26 March 2012, 10:44

What was Slobodan Milosevic accused of?

What was Slobodan Milosevic accused of?
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Interview with Michael Mandel – Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University in Toronto, Canada.

Can you give a little background of Slobodan Milosevic? What exactly he was accused of? One of the things I’m given to understand is that he was essentially turned over by a political rival who couldn’t seem to have him arrested for internal crimes, so in figure he get rid of him by tossing him over to the Hague, is that right?

It was a little more complicated than that. The Americans and the Yugoslavian Tribunal were demanding his handover and they were threatening sanctions, and they were starving – the Serbians has been bombed into destitution for about three months. And the Western countries were saying – we are not going to get you out of this, we are going to impose sanctions unless you handover Milosevic. There were a couple of political elections between the bombing campaign and the handover and what happened was that the law of Yugoslavia did not allow for the extradition of citizens, like a lot of European countries.

But America – Bush and Blair again and again were demanding his handover and in the Yugoslavian Tribunal there is a woman named Carla del Ponte who was kind of hired gun for them. So, they tried to change the law but they couldn’t and the Constitutional Court said it was illegal to extradite somebody who was a citizen without a proper law change and in the context they couldn’t pass a law. The Prime Minister at that time of Serbia just handed him over to NATO, basically kidnapped him and illegally transported him to the Yugoslavian Tribunal. I think the Prime Minister was later assassinated, but anyway he was very pro-Western Prime Minister and they were all sort of talking up the United States for their money and for their acceptance and they wanted to get into the European Union. So, basically he was illegally kidnapped contrary to the decision of the Constitutional Court of Yugoslavia, just done under the sort of extortion by the West and all that end up in Hague.

Rigth! And actually talking about Hague and the International Criminal Court, and the ICTY, I know you are an expert particularly on this, can you get a little bit into the international lottery behind the legality of the ICTY and its actual…

 The ICTY was set up in the early 90’es by the Security Council. And it was basically an American operation, although the Security Council went along with it within the context of the Bosnian civil war and it had the accent of Russia and China on the Security Council which set it up. But once it was set up, it was basically initiative of the Americans. I think this was the time when Yeltsin was trying to ingratiate himself with the United States. And so, anyway, they thought this was minor idea, this Tribunal.

But the meeting was set up with manipulative by the Americans, totally started by the Americans. They appointed first Richard Goldstone as the prosecutor and then Louise Arbour, the colleague of mine in the Law School, and their idea was basically to get Milosevic, to get Yugoslavia. And it was even more pernicious than that and this was clear even in the documents. Milosevic said this wasn’t the trial but the main drafter of the resolution Michael Sharif from the State Department said so was the idea, the idea was to demonize Milosevic, to make him out to be a Nazi, they had totally falsely build up this Nazi analogy and that trumped up, corrupt Tribunal to charge him with genocide and all sort of things… subsequently all these things were shown to be false to justify the war against Yugoslavia which basically NATO wanted to get around the Security Council.

And you know the war was not authorized by the Security Council, and the Nürnberg Tribunal called it the supreme international crime of aggression. But this was justified by this phony Tribunal that made Milosevic out to be Hitler which he was the opposite ones. And doing this they bombed the hell out of Yugoslavia for 78 days and killed a lot of people, Serbs and Albanians alike, and then arrested Milosevic and charged him. The head of the trial was the British judge, this guy Richard May was totally corrupt judge appointed by the Blair Government. Imagine that trial you enemy by appointing the judges.

And over the course of the trial it turned out that all the evidence was fake. And they would have convicted Milosevic because this was a corrupt Tribunal but he died before they could convict him and actually the judge died and the trial should have halted then according to the rules but this judge Richard May gotten a rule change. There was every corruption you can name – there was a boycott of witnesses, Milosevic was not allowed to bring his witnesses. Even the original indictment of Milosevic within the middle of the war, the bombing war by NATO which was the biggest crime, Louise Arbour charged him on the basis of the evidence that she couldn’t possibly verify during the war. In the middle of the war precisely it stopped the peace agreement that was then under a way by the Russians and the Germans. But she was acting for Blair and Clinton and this was the use of the Tribunal to justify an illegal war.

And it wasn’t the last time, we saw it with the International Criminal Court just recently when they indicted Gaddafi on the instance of the United States. Later, after the referral to Court of Ocampo, another hired gun for the Western powers, he has a press conference and issues an indictment against him without even investigating and later they have the war. So, we see this all the time and I think the Yugoslavian Tribunal is the first instance happened, people weren’t ready, they weren’t ready for a corrupt Tribunal to justify war under the pretext of preventing war crimes. So, it was quite eye opener for a lot of people and I think it helps to understand the nature of this criminal justice, war crimes movement – just to justify imperialist wars.

