Forty-two-year-old Alexander Cvetkovic, accused of Srebrenica-related war crimes, is an Israeli citizen who is ethnically Serb. The latter usually means his chances of avoiding extradition to a Bosnian show trial aren’t good. Political expediency has been the rule governing all world governments facing Bosnian-Muslim demands for war crimes extraditions, based on dubious howls of “genocide.” So dubious that laws have been enacted in Europe to enforce the belief that extrajudicial executions of Muslim soldiers are on par with the Holocaust.
And so the world’s political classes sit on their haunches to see if Jewish Israel passes the test and gives Muslim Bosnia what it wants. Or if, as the alternative is likely to be interpreted, Jews “still think they have the monopoly on genocide.” But if Srebrenica is the barometer, they certainly do, as will be laid out here. For now, the question is: Will Israel try to join the world club that will never have it, a club in which due process is due to all but Serbs?
Last August, Judge Amnon Cohen of the Jerusalem District Court easily ruled against Cvetkovic to honor Bosnia’s request. Cvetkovic appealed, and that Supreme Court hearing took place last Monday. Oral arguments were heard, and the final decision will be handed down in a couple months. With that deadline looming, it’s worth excerpting an April Jerusalem Postcolumn by Stephen Karganovic, president of the Dutch NGO Srebrenica Historical Project, warning that Israel’s decision will have implications for Israeli soldiers as well (emphasis added):
…Alexander Cvetkovic, a native of the Republic of Srpska [Bosnia’s Serb Republic], now citizen of Israel, is in detention in the Ramla prison awaiting resolution of an extradition request…. [D]uring the Bosnian civil war [Cvetkovic] was a member of a unit of the Army of the Republic of Srpska called the 10th sabotage detachment and he is charged with taking part in an episode at a site called Pilica where several hundred Muslim prisoners of war are alleged to have been shot. When authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina found out that he was residing in Israel, they accused him of genocide and other war crimes and submitted a request for his extradition.
For the past 20 years Cvetkovic has been married to a Ukrainian Jewish woman and has two sons with her. His wife immigrated to Israel and is now an Israeli citizen, and so are their children. Cvetkovic acquired Israeli citizenship through his wife and has been living in Israel with his family since 2006.
Following an adverse first instance decision, the defense headed by Jerusalem public defender Vadim [Shub] geared up for its last shot at blocking extradition at the June 25 Israeli Supreme Court hearing before the matter lands on the desk of the Minister of Justice.
The case raises some disturbing issues if this Israeli citizen is handed over to Sarajevo authorities. Serious misgivings have been raised as to whether a non-Muslim accused of grave war crimes against Muslims can expect to receive a fair trial there. The record of the Sarajevo war crimes court and prosecution is abysmal. Some of the major problems bear mentioning.
The overwhelming majority of indictees are predictably non-Muslim (133 Serbs, 21 Croats, and only 29 Muslims). They generally receive lengthy sentences, compared to minimal punishment meted out to the relatively few Muslims who were tried for crimes committed during the Bosnian war 1992-1995…The defense are allowed scant resources for adequate personnel and investigation as they face a well funded and staffed prosecution machine. Witness intimidation by the prosecutor is standard procedure, and dozens of prosecution witnesses were threatened with being put on trial themselves unless they gave evidence to fit the prosecution’s case. Some have already come out with disturbing stories of pressure and blackmail.
One notorious such case was on March 17, 2011, involving protected witness S-101 in the Dusko Jevic Srebrenica-related genocide trial. At one point, the witness refused to answer any further questions and, turning to the judge, he asked, “May I now finally start to tell the truth?” Then, in open court, he spilled the beans on the strong-arm tactics used by prosecutor Ibro Bulic and his investigators to extract false testimony against the defendants, which witness S-101 publicly retracted to the enormous embarrassment of the chamber and the prosecution.
(Please note that this State War Crimes Court in Sarajevo, which was set up in 2005 to take some of the load from the tribunal at The Hague, very much reflects the “standards” of the latter.)
But that is only the tip of the legal iceberg when it comes to the dangers posed by [J]udge Cohen’s ruling in favor of Bosnia….From the standpoint of the Israeli national interest, a fundamental dilemma posed by the extradition is the highly problematic precedent it would set for Israel. This situation appears to be distinguishable from past extraditions of Israeli citizens. The other cases involved mostly common crimes; this one is based on accusations of very serious breaches of international law and acts against humanity, including a controversial charge of genocide.
While Israel is understandably sensitive to charges of genocide and is loath to be perceived as shielding a potential culprit for that offense, there is a serious cautionary argument to be made. Israeli soldiers and officials are themselves subjects of grave accusations leveled by the other side in the Middle Eastern conflict, and a precedent of this nature could function greatly to their detriment.
Equally concerning is the thinness of the prima facie evidence submitted by the Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities to support their extradition request. It is based in large part on the questionable evidence of [an ethnic Croat named] Drazen Erdemovic, wartime member of the same unit to which Cvetkovic belonged, who after arrest made an advantageous deal for himself with the ICTY prosecution, [receiving a negligible sentence, along with a lifelong pension and changed identity, in return for repeating his dubious story at all Srebrenica trials to incriminate others].
Erdemovic is the Sarajevo war crimes court’s chief accuser. But as doubts have surged in relation to the many holes and contradictions in his courtroom narrative, Erdemovic has not been used at all as a viva voce witness in Sarajevo. Only the transcripts of his previous ICTY testimony at the Hague have been submitted, without the possibility of cross-examination. That is in itself a grave violation of a defendant’s procedural rights which, in a case involving an Israeli citizen, Israel arguably should not permit.
The ICTY recently disallowed this stock testimony from being reused in the Karadzic trial, ruling that Erdemovic must testify himself. However, in September the State Court of Bosnia-Herzegovina scandalously decided that, rather than compel Erdemovic to give testimony in court, the court would forward any questions from the defense to Erdemovic, wherever he might be. This is the supposed key witness to what happened at the Pilica prosecution site for which Cvetkovic is charged, Pilica being the foundational block on which the official Srebrenica narrative rests.
“This ruling clearly illustrates the understandable anxiety of the prosecution, who recognise the numerous vulnerabilities of their star witness Erdemović,” Mr. Karganovic assessed last month. “But it is also a disturbing illustration of the court’s pliability and its readiness to violate fundamental legal principles in order to accommodate the Prosecution by shielding the Srebrenica ’star witness’, and his improbable story, from discreditation in open court.” Erdemovic’s unique allowance to refuse a summons “is a development that has received scant attention or analysis in juridical circles, but as a precedent it is of fundamental significance for…criminal justice.” Mr. Karganovic’s Jerusalem Post piece concluded:
…The danger inherent in accepting for extradition purposes prima facie evidence that is manifestly defective is that it lowers the bar to an extraordinary degree. It sets a precedent that in the future would operate very adversely against Israeli suspects whose extradition is sought by other countries.
