Alexander MEZYAEV Karadzic Trial Opened

29 October, 2009 — Strategic Culture Foundation

The trial of President of the Serb Republic in Bosnia Radovan Karadzic started on October 26. Karadzic was not present he refused to attend, and this was due to serious reasons. Though the prosecution started putting the indictment together 14 years ago, it kept tailoring the document throughout the term. The most recent changes were introduced on October 19, leaving Karadzic just 7 days to prepare his defense, which is outrageous even for the Hague Tribunal.

Over the past years mass media have spent unbelievable amounts of black paint on Karadzic. The charges in the final version of the indictment include deportations, persecution, killings, terror against civilian population, hostage-taking, and, of course, genocide. The alleged crime sites span half the territory of Bosnia, but for the most part the focus is on Sarajevo and Srebrenica. Karadzic is charged with planning and implementing the genocide against Bosnian Muslims and Croats. To support allegations that Karadzic was open about his genocide plans, Prosecutor A. Tiger cited him as addressing the Bosnians with the following statement: Don’t you understand that you are going to perish? A lot of us will die, but none of you will survive! A. Tiger failed to mention, however, that Karadzic was talking about the Bosnians’ plan to start a war and the words were a warning, not an indication of the existence of some mythical genocide plan.

Presenting evidence the prosecutor also invoked the lie about Serbian Parliament leader M. Krajisnik’s saying: We must start… the ethnic partition locally . The phrase was already used against Krajisnik when based on it he was sentenced to 27 years in jail. The connection between Krajisnik and Karadzic is obvious both were leaders of the Serbian Republic, their names were bracketed within the same criminal enterprise by the ICTY, and even the prosecutor in both cases is the same. In reality Krajisnik’s phrase was noting more than an appeal to abide by the agreement devised by EU envoy Coutillero which envisioned ethnic partition as the solution. It is so clear that the interpretation is deliberately wrong that the very sentencing of Krajisnik looks like a demonstration of readiness to sentence Serbian leaders at any cost. The reuse of the above evidence in the case of Karadzic gives an idea of the level of the coming trial.

Certainly, the main charges against Karadzic will be related to the 1995 Srebrenica events which the Tribunal has already branded genocide. However, the trial of Karadzic may turn into a crush test for the interpretation. Veterans from the Dutch battalion, who served in the peace-keeping force in Srebrenica, expressed readiness to testify and it is already known what exactly they are going to talk about. First of all they will admit that the Bosnians from Srebrenica were anything but civilians and, correspondingly, cannot be regarded as innocent victims. The hyperactive group with the emotional name Srebrenica Mothers naturally makes audiences sympathize with the mothers whose children were killed in the conflict, but the mothers are fully aware that for several years until 1995 their sons had been perpetrating outrageous crimes against Serbs. These days, The Srebrenica Mothers would like the story of genocide committed by their sons to sink into oblivion.

Strange things were happening in front of the Tribunal building in the Hague several days before the opening of the Karadzic trial. A mob was burning not only the portraits of Karadzic, which is not surprising, but also those of the Tribunal’s President P. Robinson, Vice President O. O-Gon Kwon, and even chief prosecutor S. Brammertz. What could cause such displeasure with the ICTY in the ranks of the Bosnians? It is unlikely that the protesters were dissatisfied with it after the acquittals of their idol a notorious butcher Naser Oric and cold-blooded murderer Sefer Halilovic, for example.

Formally, the Bosnians were angered by the judicial chamber’s demand that the prosecution shorten the indictment. Indeed, the document in its previous form was practically unmanageable. Yet, the development may be a manifestation of the Tribunal’s ordinary tactic of prolonging the trial until the indicted person dies before without making it to fully present the arguments in his defense. Actually, the Bosnians’ discontent was due to the fact that so far Karadzic was allowed to act as is own defender. Under the arrangement, the Srebrenica Mothers and the Bosnian administration face the risk of being exposed, which would make the whole world feel shocked. Predictably, the leaders of The Srebrenica Mothers said they had no intention of testifying at the trial.

