charge with regard to the Bosnian Croats. (The charge of genocide against Krajisnik was in regard to both the Bosniaks and Bosnian Croats).
The judges didn't agree with defense.

That to me, seems like a pretty implicit admission that there was genocide committed against at least the Bosnian Muslim population by the defense team.

I'm trying to find the exact article; but I believe I might of read it as part of the judgement.

Owen said...

Shaina, Mladic is cited in the Krajisnik judgment as follows:

975. The Accused did not just know about the operations of Bosnian-Serb armed forces in 1992, he actively supervised them as a member of the leadership. The Bosnian-Serb Assembly was a forum for the formulation and coordination of military strategy. On 12 May 1992, in a long speech to the Assembly, General Ratko Mladiæ explained his “vision” that the Serbs could prevail in the territories they considered theirs without completely destroying the Muslims:TPF 1943 FPT “we cannot cleanse nor can we have a sieve to sift so that only Serbs would stay, or that the Serbs would fall through and the rest leave. ... I do not know how Mr. Krajišnik and Mr. Karadžiæ would explain this to the world. ... that would be genocide.”TPF 1944 FPT But there was an alternative to genocide. Mladiæ advised the Bosnian-Serb leadership on how to achieve controversial military objectives quietly, cynically, ruthlessly, while staying below the radar of international attention: “We should not say: we will destroy Sarajevo, we need Sarajevo. We are not going to say that we are going to destroy the power supply pylons or turn off the water supply, no, because that would get America out of its seat, but ... one day there is no water at all in Sarajevo. What it is we do not know ... And the same with the electrical power ... we have to wisely tell the world, it was they who were shooting, hit the transmission line and the power went off, they were shooting at the power supply facilities ... that is what diplomacy is”.TPF 1945 FPT

The references are:
1943 - P65, tab 127, pp. 38-9.
1944 - P65, tab 127, p. 39.
1945 - P65, tab 127, pp. 42-3.

P65, tab 127 is "Minutes and record of 16th session of Bosnian-Serb Assembly, 12 May 1992"

Mladic is cannily saying that that what is being proposed would be genocide and so he is suggesting an alternative way of approaching the situation that will allow them to achieve the same military objectives without the Bosnian Serbs being seen as guilty of genocide.

I wonder if Diana Johnstone took note of this speech before she made her comments about the Bosnian side firing on its own citizens.

Owen said...

Shaina, the judges are pretty dismissive of the front of ignorance, impotence and general denial of responsibility that Krajisnik put up as his defence.

Owen said...

Shaina, re the defence's submission on the subject of genocide against the Bosnian Croats:

1248. Rule 98 bis decision. On 16 August 2005 the Defence applied for acquittal under Rule 98 bis.TPF 2407
FPT The Defence made a general submission that the Accused had no case to answer whatsoever,TPF 2408
FPT and a specific submission that there was insufficient evidence
to support the allegation that there had been a genocide against Bosnian Croats.TPF 2409 FPT Moreover, the Defence argued that the amendment to Rule 98 bis on 8 December 2004,
which had changed the rule to an oral procedure, was prejudicial to the rights of the Accused because it no longer allowed for a comprehensive review of all matters contained in the indictment.TPF
2410 FPT On 19 August 2005 the Chamber gave an oral decision dismissing the Defence motion in all respects.TPF 2411 FPT Since the Defence had made no preliminary request concerning the level of detail of its Rule 98 bis submissions, the assertion that a
comprehensive review had been ruled out by the rule-change was merely an
assumption.TPF 2412 FPT Thus, the Defence had not demonstrated the existence of any actual prejudice. As for the substance of the motion, the Chamber held that the Accused had a case to answer on all eight counts of the indictment and, more specifically, that there was sufficient evidence for the purposes of Rule 98 bis to find that genocide had been committed against both Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats.TPF 2413

Owen said...

Just to go back to the Mladic quote. It's important to note that the English translation entered into the court record has Mladic saying "That would be genocide" and not "That is genocide" - presumably there's a subjunctive there in the original. So Mladic is not making a simple admission, it's a conditional statement.