Not just because he is an Israeli citizen, but also because he is a human being who is inherently entitled to a fair and transparent trial, Cvetkovic should not be extradited to the scandal-ridden war crimes court of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He should be tried in Israel on whatever real evidence the authorities [in] Bosnia and Herzegovina might manage to submit to demonstrate his culpability.
Such an outcome would protect the state interest of Israel as well as serve the cause of justice because it would mark the first time that a Srebrenica defendant is tried by a fair court, outside the ICTY/Sarajevo “judicial” apparatus. […]
From a January 2011 article in Haaretz one learns that Israel was already following Bosnia’s wishes by keeping Cvetkovic behind bars during the whole extradition and appeals process since his arrest in January 2011. Bosnian state prosecutors had said that “the allegations against Cvetkovic…justified holding him in police custody ‘given the enormity of the danger posed to the public.’” (As if at any moment a Serb is liable to go on a rampage against Jews — and sure, Bosnia isveryconcernedaboutthesafetyofJews.)
In a subsequent Haaretzarticle, published upon the first extradition decision, one of Cvetkovic’s lawyers, Nick Kaufman, mentioned that “the genocidal intent was not made out in his case.” Unfortunately, the same article reminded us that “Cvetkovic’s unprecedented case has piqued interest in Israel, with its founding memories of the Holocaust and more recent pro-Palestinian efforts to prosecute its military commanders for alleged war crimes in the West Bank and Gaza.” Nor has the case escaped notice by Al Jazeera, which was practically cheering Judge Cohen’s decision: Israel to extradite citizen over Srebrenica.
Meanwhile, Mr. Karganovic, contacted me with a few things that his Post editorial did not mention: “Supporting the extradition request are statements by prosecution witnesses A. Hasic and someone designated as Q, which do not even mention or personally implicate Mr. Cvetkovic. And by ‘Z1,’ who does mention him but is suspected to be Marko Boskic, who also made a pre-trial plea bargain with the prosecution in Sarajevo. (Incidentally, the use of anonymous, code-named declarants such as ‘Q’ and ‘Z1′ is highly repugnant to proper regard for a defendant’s procedural rights.) In addition, the Bosnia/Herzegovina authorities have thrown in some portions from “statements of facts” given by Dragan Obrenovic and Momir Nikolic who too made plea bargains with ICTY prosecutors and who refer to Srebrenica events in general terms but do not make any specific allegations against Alexander Cvetkovic.”
Nebojsa Malic, libertarian proprietor of the Gray Falcon blog, points out that when a reporter for the pro-Tribunal, Soros-funded IWPR (Institute for War and Peace Reporting) dared challenge the ICTY’s plea-bargaining system over the incident, he was fired. He adds, “Nikolic’s false testimony was not only not overturned on account of perjury, but used to convict several other Serb officials!”
Then there is THE PROBLEM WITH THE PILICA KILLINGS in the first place. In February 2009, UK Guardian and Daily Mail contributor John Laughland, Director of Studies at the Institute of Democracy and Cooperation in Paris, explained it in his article “The Crown Witness at the Hague” (emphasis and links added):
[Deutsche Welle reporter] Germinal Civikov is a native of Bulgaria who lives in The Hague and Cologne. His book, “Srebrenica: Der Kronzeuge”…[is] devastating. Civikov explains that the ICTY ruling that genocide was committed at Srebrenica on the orders of the Bosnian Serb leadership is based on the testimony of a single witness, a self-confessed perpetrator of one of the massacres called Drazen Erdemovic. Civikov’s discussion of the “crown witness” and his evidence reads like a detective thriller: in fact, it should be made into a film.
Erdemovic originally surfaced in 1996 after he had been arrested in Yugoslavia for war crimes. [He was arrested in Novi Sad, Serbia, ten days after entering Serbian territory from Croatia. As Hague analyst Andy Wilcoxson wrote, the Serbian government under Slobodan Milosevic was actually leading the way in criminal prosecution against those responsible for the executions of Srebrenica Muslims. Had Erdemovic stood trial in Serbia, “he would have faced at least 20 years in prison…”] [Erdemovic] contacted the Prosecutor in The Hague because he believed that he would be given immunity from prosecution in return for evidence. Transferred to The Hague, he was himself charged with crimes against humanity, to which he pleaded guilty having admitted taking part in a massacre of 1,200 Muslim civilians of which [he] personally killed about 100. For this act of mass murder, Erdemovic was given a 10 year prison sentence by the ICTY, reduced to 5 years on appeal because he had cooperated so well with the Prosecutor. But there was never any trial because he pleaded guilty and so he was never cross-examined. He was released from prison shortly after his conviction, since he was considered to have served most of his sentence already, and he now lives with a protected identity in a North West European country…
Civikov’s interest in the case was aroused when he started to reflect on the veracity of Erdemovic’s testimony. The prisoners, he claimed, were shot in groups of 10. They were bussed in, taken off the busses, marched to the execution spot in a field several hundred metres away, frisked for their possessions, and shot. Arguments broke out between the executioners and the victims; the executioners drank and quarrelled….Quite simply, Civikov reasoned, it is not possible to kill 1,200 people this way in 5 hours unless one assumes that each group of 10 men was killed in 2.5 minutes. Even if it had taken only 10 minutes to kill each group, itself an achievement, it would instead have taken some 20 hours to kill so many people. If you do the maths you will see that he is right. [Note: In a different case — Blagojevic and Jokic — about executions at a different location, it took three times longer to execute fewer prisoners.]
Throughout the thirteen years since Erdemovic has been telling his story in four different trials, not one of the ICTY judges ever did this simple calculation or questioned the veracity of his account…On several occasions, he named his seven co-perpetrators. At one of the earlier hearings, a judge asked the Prosecutor whether these other men were going to be apprehended and he was told that they would be. But not only has the Office of the Prosecutor never tried to arrest or even question these men, one of them (the unit commander) lives in Belgrade and had given interviews to the Serbian press while another was arrested on a different matter in the United States without any extradition request ever being made against him by The Hague. It is as if the Prosecution is determined to prevent anyone else from giving his account of events.
(Indeed, the Hague never sought to prosecute them though their whereabouts have been known to Western governments; they also travel freely and serve in other conflict theaters including as part of the French Foreign Legion. However, since the 2010 translation into Serbian of Civikov’s book, proceedings against most of them have been started in Sarajevo, according to a footnote in the Srebrenica Historical Project’s Deconstruction of a Virtual Genocide: The Intelligent Person’s Guide to Srebrenica. The footnote adds that “Erdemovic-style plea bargains with the Prosecution have already been made by some defendants or [are] on the verge of being made by others.”)