Nor will the Tribunal tolerate any damage to the myth of the genocide against Muslims. Notably, Gen. P. Morion described the July, 1995 events in Srebrenica not as a one-sided offensive but as hellish revenge. The Mothers of Srebrenica would rather not hear again the French officer’s account by which until July 1995 their children used to butcher Serbs on every Orthodox holiday.

As for the other important charges against Karadzic those related to the siege and shelling of Sarajevo Karadzic demands that the Tribunal submit to the governments of several NATO countries (Canada, the US, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, and the Netherlands) requests for information about the responsibility of the Bosnian side for the shelling. It is indicative of the concerns of the Tribunal and its puppeteers over likewise demands that recently the Appeals Chamber of the Tribunal altogether banned the hearings concerning the so-called Karadzic-Holbrooke deal.

Karadzic’s defense is based on a simple concept – he fully denies the charges leveled at him. The panel is angered by his decision to undertake his own defense. The text of the tribunal’s recent ruling by which Karadzic was denied the right to additional time for preparing his defense says quite venomously that by deciding to act as his own defender Karadzic knowingly refused from all the benefits of having a legal defender. The phrase shows that the panel’s tactic will be to achieve its goals by exhausting Karadzic. The tactic was already employed before the trial started, when the prosecution dropped a number of charges related to alleged criminal episodes in a number of Bosnian municipalities after Karadzic had studied thoroughly exactly the corresponding parts of the indictment. As the result, Karadzic’s time and efforts failed to translate into the strengthening of his defense. Moreover, the Tribunal provoked Karadzic’s not showing up at the opening of the trial thus trying to create reasons for denying him the right to act as his own defender and for appointing one against Karadzic’s will. Clearly, the panel realizes that it will not manage to prove anything as long as Karadzic continues to defend himself personally. No doubt, there will be plenty of lies as usual, but nothing will be proven. It is still possible that Karadzic will be delivered to court by force as it has already been done in the past with others.

All of the above simply shows that the prosecution has no actual evidence at its disposal. This is why it sinks so low, and the fact also tells volumes about the personal traits of the Tribunal’s prosecutors.

It is worth remembering that Karadzic has already testified to the Tribunal in November, 2008 when he was a witness of defense at the appeal hearings of M. Krajisnik’s case. Karadzic acted as a noble man – he brushed off all charges against Krajisnik, at times at the cost of assuming responsibility. For example, he said that despite Krajisnik’s signature on the corresponding document the appointment of Gen. R. Mladic as the commander of the Serbian forces was his own decision for which he and nobody else was responsible. By the way, late S. Milosevic adhered to a similarly moral position during his trial and on many occasions defended others more than himself. S. Milosevic said about M. Deronic, the key witness against Karadzic: He was the kind of individual whom even his mother would not talk to he butchered a whole village after guaranteeing security to its population. But you have Karadzic’s order to the troops in Srebrenica to care for the civilian population and to abide by the Geneva Convention. The document was sent to the troops in the written form, but somebody Deronic claims he said right into Karadzic’s ear not to be overheard that everybody should be slaughtered. This absurdity is not worth talking about . Being the only officer who allegedly received direct orders to kill, Deronic was supposed to become the main witness against Karadzic. However, he died while serving his term in a jail in Sweden, perhaps to the benefit of the Tribunal, as lying convincingly in Karadzic’s presence could be an uphill task. Now the Tribunal faces no risk, plus several people have already been sentenced based on Deronic’s testimony.

So, the indictment part of the trial of Karadzic has started. The prosecution is given 300 hours for the job, and the process can easily take years. While the Tribunal needs the trial to prolong its own existence, there is a chance that the trial will be lethal for the Tribunal. Considering that Karadzic will be personally defending himself, the first 300 hours of the process can yield not only megatons of lies stockpiled by the prosecution but also some serious revelations. Karadzic sent a letter to the UN Security Council several days ago demanding to ratify his deal with R. Holbrooke, the US President’s special envoy in 1996, by which Karadzic was to get immunity against the ICTY prosecution as a reward for withdrawing from politics. There is no response to the letter, and of course, there is not going to be one, but thus Karadzic has shown that despite the refusal to hear the matter in court he would not remain silent.

The trial is going to be a tough one: Karadzic will certainly do his best.

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