Thursday, January 24, 2008

Bosnians Reflect on Del Ponte's Legacy

An insightful article from Balkan Insight.

7 comments:

owen said...

Shaina, I posted these extracts as a comment to Ed's post about Carla del Ponte at Balkan Baby.

Analysis by Nidzara Ahmetasevic at http://balkaninsight.com/en/main/analysis/7535/

"Bosnians Consider Del Ponte Legacy"

"When Carla Del Ponte, Chief Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY, stepped down in December, commentators in Bosnia and Herzegovina, BiH, acknowledged her achievements but expressed disappointment with the results of her eight years in office.

A total of 91 indictments were filed during Del Ponte’s term, and a number of high-ranking generals and top politicians were convicted of a range of crimes.

But the best-known defendant, former Serbian and Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, died before a verdict could be handed down. Meanwhile, the two most notorious fugitives, Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serbs’ wartime military commander, and Radovan Karadzic, their political leader, remain at large."

...

"The RS Prime Minister, Milorad Dodik, believes Del Ponte did not pay enough attention to war crimes committed against Serbs in Bosnia and Croatia.
“My main reason for dissatisfaction with the Chief Prosecutor is her selective point of view when it comes to justice – this was more than evident and visible many times in public,” Dodik told Balkan Insight. “Her mandate could have been much more effective if she had acted less as a politician and more in accordance with her mandate as Prosecutor.”

That view is not shared by most non-Serbs, in and outside the former Yugoslavia, who point out that the majority of war crimes, with the largest number of victims, were committed by Serb forces."

...

"Among her achievements, Del Ponte proved beyond reasonable doubt that genocide was committed at Srebrenica, in eastern Bosnia, and that rape was used as an instrument of terror in Bosnia, and as such constituted a crime against humanity. She also succeeded in securing guilty verdicts against several defendants accused of committing crimes against civilians during the epic siege of Sarajevo."

...

"Victims’ groups representing different national groups in BiH have complained that Del Ponte was either too aggressive in pursuing cases against members of this or that community – or not aggressive enough. She was also criticised at times for failing to show sufficient solidarity with the victims.

However, Bakira Hasecic of the Association of Women Victims of War, told Balkan Insight that Del Ponte had simply failed to achieve enough.

...

"We know she [Del Ponte] could not have done everything that we expected,” Hasecic says. “But it is a big disappointment that Karadzic and Mladic are not in The Hague. We know she is not the one to blame for that, but the UN Security Council.""

...

"Seida Karabasic of the Source (Izvor) war crimes victims’ association in Prijedor, in north-western Bosnia, is more circumspect in her assessment of Del Ponte’s record. Two of the most notorious camps set up by the Bosnian Serb authorities, Omarska and Keraterm, were located near Priejdor. Thousands of civilians were held at these camps in 1992, but none of the trials established that genocide had been committed in that part of Bosnia.

"I believe Carla Del Ponte, during her mandate, did a lot, but that doesn’t mean we can be satisfied," Karabasic says. "After she became Chief Prosecutor, the ICTY became more important and more visible all over the world, and [more attention was paid] to war crimes committed in Bosnia."

However, Karabasic expresses disapproval of Del Ponte’s focus on some areas at the expense of others, noting that "all her attention was directed towards victims from Srebrenica, and maybe because of that genocide was proved for that part of Bosnia, unlike Prijedor.""

...

"Danka Savic emphasizes that Del Ponte’s departure after eight years marks the end of an era, since it comes just two years before the Tribunal itself is scheduled to close. She believes the former Chief Prosecutor was completely committed to bringing those responsible for war crimes to justice, but with the death of Milosevic and the continued failure to arrest Karadzic and Mladic that goal has not been achieved.

"What is really sad, though", according to Savic, "is that there is no visible change in perception, especially in Serbia, towards those accused of war crimes in former Yugoslavia, something we had all hoped for.""

owen said...

"Crime and Punishment" - a new book on the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia is reviewed by Selma Boracic at:

http://www.bim.ba/en/1/80/1767/

"Almost 10 years after the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) pronounced its first verdict for war crimes committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a complete overview of its work has been made available to the public,

Crime and Punishment, which contains an overview of war crimes trials conducted since the creation of the tribunal until the present day, was published jointly by the Open Society Fund BiH and the ICTY's Outreach Programme.