[Erdemovic] alleges that his unit acted on orders from the Bosnian Serb leadership. Yet as Civikov shows with excruciating attention to detail, Erdemovic’s own statements about the command structure in his little platoon are self-contradictory and untrue. He claims that he was forced to commit this massacre and that the orders came from one of his co-perpetrators, Brano Gojkovic. But as Civikov shows, and as even the Prosecution at one point had to admit, this Gojkovic was an ordinary soldier who could not give orders to anyone…
Erdemovic has presented himself, including in the media, as a pathetic victim of the Bosnian war. He did what he did because he had to. A sort of novel has even been written about him, as have newspaper articles, in which he is elevated to the status of a holy fool. Civikov wades through years of evidence, spanning a decade, to show that in fact Erdemovic is a pathological liar, as well as a callous murderer. He was not a conscripted soldier who was forced to fight, but instead a mercenary who fought on all three sides in the Bosnian civil war. He was not forced, on pain of death, to commit the massacre, as he claimed in court…During his time in the other Bosnian armies (Croat and Muslim) he had evidently been an unscrupulous war profiteer who extracted money from people in return for their safe passage.
Civikov has convinced me that the following is what really happened. Erdemovic belonged to a mercenary unit which was on leave after the fall of Srebrenica. On 15 July 1995, someone evidently offered him and some other mercenaries on leave a lot of money (gold, in fact) to commit a war crime, in this case a massacre of prisoners. [Erdemovic “forgets” who made the offer.] In other words, the Bosnian Serb authorities had nothing to do with it – and hence the ludicrous story about the private giving orders…The mercenaries then hijacked busses of prisoners which were on their way to be exchanged by the Bosnian Serb authorities — to the horror of the unsuspecting bus drivers, and of course of the prisoners themselves — and murdered them. A few days later, there was a fight in a bar over the money and the former comrades starting shooting at each other: Erdemovic was hit in the stomach and later sentimentalised the scar in Court by lifting up his shirt to claim that they had tried to kill him to prevent him from testifying. Escaping from this situation by fleeing into Yugoslavia, he was unexpectedly arrested by the Yugoslav authorities from whom he managed to escape by securing his transfer to The Hague….The Prosecution won out on the deal because it gained “proof” of both genocide and command responsibility – which enabled it to go after the “big fish” like Karadzic and Mladic in headline prosecutions — while Erdemovic won out too because he has not only been let off for mass murder, but has also been given a new life, a house and presumably some sort of income. This, I repeat, is the witness on whose evidence alone the finding of genocide at the ICTY is based.
Outstanding questions remain. Who offered the mercenaries money and why? Civikov’s book is scrupulously rooted in documentary evidence and there is no documentary evidence to support a clear answer to this question. However, there are speculations and Civikov discusses them. As Milosevic said during his own gripping cross-examination of Erdemovic — gripping because, whenever he started to get close to the truth, Judge Richard May intervened to prevent him from pursuing his line of questioning — there were reports in Serbia of a rogue French secret service unit operating on the territory of the former Yugoslavia and later involved in a plot to overthrow him, known as “Operation Spider”. There had also been reports that these people had been present at Srebrenica. The West, it is implied, “needed” abigatrocityatSrebrenica, and it was indeed immediately following the fall of that town — and thanks largely to pressure exerted by the French president, Jacques Chirac…that NATO intervened and bought an end to the Bosnian war. As it bombed Bosnian Serb targets, the Americans helped Croatia to launch “Operation Storm” in which over a quarter of a million Serbs were driven out of the Krajina. Defeated and marginalised as war criminals, the Bosnian Serb leaders were barred from attending the peace conference at Dayton, where a deal was imposed by the Americans.
Quite simply, the Srebrenica “genocide” finding is based on perjury. Erdemovic “served ICTY’s purpose perfectly. He spun a story, pointed fingers, got a symbolic conviction and was given a new life in the West,” blogger Malic wrote in 2009. “Meanwhile, based on his testimony, a bloody episode of the Bosnian War was branded ‘genocide,’ an entire nation was demonized because of it, and even the ICJ [International Court of Justice] was duped into believing the ICTY verdict was legitimate.” (Contrary to what Srebrenica cultists would have us believe, the ICJ did not “also find” that genocide was committed; it simply adopted the ICTY’s verdict.)
It’s worth noting that Milosevic’s government again arrested members of Erdemovic’s group in 2000 and charged them with war crimes for killing Muslim POWs, but when the Western-puppeteered opposition took over, they were released. The possibility that mercenary executioners were acting on orders from Frenchintelligence also came up in the trial of former leader of the Serbian Radical Party, Vojislav Seselj, as well as in this June 2005 Defense & Foreign Affairs analysis:
…Erdemovic claims that his group of eight was ordered to execute Muslims at Branjevo military farm near Pilica by a Lt.-Colonel, but this officer is never identified…Yet, based on a plea bargain with prosecutors, Erdemovic was allowed to participate in the farcical Rule 61 hearings later that year against Bosnian Serb leaders Karadzic and Mladic, a trial-by-media procedure which allowed uncorroborated testimony to be provided without cross examination. Legal experts were scathing about the procedure. The BBC called it a “circus,” but Chief Judge Cassesse, said “I am relying on the pressure of public opinion” to justify indictments against Serbian leaders.
…None of the prosecutors…[asked] why, if they had any interest in carrying out summary executions, would the Serb High Command entrust such a mission to a mentally unstable Bosnian Croat [Erdemovic], who had fought previously with Muslim forces and the Croatian HVO? Eventually, Erdemovic’s former partners-in-crime were reported serving as mercenaries in the Congo on behalf of French intelligence.
“Few outside Serbdom would object to Karadzic and Mladic being put on trial,” observed former UN Assistant Secretary-General Cedric Thornberry in the Summer of 1996 in Foreign Policy. “But is it likely, given their near universal demonization and the high places from which they have been denounced and condemned, that they could receive a fair trial?” Thornberry asserted that Judge Cassesse and others on the Tribunal had “stretched their judicial role,” by calling for political action. “Crusading and judging are two different (and incompatible) occupations,” he noted and warned that “the court could leave a poisoned legacy.”
Senior UN official Cedric Thornberry holds no particular brief for the Serbs, whom he accuses of shelling him out of several different residences in Sarajevo, but he expressed dismay at the bias, which impeded a solution to the war in Bosnia. “By early 1993, a consensus developed…that the Serbs were the only villains… This view did not correspond to the perceptions of successive senior UN personnel in touch with daily events throughout the area; as a kindly soul at the UN headquarters in New York, ear to the diplomatic grapevine, warned me, take cover – the fix is on.”
