Why Milosevic won’t get to the Hague

By Jan Oberg

TFF PressInfo 100 – October 11, 2000

Originally published here.

 

Western politicians insist that Slobodan Milosevic must be brought to the Hague Tribunal and stand trial as a war criminal. Media and commentators raise the issue time and again. But there are reasons to believe that this is make-believe.

The indictment of Milosevic leaves much to be explained – for instance, why he is indicted only for crimes committed in 1999 but not before – and certain Western countries would hardly want him to be on record in the Hague with a few things that he may know about them.

The West would, therefore, do wise to drop this issue now and let Yugoslavia deal with Milosevic.

It seems that few have bothered to read the text of the indictment of Milosevic and four other high-level government officials of Thursday May 27, 1999. Among other things it states:

“As pointed out by Justice Arbour in her application to Judge Hunt, “this indictment is the first in the history of this Tribunal to charge a Head of State during an on-going armed conflict with the commission of serious violations of international humanitarian law”.

The indictment alleges that, between 1 January and late May 1999, forces under the control of the five accused persecuted the Kosovo Albanian civilian population on political, racial or religious grounds. By the date of the indictment, approximately 740,000 Kosovo Albanians, about one-third of the entire Kosovo Albanian population, had been expelled from Kosovo. Thousands more are believed to be internally displaced. An unknown number of Kosovo Albanians have been killed in the operations by forces of the FRY and Serbia. Specifically, the five indictees are charged with the murder of over 340 persons identified by name in an annex to the indictment.

Each of the accused is charged with three counts of crimes against humanity and one count of violations of the laws or customs of war.”

 

Limited indictment and dubious facts

As will be seen, Milosevic is indicted for activities limited to the period January 1 and late May 1999, i.e. during the local war between Kosovo-Albanian forces (KLA/UCK) and various Serb/Yugoslav forces and for activities during NATO’s bombings which started on March 24 and went on for 78 days.

At the time the Tribunal could not know any precise facts or numbers. What we do know today from public, reliable sources is that a considerable part of the information about killings and ethnic cleansing was exaggerated or false.

At the time of the indictment, facts could not be verified by independent sources [Read more…]

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Bosnia’s foreign elections – Unwise and dangerous

By Jan Oberg

September 10, 1997

TFF PressInfo 25 originally published here.
“Symbolic or shallow democracy will be the only outcome when foreigners impose elections under extremely adverse circumstances as is the case in Dayton-Bosnia. They could even be dangerous in their consequences because some local results are likely to be implemented by force. One increasingly wonders whether the international community is in Bosnia for the sake of the people living there or to uphold an illusory image of itself as effective post-Cold War conflict-“managers” – says TFF’s director, Jan Oberg who has followed the situation since February 1992 as head of the foundation’s conflict-mitigation team to all parts of former Yugoslavia.

– “The leading Croatian party, the Bosnian branch of President Tudjman’s HDZ in Zagreb, has suggested to its members and voters to boycott the elections. It argues that the conditions for fair and free elections are not in place and complain that international election officials favour Muslims over Croats in disputes about voter registration. And it accuses OSCE of “gerrymandering” in Mostar.

– This emphasises what international media’s non-attention hides but any serious observer knows, namely that the Federation between Muslims and Croats established in March 1994 still belongs to the world of fiction.

– The present situation in Republika Srpska, RS, fulfils all conditions for a coup, outbreak of serious violence or a civil war. I am pretty sure,” predicts Jan Oberg, “that it will fall apart. Indeed, that could well be part of an unwritten longterm “gentlemen’s agreement”. Be this as it may, the power-struggling Serbs offer once again international media and the international authorities in Bosnia a reason to blame Pale for the stalling, crisis-ridden Dayton process. And quite predictably, they now also boycott the elections. So, four days before the elections two of the three largest parties are out, free not to respect election results later.

– The present situation is also caused by the Western governments which did absolutely nothing to support civil society, dissidents, non-nationalists, NGOs and independent media anywhere in ex-Yugoslavia between 1990 and end of 1995. It dealt exclusively with the top political, military and economic echelons [Read more…]

Ten pointers toward a peace process in Ex-Yugoslavia

By Johan Galtung

July 7, 1993

1. A Conference on Security and Cooperation in Southeast Europe, CSCSEE, UN and OSCE sponsored, modeled on Helsinki, in addition to the London/Geneva conference.  All concerned parties (also sub-, super- and non-state) to be invited, with all relevant themes on the agenda; possibly lasting 3-5 years.  Outsiders to the region should be present as observers with right to speak, there being no disinterested outside states. A possible long term goal: A Southeast European Confederation.

2. CSCSEE Working Groups on priority areas to consider:
– Bosnia-Herzegovina as a tri- or bi-partite confederation; with the right to self-determination after some time.
– Kosovo/a s a bipartite confederation with the right of self-determination after some tim, respecting Serbian history;
– Macedonia: a Macedonian confederation should not be ruled out, but can only emerge within a broader setting ([1]) above.
– ex-Yugoslavia: as long-term goal, a confederation this time.

3. Increase UNPROFOR by an order of 10+, with 50% women, creating a dense blue carpet to supervise truces and stabilize the situation. Soldiers must be adequately briefed and trained as conflict facilitators, working with possible civilian peacekeeping components.  Avoid big power participation. [Read more…]