Saturday, September 30, 2006

SENSE Articles

Tribunal is Not McDonalds

General Mladic's Dark Charisma


Daniel said...

Hi Shaina,

I must agree with Carla del Ponte. True, ICTY is not a fast-food chain. However, it should also not be overly philosophical courtroom.

It's no brainer, Momcilo Krajisnik WAS genocide participant, at least in Srebrenica's case. Serb political leadership acknowledged that Srebrenica massacre was planned.

Owen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Owen said...

Sorry, I messed up the first attempt to post my comment.

Dan, Srebrenica is the ultimate and incontrovertible proof of the mens rea. But it doesn't stand in isolation. There's a reference line from the Mladic comment all the way through to Srebrenica that establishes the philosophical consistency of the genocidal actions that took place under Krajisnik's aegis.

The court's not wrong to be "philosophical", it has to be in dealing with an intellectual construct like genocide. It's simply that its cogitations have led it to the wrong conclusion.

I think the court has got it wrong, as I read it, absolving Krajisnik of personal responsibility for the genocidal actions at municipality level on the apparent grounds that the genocidal intent of the perpetrators isn't proven.

While it makes a very determined effort to justify its finding that Krajisnik played a central role in the commission of the crimes other than genocide it has fought shy of making use of the evidence aavailable to it as far as the encouragement of genocidal acts was concerned.

In particular it has turned its back on the Strategic Goals and the Instructions, referring to them as "anodyne statements" which only acquire significance in the context of what happened subsequently. It acknowledges that the crimes which made up genocide were already being perpetrated when these statements were issued by the "central authority". So it's the court's reading of the significance of the Strategies and Instructions that is "anachronistic", not the Prosecution's.

The findings focus on the certainty of Krajisnik having knowledge of what was happening on the ground, emphasising the "feedback loop" of information. So it's hard not to see these framework documents, issued when they were, as being anything other than the justification of and guidelines for acts of genocide.

It's as if for whatever reason the court didn't have the courage of its convictions and was reluctant to press forward with a finding of genocide, so it has emphasised the substance of its findings on the other charges and attempted to neutralise some of the strongest evidence offered on the charge of genocide.

Para 994: The VRS had a plan of action broadly formulated by the political leadership. Neither Karadžić nor the Accused found it necessary to become involved in the affairs of the VRS on a daily basis. This was done by their trusted commander Ratko Mladić, whom
Karadžić and the Accused had selected for the job. General Mladić was guided by the
strategic goals articulated by Karadžić and the Accused at the Bosnian-Serb Assembly
session of 12 May 1992. [followed by details of the strategic goals]

Para 995: It would be incorrect to place these goals on a pedestal, as the Prosecution does, for in the final analysis they are anodyne statements, serving as official state policy and even qualifying for publication in the Bosnian-Serb Republic’s Official Gazette. If one is inclined to find in them insidious hidden meanings, it is because of the context and the
events that followed. An anachronistic reading of the May goals is not only inadvisable, it
misses the point, just as an anachronistic reading of the December Instructions misses the
point. The instructions and the goals lacked substance and utility, but they did symbolize a
new central authority at a time when the old order had disintegrated. The extent to which they found currency among Bosnian Serbs is an indication of the degree of acceptance of
that new authority.

Para 996: Much more important in relation to actual policy was the feedback loop of coordination and support that existed between the Bosnian-Serb forces on the ground and the central leadership. Take-overs, killings, detention, abuse, expulsions, and appropriation
and destruction of property had begun in the territories claimed by the Bosnian Serbs well before the pronouncement of the strategic goals on 12 May 1992. These incidents were
discussed in part 4 of the judgement, were launched in early April 1992, and were repeated
throughout the claimed territories in the months to come. This was the Bosnian-Serb leadership’s goal, and if there was any goal needed on 12 May, it was the continued pursuit
of this same goal.