An ‘Editor’s Note’ at the bottom of the article further illustrates the biased farce that is “international justice” at the ICTY and affiliate courts (the likes of which Barack Obama will sign us on to if reelected, as Bill Clinton tried to do before him): “While showing the highly inflammatory and graphic imagery in [a widely-circulated video of six Muslim soldiers taken to execution], the ICTY refused earlier to show video footage of the 505th Buzim Brigade of the Bosnian-Muslim Government army showing heaps of mutilated bodies, torched villages and the beheading of a Serb soldier, Ensign Rade Rogic. The ICTY said that the footage was too brutal to show…”
The “needed atrocity” that Mr. Laughland hinted at in his article about Civikov’s book is something that is finally being looked into by the otherwise politically-correct Dutch, now that they’ll possibly have to pay large indemnities over a questionable number of victims, to groups like Mothers of Srebrenica who are suing the country for not protecting the Muslim enclave-slash-military-base. Last July, Mr. Karganovic commented that “by publishing this ‘heretical’ text precisely on July 11, the most sacred anniversary day for the proponents of the official Srebrenica narrative, the Dutch have acted with unusual boldness.” The following item appeared on a news site owned by the leading Dutch media conglomerate NRC, commenting on a previous NRC item:
In the Opinion and Debate section of NRC, [historian] Hans Blom…correctly argues that the Bosnian Serb entry was not planned well in advance, and even less so the mass executions…Earlier, the Muslim government in Sarajevo refused to alleviate the plight of tens of thousands of refugees in Srebrenica by allowing their evacuation….What the outside world preferred to misperceive as a humanitarian issue, for the Republika Srpska was a very serious military and strategic question. Repeatedly, the Srebrenica enclave…was used by the Muslims inside it, sometimes reinforced by civilian men and women, as a base for provocative and murderous military assaults on the surrounding Serb villages. To combat and prevent the joining of Srebrenica and the neighbouring southern enclave of Žepa with the rest of the Muslim dominated areas, many Bosnian Serb forces were tied down….
Great was the surprise when in the second week of July 1995 Srebrenica was captured by a relatively small, not very heavily armed force, which was actually operating only on the south side of the enclave. What actually happened? The leadership of the 28th Division in [the] Srebrenica-based Muslim army was ordered back to Sarajevo.
Thus the protection of tens of thousands of Muslims in the enclave in fact was largely left to the small and weak Dutch battalion. Apparently the political and military leadership of Bosnian Muslims were not really afraid of Serbian revenge and arbitrariness, let alone of the implementation of any genocidal plan. Or could it be that they were left behind deliberately to be sacrificed for a “higher” purpose?
It is obvious that Srebrenica fell when the Western powers were looking for a pretext to enter the conflict on the side of the Bosnian Muslims, as well as the Croats, which would enable them to give their protégés massive and open military assistance…Soon, with NATO air support elsewhere in Bosnia-Herzegovina Muslims and Croats were on the march. All the more reason to investigate in greater detail evidence of the involvement of intelligence services in the Srebrenica massacre. Several witnesses refer to…shadowy figures involved in death squad killings [for] gold or money. […]
There are some additional problems with the “1200″-person Pilica massacre narrative over which Mr. Cvetkovic faces extradition. On March 16-17 of last year, expert witness Dr. Ljubiša Simić testified in another Srebrenica-related case, “Pelemiš and Perić,” both defendants charged with aiding and abetting genocide in Pilica on July 16, 1995. Mr. Karganovic wrote the following at the time (emphasis added):
The conclusion drawn by Dr. Simić based on the exhumation of the Pilica primary mass grave was that it contained the remains of between 115 and 124…executed individuals. In addition, Dr. Simić accepted that the remains of an additional 32 individuals in four secondary mass graves, linked by DNA matching to the primary grave in Pilica, were also victims of this mass execution. That [150 total] is considerably short of the figure in excess of 1,000 that the prosecution asserted.
Pilica is the relatively best documented Srebrenica execution site. Any significant unraveling of the Pilica story will necessarily have serious repercussions for the integrity of the Srebrenica tale as a whole. Furthermore, it bears directly on the credibility of prosecution “Star Witness” Dražen Erdemović’s version of events…Are we to believe the material evidence, or the prosecution’s and Srebrenica lobby’s bare assertions?
In fact, several significant things have happened in the courtroom following the publication of Čivikov’s scathing critique of the Erdemović evidence… [P]rosecutors have obviously given a careful reading to Čivikov’s book (although they may not be keen to admit it) and they have restructured their evidence accordingly. In the Pelemiš and Perić case they have offered two protected witnesses who claimed that they were survivors of the Pilica massacre. They came prepped by the prosecution to try to avoid some of the more glaring incongruities of Erdemović’s testimony…
Accordingly, one of the alleged survivors has claimed that the Pilica mass execution did not, after all, last five hours, but six. The other gave a more expansive account of the proceedings, the gist of which was that the execution lasted until “nightfall.” And, as the prosecutor helpfully pointed out, we all know that nightfall in July comes very late in the evening, thus providing the killers with a few extra hours to complete their task. To make it still easier for them, the witnesses generously increased the size of prisoner batches from the 10 claimed by Erdemović to between 25 and 100, depending on which of the new witness’ narratives one chooses to credit.
The unraveling of the institutionalised Srebrenica narrative…bears note and careful watching. A story whose advocates are obliged to resort to witness tampering and intimidation may reasonably be suspected of resting on shaky foundations. And if its key elements must be adjusted as we go along to salvage its plausibility in light of previous criticisms, one wonders how much of it will still remain intact when the show is finally over.
All this is without even mentioning that tucked away in survivor Ahmo Husic’s otherwise standard account of the Pilica massacre is the detail that the victims “were taken to the execution site in seven busses which could seat ‘about 50 persons’ each…Seven multiplied by 50 gives a total of 350. That would have provided ample room in the busses to accommodate all the actually exhumed victims…but not nearly enough to transport the 1,200 claimed by Erdemovic,” concludes the Deconstruction monograph.
And all that is without mentioning the problem of forensics at the unaccountable, secretive ICTY and its affiliate courts, whose practices would cause the DNA-rich hair of any professional in the field to stand on end. To give just a sample from the monograph:
A number of reports which refer to Pilica exhumations in 1996 are perhaps the most telling practical illustration of the Tribunal’s professional culture…[T]he skeletons exhibit the presence of soft tissue to various degrees…no bodily injuries were found that could be linked to a bullet, dull objects, or any other cause…there were no blindfolds or ligatures associated with these remains…[I]t clearly follows that the cause of death is impossible to determine, and that is precisely what the forensic scientists stated in their autopsy report.
However, when they were obliged to state the manner of death, they nevertheless concluded that it was homicide…In simple language, fully cognizant that there were no signs of injury, without any material evidence pointing to homicide, and without being able to determine the cause of death, they nevertheless drew the conclusion that death must have been the result of a culpable act, murder….