I’m glad that you actually just mentioned that because I do want to ask you of how does this reflect on the ICC and the principle of these international criminal courts?

The ICC is basically putting Africa on trial, the enemies of our friends in Africa and the war is caused by imperialist greed. The rape of Africa and robbery of all of its resources, Africa is a very rich continent with very poor people because the West basically exploits it. And essentially what happens is that there these wars are caused by this Western imperialism and then to justify a further intervention the West set up these phony tribunals to prosecute the enemies of their friends. And recently in Uganda we have this entrance of American troops justified by the prosecution of Koni by his enemy in this civil war that is going on there and which has just grabbed with unbelievable resources in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Uganda.

So, you can see it all over again. You know, it’s not surprising that with all the war crimes committed by the West, especially when Colin Paul lied and a million of Iraqis died and George Bush, one of the mass murderers of our time, is just having a happy retirement while they are putting Africa and African leaders on trial. And this white court of Ocampo has charged only Africans with all the war crimes committed by the West and the North, they’ve charged only Africans. It is equally corrupt as the Yugoslavian Tribunal.

But they’ve made some semblance, I guess maybe you would say of providing some diversity on the Court, like I think there is an Asian member.

There is an African woman Assistant Prosecutor who is now replacing the Argentinean Ocampo. But he did his job for the first nine years and she has obviously been groomed and, you know, in Africa you have the anti-imperialist forces and you have the pro-imperialist forces. And she wouldn’t have been appointed unless she could be trusted because the one thing they want is to convince the United States which refuses to join the Criminal Court, so it can’t be prosecuted by it, longs to use the Criminal Court to prosecute its enemies.

Isn’t that skillful!

If they didn’t have the American mass media behind them everybody would be just laughing them off the bloc but in fact the mass media disguises all this and celebrates these corrupt institutions, and celebrates the Americans for all the imperialism, and demonizes their enemies and Milosevic was one of them and Gaddafi is another one, and Koni is another one and, you know, there is a whole bunch of them. It is not that these people are wonderful people but, you know, whatever crime they’ve committed they just pay off its worth by the American crimes, I mean Afghanistan and Iraq, in Palestine, everywhere.

It is ludicrous. It is not that it is unrelated, it is not just hypocritical, by prosecuting their enemies and making them out to be Nazis they justify their imperialist wars. That’s the link, it is very important that they are not unrelated. It is not just that half a loaf of justice is better than none. People often say- well, Koni is a bad guy, let’s get him. But the fact is that getting off him is a part of the creation of all these war crimes and wars. And starting with Yugoslavia, Clinton and my Government – Croatian and Blair committed the supreme international crime, they killed a lot of people and they caused all the misery that ensued. And they ludicrously blamed their enemy and justified this by this trumped up institutions to prosecute them in face of all the evidence.

So, do you politics and the guys of a fair and balanced court trial…

It is legalized judicial politics and it is legalized imperialist politics. The fact is that they are using the tribunals to justify their own crimes.

Let’s set again into Slobodan Milosevic’s death because, you know, a verdict wasn’t even handed down. Someone said that in a way he escaped justice which is a fascinating response. But are other mysteries, I mean he died of the heart attack but at the same time there was apparently drug in his system that probably precipitated that heart attack, no?

Well, there was an investigation, you know, it is always that these questions remain. He had a heart trouble and he was trying desperately to come to the Soviet Union in order to get some kind of medical treatment. And certainly, you know, a guy with a heart trouble who is kept in jail like that for years under the stress, I’m not a scientist so I can’t judge the complete report about how that drug got into his system. But definitely he was very sick and the whole thing of his kidnapping and bringing to Hague, he has been kept there for four years. Obviously it is only one person but it is one of the many crimes committed by West in the former Yugoslavia and all around the world.

I don’t know if we could say he escaped justice, I’m sure he would have been convicted because of the corrupt court. And really his death actually leaves just the record of the trial which vindicates him in my view, it shows that all the charges were false, there was no evidence for a lot of the charges, there was a lot of evidence against it. And I think that record, if you look at it, then it kind of vindicates Milosevic, I think that they were cheated of a conviction by his death. In a way at that time I remember saying he was obviously going to be convicted, even though he was not guilty of the charges that were laid against him.

 And consequently it was the tribunal that was really cheated, he was a very sick person, he tried to get delays of the trial. It was just a ridiculous show-trial and even conservative commentators were saying that they couldn’t believe how bias this court was, how outrageous its behavior was. This judge May, in a way he manipulated the witnesses, like this William Walker who was one of the State Department provocateurs of this whole enterprise. Really, I have no way of deciphering the medical evidence pro and con but I know Milosevic was a very sick person in physical sense and he needed treatment, and he was denied this treatment. It had nothing to do with justice, it had everything to do with this imperialist show-trial.