The book provides detailed information on ICTY trials for war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia between 1992 and 1995.

..."

Richard said...

DARKO TRIFUNOVIC - self-proclaimed "terrorism expert", identity thief, and discredited Srebrenica genocide denier

By: Dr. Richard Johnstone

On March 12 2002, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia & Herzegovina (comprised of Bosniaks, Serbs, and Croats) fired Darko Trifunovic from B&H diplomatic services due to his involvement in document forgery.

Only after expulsion from the diplomatic service of Bosnia & Herzegovina, Darko Trifunovic became self proclaimed "expert on terrorism" writing mostly against Bosnia and Herzegovina and labeling anybody who criticized him as "Al Qaeda terrorist."

As an experienced document forgerer and identity thief, he offered his services to defense teams of various indicted Serb war criminals at the International Criminal Tribunal (ICTY). In 2001, he stated for B92 he even had evidence that indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic (who on numerous occasions threatened the total destruction of Bosniak Muslim population of Bosnia-Herzegovina) obeyed Geneva Convention. It would not be surprising to learn that Darko Trifunovic forged and submitted those kinds of documents for defense teams of many indicted Serb war criminals.

Here is an archived press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, quote:

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina adopted the decision on suspension of Darko Trifunović, who has worked at the MFA BiH since 2 April 2001, performing diplomatic function - the First Secretary at BiH Mission to UN. In accordance with the rules of service, Trifunović will be deprived from BiH diplomatic passport and he will be unable to obtain a travel document for his return to BiH, since it is about the man who falsified BiH citizenship.

Following the conclusion of BiH Council of Ministers to review citizenship of all employees in state service bodies, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of BiH asked from the Ministry of Civil Affairs and Communications of BiH to review the way in which Trifunović gained BiH citizenship in 1996.

By the review, it was established that Trifunović cancelled his registration on 27 March 1996 from the register of residence in Belgrade, where he was born, and on the same date he registered in Brčko. According to the fictive residence, he obtained ID card of BiH on the same date.

Since the procedure of the issuance of ID card was illegal, Police Service in Brčko District cancelled residence and BiH ID card, Decision dated 25 February 2002.

On the basis of these facts, Ministry of Civil Affairs and Communications of BiH, in accordance with legal procedure deprived Trifunović from BiH citizenship. Results of several months' investigation as well as documentation that prove the conclusions will be submitted to the competent prosecutor's office that will adopt decision on possible criminal charge and judicial prosecution against Darko Trifunović.

After a multi-ethnic and multi-religious group of Muslim, Christian and Jewish journalists from Bosnjaci.net Magazine criticized Darko Trifunovic for Srebrenica Genocide denial, he sent them threatening messages and labeled them as terrorists. For Srebrenica genocide victims, he stated: "I wish Mladic killed them all." Soon after, Bosnjaci.net was brought down due to hack attack (known as Denial of Service attack) from sympathizers of Darko Trifunovic's extremist ideology. Darko Trifunovic blamed Muslim, Christian and Jewish reporters for fabricating E-mail against him, however, as influential Srebrenica Genocide Blog reported, quote:

Contrary to Darko Trifunovic's claims published at "Serbian Unity Congress" website in which he alleges that information against him was "fabricated," the fact of the matter is that he was the author of an E-mail in which he stated: "I wish Mladic killed them all." We got in touch with contributing authors Haris Djapic and Alan Jusufovic and asked them to provide "Full Header" copy of Darko Trifunovic's E-mail. Then we compared IP# of that E-mail with IP# of several other E-mails in which Darko Trifunovic threatened to the New York based magazine. The IP# was the same. Due to confidentiality reasons, we will not release IP#; however, we have forwarded this information to Bosnjaci.net and requested inclusion of this information into FBI investigation of recent threatening E-mails coming from Darko Trifunovic (his E-mail is publicly listed at the Serbian Unity Congress web site).