Forensic specialists of the Hague Tribunal are perhaps the only professionals in their field in the entire world who do not depend on material evidence in order to determine the manner (and sometimes even the cause) of death…
As if to draw attention to these absurdities, it appears that a few months later someone took the trouble to review and correct these autopsy reports. In the “manner of death” rubric they wrote in the only response that could possibly be correct under the circumstances, i.e. that it was “unknown”…
After such a scandal, a proper court would surely have dismissed the prosecution’s frivolous team of “experts” and their conclusions would have been discarded. But instead the Hague Tribunal went on to construct its factual and legal findings precisely on such data of dubious integrity….
If we theorise that the unspoken but actual task of Tribunal investigators and other experts is not to follow the evidence wherever it leads but to doctor it up in order to create the public illusion that court judgments are factually supported, then many pieces of the puzzle come into place. That explains…the complete exclusion of independent experts during the exhumation process.
One last set of forensics nuggets from Deconstruction:
In the mass of defective autopsy reports, some indeed stand out because they literally defy common sense. In one such report, Tribunal forensic experts found a handkerchief in the victim’s pocket and they characterised it as a possible ligature…[which] would suggest that the person was executed. This is a stunning conclusion, and for the following reasons.
It is of particular interest that the handkerchief was found in the person’s pocket. That suggests that if it was indeed used as a ligature the soldiers who performed the execution must have first used it to tie the victim’s wrists and then, after the execution, removed it and placed it in the pocket of the executed person.
Such a procedure after execution is difficult to conceive and it is even more difficult to fathom how it occurred to anybody that it could have taken place…
In another example a knee injury is treated as a possible cause of death. The rationale is quite ingenious: It is stated that unless such injuries are treated medically, they can lead to hemorrhage and result in death.
In the case which is featured in Annex 5.11, the originally determined cause of death, said to be a calf injury, was crossed out by someone. The reviewing authority then wrote in its own assessment, as happened with numerous other Pilica reports, to the effect that the cause of death could not be determined. The corrector, of course, finally got it right because without more, a calf injury will scarcely be fatal…
In Annex 5.12 we have a case where Tribunal forensic specialists were faced with the sceletised remains of a leg without any apparent bone damage. The absence of bone trauma did not discourage Tribunal forensic experts from seriously drawing the following hypothetical scenario: a nearby bullet was said to have been the cause of death by damaging that individual’s soft tissue which, unfortunately, is unavailable for examination because it has disintegrated and is no longer attached to the bone.
It is a settled principle of forensic work that specialists in this branch do not have a mandate to engage in fanciful hypotheses and conclusions and that they must confine themselves strictly to noting observable facts…Where a handkerchief in the pocket is treated as a ligature, when the cause of death is determined without a single apparent injury, when imaginary conclusions are drawn about non-existent soft tissue which had disintegrated, or hemorrhaging knees, calves, and feet are speculated to have been the cause of death although in medicine these are still not known to be vital organs, it is difficult to avoid the impression that Tribunal forensic experts were operating with a mandate which was broader than merely reporting observed facts. Could it also have encompassed, on the implicit level at least, the prosaic task of providing professional cover for institutional conclusions that somehow had been formulated in advance?
Besides the issue of the legal characterisation of the crime [ “genocide”], the other central issue of Srebrenica, which is the subject of intense debate, is the number of victims. The answer which, oddly, seems to have been anticipated even before the actual events in July of 1995 is based on the expectation that there should be several thousand executed Moslems. A proper court would perform its task based not on expectations, but solely on the available evidence…What they have managed to produce are 3,658 autopsy reports which are presented to the court and to the public on the implicit premise that one report equals one body. That premise is false. An enormous number of these reports consist of only one or a few bones, often of a hand or foot, which may or may not exhibit any injuries, and in about 90% of them even Tribunal experts concede that cause of death is undeterminable.
In order to gain an accurate picture of the number of bodies those mass graves really contain, it was necessary to count femur bones. According to that analysis, the number of bodies is 1,923 for individuals who perished of a variety of causes, the principal ones being combat activity and execution. That is almost half as many as there are Tribunal autopsy reports (3,658), and it is over four times less than the figure (8,000) that has been sacralised over the last 15 years.
Finally, it should also be pointed out that in selecting its forensic specialists, the Office of the Prosecutor of the Hague Tribunal has made some very odd choices. A significant number were from the United States and Turkey, and many of the corrected reports that we have mentioned were prepared by Turkish specialists. That is a matter of some significance when it is considered that Serbian and independent specialists were not allowed access to the sites or any role whatsoever in these proceedings.
It would perhaps be legitimate to inquire why countries like…Finland, Sweden, France, and others which are arguably more advanced in medicine…did not receive an invitation to take part in these exhumations and in the critical task of preparing accurate and reliable autopsy reports.
Given that this judicial process at The Hague tribunal — and certainly an affiliate court in Sarajevo — is quite unrecognizable to anyone living in a democratic country, as a term of extradition Israel must require an Israeli observer to be present during the trial or an Israeli-appointed defender. (The Tribunal being composed of international judges and prosecutors, it should be hard to deny an international advocate.)
According to the first Haaretz article above, the Israeli Justice Ministry has already denied Mr. Cvetkovic the ability to “serve any eventual prison time in Israel, because the crimes he is accused of predate his immigration.” At the same time, according to the second Haaretz article, “The Jerusalem District Court conditioned his extradition on assurances by Sarajevo regarding incarceration standards there.”
Assurances by Sarajevo. It sounds like the title of a satire. District Court Judge Cohen tried to appear to care about Mr. Cvetkovic after sealing his fate, by stipulating some conditions for the Bosnian authorities before the handover could take place, including unfettered access to Cvetkovic by the Israeli consul in Bosnia, and a request that he be kept separate from other prisoners, with the judge acknowledging serious personal safety concerns for non-Muslim prisoners.
Keep him separate from the Muslim prisoners? But where would be the fun in that? Consider the cautionary tale of a Serb general in a British prison where there were Muslims, and ask how well Mr. Cvetkovic can expect to fare in a Bosnian jail. (One doesn’t even need to be branded “Serbianwarcriminal™” to suffer the following fate; in the Balkans and the world infected by it — that’s the rest of us — Serbs are considered war criminals by birth, and so there’s nothing objectionable about attacking one.)
What happened was that the Brits, in their eternally clueless callousness, tossed General Radislav Krstic — after his inevitable conviction at The Hague — into a prison which also housed sex offenders and murderers. The predictable result was described in the 2010 news reports below. Please note that these articles make all the standard efforts to preemptively strip the reader of any potential sympathy for the victim, who is introduced from the start as a monster who had whatever-you’re-about-to-read coming, a sort of poetic justice. Which is how all mistreatment of Serbs is received anyway, so the effort is redundant. But as we’ll see, General Krstic was guilty of little more than being a Serb officer in a war. Herewith, the macabre tale of Radislav Krstic, and a cautionary one for Israel in the matter of Alexander Cvetkovic. Emphasis added:
Hate figure: Radislav Krstic was [ruled] guilty of aiding genocide
A former Serb general convicted of Europe’s worst massacre since the Second World War[™] had his neck slashed open by three Muslim prisoners in a British jail yesterday.