And at the very least, I guess, you could say it was negligence on the part of his captors, I mean he had been putting requests to be treated in a hospital in some country…

Sure, but they were desperate to carry on this metaphor of the Nazi war criminal and the notion that he was being victimized obviously was not acceptable. Absolutely no difference but I think they wanted to get the trial over, they took a long time at the beginning of the trial and then on the prosecution’s case. And then when Milosevic came to present his case and he was always claiming he had the right, and of course he had the right, being charged with so many horrible crimes, to present his case, they then refused him the permission to present his case and imposed lawyers on him. And when his international witnesses boycotted the trial, then they’ve reversed their decision and said he could present his case. I think it was the travesty of justice and not only the travesty but the wrong people on trial, he said that from the beginning. And the most of the world was saying that, it was just the Western media that was desperately trying to make him out to be some kind of Nazi which he was not.

I understand that less than 20 000 people were actually killed in that war and of course that is a very large number but obviously when you do compare that to other major war crimes…

Look, peace was returning to Kosovo and all the reports in the UN said that peace was returning to Kosovo. And the numbers are very difficult to verify but they said that from 10 000 to 20 000 people died but it was all after the NATO bombing. NATO killed those people and it killed them to destroy peace because peace was what they did not want. NATO was desperate to break out of the United Nations Security Council monopoly over a war and because the United States had found itself as you can see in minority in the Security Council, it wanted an excuse to have a war without authorization by the Security Council, that was the Bush doctrine, it was Clinton doctrine as well.

This is the tragedy which was made of this all. Let’s not forget the role of the West in creating the whole mess in Yugoslavia, their attempt to destroy socialism there and the encouragement of the separatist movements in Slovenia, in Croatia without any regard to what the consequences would be. And then when the United States came in, in 1990 there was a peace deal in Bosnia, and the United States destroyed that peace deal because they wanted to be able to intervene. At that time they had Boutros Boutros-Ghali, who was the Secretary General of the United Nations, but he was an obstacle, he wouldn’t allow them to intervene without his cooperation. And what happened was that he was denied the second term by the United States veto, fourteen to one to return Boutros-Ghali who was a wonderful Secretary General. But they replaced him with Kofi Annan, with their puppet basically. And Kofi Annan authorized anything they wanted to do.

I remember that. I think that’s actually just about it. I appreciate that.

Well, listen, I haven’t talked about this subject for a long time, so I appreciate the opportunity to return to it because it is downright outrageous what went on. And the result of it continue to today and every time we see these prosecutors pop up on TV announcing indictments of the enemies of the Western powers we should hark back to what happened to Slobodan Milosevic.

You’ve mentioned Koni, I am kind of intrigued by this because they have effectively targeted demonizing one particular person when of course there is a whole bunch of people who are guilty of mass crimes in that area or at least maybe the crime of going to war with each other, I mean…

With major imperialist wars. The guy who referred Koni to the International Criminal Court is Museveni who is the Western guy and they want those resources of Uganda. And here Koni was fighting for the northern poor people’s resistance movement and then he has put off with them. And obviously his case was referred by the winner and by the central Government to the International Criminal Court and they were very happy to do that. And these guys who made this video, their proudest accomplishment is to get Obama to sign the authorization for basically sending troops into Uganda on the pretext of hunting down Koni.

And this video was made of footage of nine years ago. These people are very proud of the fact but the Obama Administration was very happy to have an excuse to send troops there. I mean if somebody has to sent the troops in the Palestine to protect the Palestinians from I don’t know how many years of aggressive occupation or apartheid, they wouldn’t be so happy to do that. So, these people are useful idiots for the Western imperialists who want troops there to protect this very unstable, oppressive, autocratic regimes and to make sure there is a constant flow of all these necessary resources – diamonds and coal tenement, it used to be that the Belgians were after for copper but now we’ve got these new minerals that we need and we exploit, we rob the African countries and we cause these enormous tragedies and then we exploit these tragedies to further our clutches on Africa.

Rwanda is another country that is involved in this, there is the guy of Rwanda – Kagami and he is in Uganda and in Congo a handover fought on behalf of the Western imperialists. So, the Koni video, it is no excuse, it is not about him, it is about justifying the Western military intervention. He is an old story but the new story is the one about the troops on the ground. These oil deposits that they’ve found, they are worried about China and India as rivals for these things. So, this useful prosecution that actually is now seven years old and these useful idiot videographers they come at the appropriate time to justify the military intervention, the militarization of Africa. It is just incredible what is going on there. 

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