The public should exercise caution in dealing with Darko Trifunovic, his extremist supporters and his published writings. Darko Trifunovic has been discredited by respected journalistic agencies in the past. According to the "Freedom of Speech in South East Europe: Media Independence and Self-Regulation" (ISBN 978-954-9396-05-8) published by the South East European Network for Professionalization of Media, quote:

An exemplary manipulation article can also be found on p. 2 on March 9 entitled ‘Abuse of religion and faith’ by D. Majstorovic. It reports that Darko Trifunovic, portrayed as “leading Serb expert for international terrorism” from the Belgrade Security Faculty, in one of his recent “lectures beforemembers of the US Congress” stated that radical Islamists from all over the world, who have been assigned in all almost all European states upon order of the terrorist network Al Q’Aida, abuse religious facilities and use them for spreading their fundamentalist-like ideas. Reportedly, Trifunovic also “warned that Kosovo and Metohija and BiH are unfortunately brimming with persons likeTalovic (Sulejman, 19-year old from BiH who killed 5 people at Salt Lake City recently) and Bektasevic (Mirsad, sentenced to 20 years prison term for planning terrorist attacks in BiH), mostly thanks to people from the top authority, who at some point inthe past brought the most brutal terrorists of the present timeto these regions. Hereby he refers to “Haris Silajdzic”, aprominent Bosniak politician.

Although attributed to an “expert” thus fulfilling the formal requirements of the Press Code, these absolutely wild speculations presented as “serious” information are an insult to logic first, Bosniaks second. (Sulejman Talovic was Bosnian American, but his crime was much the same as earlier Columbine crimes, or a subsequent massacre by a Korean American – work of teen angst. Confounding him, a wannabe terrorist Bektasevic, and bringing them in context with a legaland legitimate political representative is a sign of uttermalevolence and lack of elementary ethics).

Thank You!

Richard Johnstone

owen said...

The situation in the Rift Valley is getting worse. Some of the ongoing killings appear to be revenge-inspired but there are now suggestions that some of the violence and expulsions are organised. There's secret arming.

A Kenyan writer whose name I unfortunately missed said during Kate Allen's report on BBC2 Newsnight this evening that the rigging of the election by Kibaki broke the social contract that had kept the peace despite long-standing resentment among the Luo, Kalenjin and Maasai in the Rift Valley over the redistribution of rich farmland post-independence. The beneficiaries were not the locals but "outsiders" with affiliations to the ruling party elite and their clients (particularly resented by excluded former freedom fighters).

Another analyst on the programme described the election fraud as effectively a civilian coup. Once anger started to turn into violence the status quo seems to have become untenable.

There are all too grim echoes of 1991/1992 in FRY. Though at the moment the Rift Valley violence seems like an explosive reaction to the election fraud rather than a pre-planned enterprise, it's hard to know whether Odinga and Ruto may have been anticipating the likely consequences of the election result. Kibaki and company seem to have been taken by surprise by the results, hence the need for such crude fiddling.

At the moment there's a lot of speculation but sadly I guess we're like to see the substance of the situation start to emerge over the next few weeks.

owen said...

Sorry, that should have been Karin Allen's report. This afternoon World Service were reporting armed gangs arriving in the middle of the night and forcing families to leave. They actually described the situation as "Balkanisation".

Particularly sad hearing about events in Naivasha which is where the Fairtrade-certified roses are grown that were one of the first non-food Fairtrade products available. There are large numbers sheltering in the local prison after people were burned to death in their homes.

owen said...

And while Kenya's in turmoil, the situation in Darfur is as unresolved as ever.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/7214346.stm

Only 9,000 of the planned 26,000 troops have been deployed and the UN-African Union peacekeeping force for Darfur will take most of 2008 to deploy fully, according to the UN's head of peacekeeping, Jean-Marie Guehenno.

Not enough troops have been contributed, the al-Bashir government have been hindering deployment, and the force as anticipated is lacking the necessary logistical support (eg helicopters).

The BBC's Africa analyst Mary Harper says that the expected delays mean there is little prospect of adequate security being restored in Darfur.

owen said...

Before anyone else makes the point, I ought to add that what seems to be the basic issue in the Rift Valley violence - the post-independence redistribution of fertile agricultural land and hence prosperity - emerged as a consequence of the way land was appropriated under British colonialist rule.

A reminder that imposed settlements construct problems for the future.