Radislav Krstic, 62, serving a 35-year sentence for war crimes, was in a critical condition in hospital after the attack at top security Wakefield Prison.
The Serbs were the deadly enemies of Bosnian Muslims during the Yugoslav civil war in the 1990s. At least one of Krstic’s attackers is said to be a Bosnian Muslim. [There’s the instant absolution.]
The incident is a huge embarrassment to prison bosses because Krstic is regarded as one of Britain’s most sensitive and high-profile inmates. It is almost certain to be raised at diplomatic level and questions will be asked about how the suspects were able to attack him.
He was convicted for his part in the massacre of more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys who had been rounded up in the UN’s supposedly safe haven [sic: internationally protected Muslim military base] of Srebrenica in July 1995.
At the time he was one of the most powerful men in the Bosnian Serb army, second only to General Ratko Mladic….
He was arrested in a daring joint SAS and U.S. Navy SEAL snatch in Bosnia in December 1998.
In 2001 he became the first man to be convicted of genocide by the War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague and was sentenced to 46 years in prison. [Note: It was at Krstic’s 2001 trial that the term “genocide” was widened to include killing military personnel during war, essentially criminalizing war. And notice that the conflict which set a precedent to criminalize war was one in which infidels were responding to Muslim attacks.]
This was overturned on appeal and replaced by a 35-year sentence for aiding and abetting genocide.
Among Bosnian Muslims, Krstic, who is married with a daughter, remains a figure of hatred, with the families of many of his victims swearing revenge.
Retribution appears to have come when he was attacked in the maximum security area of Wakefield while in his cell — D320.
He was slashed using a homemade weapon - believed to be a razorblade embedded in a toothbrush.
Last night it emerged that one of his suspected assailants was serving life for the torture and murder of a girl in a suburban park in 2005.
He is [Albanian] Indrit Krasniqi, 22, of Chiswick, West London, convicted in 2006 of the gang murder of Mary-Ann Leneghan, 16, in Reading.
Krstic was found by prison officers on the floor in a pool of blood at 11am. One of the cuts narrowly missed a major artery. He had also been beaten around the head and body.
An insider said… ‘It was a well-planned and executed ambush. The view is that it was an act of revenge.’
Outraged officials in the city of Banja Luka, the centre of Bosnian Serb power, said last night that the ‘whole position’ of the War Crimes Tribunal would be further undermined if those convicted ‘couldn’t even [be] protected in a prison’. […]
So, as always, an attack on a Serb is a “revenge” attack, just as the mass slaughters of Serbs (and Roma) by Albanians in 1999 upon NATO’s entry into Kosovo were. (We were never told that that “revenge” was for daring to clamp down on decades of unchecked Albanian attacks not only on civilians but also on police and government officials.) As well, the Serbs continue to be portrayed as “powerful” strongmen, when their only power was having a better-led militia in a war that was imposed on them by an illegal fait accompli secession by terrorists and separatists empowered by the West which stepped in to make Serbs the underdogs. (Serbs are always presented as some sort of juggernaut, but Muslims had the biggest army in Bosnia and there was bitter, protracted fighting in both northern and eastern Bosnia before Serb forces eventually won out.)
Here was the AP’s version of the same, with the usual Srebrenica mythologizing dominating the article rather than the disturbing incident at the prison:
A Bosnian Serb war criminal serving time for his role in the 1995 massacre at Srebrenica was assaulted by fellow inmates Friday at a high-security prison in northern England, officials said.
Krstic was convicted of aiding and abetting the murder of up to 8,000 Muslims in the U.N.-protected enclave of Srebrenica by the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal in 2001.
The massacre occurred when Serb forces overwhelmed the town’s hopelessly outgunned Dutch protectors and rounded up its inhabitants. At a car battery factory on the edge of town, men and boys were separated from women and girls, then hauled away, forced to strip — and shot one by one. [This is the AP’s own fanciful insertion, most likely gleaned from a past article containing one of many uncorroborated — and often contradicted — atrocity yarns.] Their wives and children were deported [sic: saved by the Bosnian Serbs in cooperation with the UN after previous UN attempts were blocked by Sarajevo].
The slaughter was Europe’s worst civilian [sic: military] massacre since World War II[™]. Prosecutors said Krstic not only provided troops for the atrocity but also participated in meetings during which senior officers laid out their murderous plans. [Here the AP seems aware of plans that the Hague tribunal has admitted do not exist.]
His genocide conviction was the first in Europe since it became a crime under international law.
Krstic was transferred to Britain from The Hague in 2004. He is currently serving out a 35-year prison sentence at Wakefield, which houses around 700 prisoners, many of them serious sex offenders. […]
…Former General-Major Radislav Krstic, 62, was set on by three fellow inmates in what is thought to be a revenge attack for the massacre of 8,000 Bosnian Muslims. [A general is “fellow inmates” with rapists and child-killers. That’s the league that serving your country puts you in if you’re Serb.]
…Krstic’s throat was cut a number of times and he was stabbed in the head…A source said last night: “It was a vicious revenge attack.”
One of the jail attackers is said to be Croatian illegal immigrant Indrit Krasniqi, 22 [sic: he was later determined to be an Albanian from Kosovo]. He is serving life for the 2005 gang rape and murder of Mary-Ann Leneghan, 16, in Reading Berks.
Radislav Krstic the notorious Serbian Warlord was savagely attacked by three Muslim prisoners who slit open his throat in high security Wakefield Prison
The Serbs are despised by Bosnian Muslims and this attack will be a huge embarrassment to the British Authorities…. [In what universe does an attacked Serb embarrass any authority?]
Tensions between inmates will have been raised inside Wakefield Prison and attacks could escalate between Christians and Muslims. The three Muslims who gouged the throat open of Radislav Krstic in this murder attempt, will be targeted for revenge attacks. […]
So we have the anticipation of revenge attacks by Christians on Muslims, on behalf of a Serb general, which have yet to materialize two years since the incident. Rather, the update was as follows:
Five years after getting a life sentence for murdering a Reading schoolgirl, this week Indrit Krasniqi was handed an additional life term for brutally attacking a fellow inmate.
The trio were all already serving life sentences for murder when they were found guilty of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
They launched their attack on May 7 last year in retaliation for Krstic’s war crimes – exactly five years after Krasniqi stabbed teenager Mary Ann Leneghan to death in Prospect Park, Tilehurst, with five co-defendants.
Krasniqi, 23, was convicted with Iliyas Khalid, 24, and Quam Ogumbiyi, 29, at Leeds Crown Court and all three were sentenced this week.
Mr Justice Henriques said he would have liked to extend each defendant’s minimum term but the option was not available to him in law. However, he said the new convictions would affect their respective release dates because it was likely their first application to the Parole Board would fail.
He said: “This was a crime of exceptional gravity. You planned an attack upon a defenceless man with an artificial leg.
“You planned a revenge attack by way of retribution for war crimes carried out by Radislav Krstic in the 1990s.
“All three of you are practising Muslims. I have no doubt what you intended was an act of revenge for those war crimes.”
Krasniqi was handed a minimum term of 12 years, Khalid received 10 years and Ogumbiyi six years to run alongside their existing sentences.
They were cleared of attempted murder.
Born in Afghanistan, Krasniqi came to the UK as an orphaned Kosovan refugee aged just 14.
When he was 18 Krasniqi was one of six men convicted of murdering Mary Ann Leneghan, 16, and trying to kill her friend, who was 18 at the time, after a brutal ordeal of kidnap, torture and sexual abuse on May 7, 2005. The judge acknowledged that Krasniqi played a lesser but willing part.
After abuse in a motel room, the girls were taken to Prospect Park where Mary Ann suffered a fatal, frenzied knife attack. Her friend was shot at point blank range and left for dead. […]
So in the end, there wasn’t a Bosnian Muslim among the three who attacked Krstic, after all that strained effort to depict it as an “act of revenge.” An Albanian wouldn’t be avenging Srebrenica relatives. Still, rather than call the attack what it was — a familiar case of Muslims wanting to kill a Serb for fun — everyone was sticking at least to the tale of avenging fellow Muslims, as always lending a higher rationale to murder-by-Muslim.
The perpetrators were sentenced to what amounts to missing the first parole hearing. Meanwhile, it surprised no one that the government of Bosnia-Herzegovina didn’t lift a finger to demonstrate its professed commitment to a “multi-ethnic” Bosnia and “European values” by undertaking the same sort of diplomatic campaign on behalf of citizen Krstic’s safety that it was engaged in at the time on behalf of massacre suspectEjupGanic, whose extradition request by Serbia a UK court dutifully blocked — Turkey stepped in as well — and he got a hero’s welcome back to Bosnia. (Ganic “had been the person in charge of the Bosnian Government during the massacre of Serb officers who were leaving Sarajevo under UN safe passage,” Sir General Michael Rose wrote in his book Lessons from Bosnia, adding, “His oily charm and good English endeared him to the international media…As the person in charge of the Bosnian Army, Ganic was responsible for implementing the Government’s strategy designed to drag the US and NATO into the war on the side of Bosnia. He seemed to be interested neither in peace, nor in the continued suffering of the Bosnian people. Instead he fed the media the political concept of the ‘victim State.’ He once said that ultimately Muslims from Bosnia, Sanjak, Kosovo and Albania would form a single political entity. On one occasion he offered me what appeared to be a bribe, but when he saw the look of utter contempt in my eyes, he swiftly turned the offer into what seemed to be a veiled threat against my life.”)
Yet the one that the media pretend to fear while piling on him is Krstic. But who is this Serb “brute”? As always where Srebrenica is concerned, nothing is as it seems. If one considers not only Krstic’s fate in a jail among Muslims, but also the kind of “justice” that put him there, things don’t bode well for Mr. Cvetkovic. Understand that General Krstic was given 35 years not only for a crime that has yet to be demonstrated to have occurred and its nature determined, but for deaths of people whose bodies had yet to even be discovered at the time, much less examined for cause of death. Deconstruction again:
The last source of the legend of a mass execution is the conviction of Bosnian Serb General Radislav Krstic….According to the New York Times (August 3, 2001)… “Tribunal investigators have exhumed 2,028 bodies from mass graves in the region. An additional 2,500 bodies have been located.” This means that at the time of the verdict, the Tribunal had no evidence that the crime Gen. Krstic was convicted of — the summary execution of “more than 7,000 people” — had ever been committed…Gen. Krstic was initially sentenced to 46 years in prison, 4.6 times the sentence of Adolf Hitler’s successor, Admiral Karl Doenitz (10 yrs.), and 2.3 times the sentence of Albert Speer (20 yrs.), the Nazis’ head architect and war production chief.
We may set aside the obvious question: What entitles the chamber to venture such precise figures about the content of as yet unopened gravesites? But, more importantly, nine years have passed since then and there still is no trace of the 2,571 bodies of executed prisoners estimated by Tribunal experts, who are also quoted in the judgment as claiming that the total number of victims “detected” in the mass graves is 4,805. After a decade, and in spite of assiduous digging, there is no sign of these additional 4,805 bodies which, in order to support the chamber’s conclusion, must not only be discovered but also forensically demonstrated to be victims of Srebrenica-related execution and not of some other cause of death. [Note that Bosnian Muslims openly speak of soldiers from all over Bosnia, killed at various points during the three-year civil war, being excavated and moved to the Srebrenica memorial site. In previewing his defense in 2009, Radovan Karadzic added that “There are living people whose names are on the tombstones. In the  elections, there were people who voted who had been listed as missing and killed…There were people who fell victims in combat throughout the entire period, and people who died in 1992 or 1993 [who] were later on portrayed as victims of massacre in Srebrenica…there are many people living abroad who were listed as missing.”]
[T]he chamber treats as valid evidence the prognosis that in an additional 18 then-unexhumed mass graves, over 2,000 more bodies were going to be found. It strikes one as a very odd procedure to base factual and ultimately legal conclusions about the number of victims in a criminal case not on the actual situation established at the time judgment is rendered, as would befit a serious legal institution, but on what is termed an “estimate”.
(That among the “dead or missing” are people who were alive and well is apparent from this London Times article of Aug. 2, 1995: “Missing Enclave Troops Found — Thousands of the ‘missing’ Bosnian Muslim soldiers from Srebrenica who have been at the centre of reports of possible mass executions by the Serbs, are believed to be safe to the northeast of Tuzla. Monitoring the safe escape of Muslim soldiers and civilians from the captured enclaves of Srebrenica and Zepa has proved a nightmare….For the first time yesterday, however, the Red Cross in Geneva said it had heard from sources in Bosnia that up to 2,000 Bosnian Government troops were in an area north of Tuzla. They had made their way there from Srebrenica ‘without their families being informed’, a spokesman said, adding that it had not been possible to verify the reports because the Bosnian Government refused to allow the Red Cross into the area.”)
For making up for the drastic body shortage “by making a prognosis that several thousand additional bodies would be exhumed,” Mr. Karganovic added in an April 2011 email, “the judges should be called to account professionally.” The same might apply to the prosecutors. There was an open admission by prosecutor Hildegard Uertz-Retzlaff in the Karadzic case, Karganovic continued, “that critical evidence was being submitted unseen and unexamined by the prosecutor and, of course, that it was expected of the chamber to ‘accept’ it and ‘rule’ on it on the same basis. In the US the prosecutor would be held accountable professionally if he attempted something like that.” (One notes that many ICTY prosecutors are in fact American and therefore can be disbarred.)
I’d previously blamed British cluelessness for the thoughtless placement of Krstic among a general prison population. But on the other hand, one has to wonder whether — in light of the mysterious deaths of at leasttwo high-profile Serb leaders at The Hague — it wasn’t thoughtless at all to give such a prisoner so little protection. As American author and human rights activist Diana Johnstone put it at the time, “It is outrageous to incarcerate what amounts to a political prisoner in a high security prison for the worst of common criminals…a man advertised as having committed ‘genocide against Muslims’ in a prison in a heavily Muslim region of England…”
So one must consider that leaving Krstic to the mercies of a general prison population — and thereby a potential “incidental” death — would provide useful cover for the international officialdom that would be served by his death. After all, the entire “genocide” claim rests on the Erdemovic testimony and the Krstic verdict, and “were the Krstic case to be re-examined,” blogger Malic wrote soon after the attack, “the ‘judicial fact’ supposedly created by his conviction could be shown for the fraud that it is.” Malic’s assessment was seconded by American expatriate writer George Pumphrey, in a general email that May: “Krstic may be [in danger] because more are beginning to look into his conviction. The Krstic trial was necessary to establish a ‘genocide’ precedent before Milosevic [started his trial]. Now Krstic too is dispensable…”
Johnstone, who in a letter to Justice Ministry Lord High Chancellor Kenneth Clarke demanded an official inquiry into the incident and an “end to the indifference of governments, human rights organizations and media to the fate of prisoners of ad hoc criminal tribunals, often exaggeratedly stigmatized by the media and without the protection afforded by judicial process in normal national courts,” explained the extended usefulness of the Srebrenica myth that doubles the need to safeguard it: “The gap between [Krstic’s] role in the alleged ‘genocide’ and the punishment meted out to him is particularly extreme. His trumped-up conviction…was motivated by the need to label the Srebrenica massacre ‘genocide’ in order to [also] justify the illegal NATO bombardment of Yugoslavia three years later — on grounds that it was necessary to ‘prevent another genocide.’”
Not two months before the attack on Krstic, Malic reminded us that:
Gen. Krstic, the first Serb officer convicted as “accessory to genocide” was nowhere near Srebrenica, having taken command on July 20, 1995 (five days after the town was taken). Momir Nikolic, another valuable witness for the prosecution [mentioned earlier], admitted to perjury — but his testimonies were kept! [T]he ICTY itself admitted that the actual facts of the case remain unknown, but the judges nonetheless believe some 8,000 men were killed. In a true court of law, it doesn’t matter what one believes…
(As a footnote on Nikolic-on-Krstic, the 2005 Defense & Foreign Affairs analysis cited previously and written by documentary filmmaker George Bogdanich, reads: “The trial of General Radislav Krstic demonstrated that faced with years of prison, Serbs were equally capable as their Muslim counterparts of providing false testimony used to prop up the official version of events at Srebrenica…Nikolic claimed that he had supervised the massacre of more than a thousand Bosnian Muslims at a warehouse in Kravica, but under cross examination, by defense lawyer Michael Karnavas, Nikolic admitted that he not only didn’t give the order; he wasn’t even present. ‘You needed to give him [the prosecutor] something he did not have, right?’ said defense attorney Michael Karnavas. ‘You wanted to limit your time of imprisonment to 20 years, that was part of the arrangement, yes? Quid pro quo?’ ‘I did not tell the truth when I said that,’ Nikolic admitted. ‘I lied.’” Krstic himself would likewise pass the massacre buck to Mladic.)
The only trouble with Krstic being painted as some genocidal maniac is that he didn’t actually do anything. He wasn’t even in command of the Bosnian Serb force that took Srebrenica on July 11, 1995; he became commander of the Drina Corps only two days later, and led the attack on the other Muslim enclave in the region, Zepa, which fell on August 1 [and where POWs weren’t killed but exchanged.]
Even a cursory examination of the actual verdict, both the original (2001) and the appeals (2004), reveals that Krstic was actually convicted of being a Bosnian Serb general at the time a massacre at Srebrenica is alleged to have happened. That is all. He was charged as a member of the “joint criminal enterprise” — an asserted [and later withdrawn], but never proven or documented, all-encompassing conspiracy to create a phantom “GreaterSerbia.” So, just by being a Bosnian Serb general, Krstic was guilty by default. And this, in turn, was described as “proof” that the actual conspiracy existed! Circular logic, yes, but par for the course at the Tribunal.
What makes the Krstic trial particularly sinister is that it wasn’t about the one-legged Serb general at all. He was merely a tool for the Prosecutors to push through a ruling that a “genocide” happened in Srebrenica. His defense, predictably, chose to disavow his role in anything that may have happened, without actually pressing the prosecutors to prove any of their claims. But since Krstic was guilty of simply existing, he was convicted — and the prosecution’s unproven allegations accepted as facts! To say that ICTY had to severely stretch the definition of the term “genocide” to make it fit what happened in Srebrenica is a colossal understatement.
A basic rule of jurisprudence dating back to Roman times is that there can be no crime without intent. But where is the intent in Srebrenica? The Tribunal has found precisely none…The final curiosity about the Srebrenica “genocide” is that it has no culprit. Namely, Gen. Krstic and Col. Vidoje Blagojevic were both initially convicted of it, but the ICTY itself later overturned both verdicts. Krstic was eventually blamed for “aiding and abetting,” while Blagojevic’s verdict was changed to mass murder. No one — not a single person — has so far been rightfully convicted of actually committing “genocide” in Srebrenica. […]
In his analysis of the 2004 Krstic appeals judgment, Andy Wilcoxson wrote:
Because nobody bothered to contest that these sorts of killings had happened in the first place, the tribunal was able to use Krstic’s contact with Mladic to build a circumstantial case that took the line of “Mladic committed this crime. Krstic was in frequent contact with Mladic, therefore Krstic must have been involved too.” In paragraph 135 of the appeal’s judgement the tribunal admits that, “there was no evidence that the Drina Corps devised or instigated any of the [uncontested] atrocities.” In fact the judgement even says in paragraph 132 that Krstic took steps to ensure the safety of Bosnian Muslim civilians and that he issued orders that they should be protected.
…Not even the tribunal could conceal the fact that it had convicted an innocent man. In paragraph 239 of the judgement they admit that: “Radislav Krstic and the Drina Corps under his command did not personally commit any crimes against the Bosnian Muslim civilians, other than assist in the organisation of the forcible transfer [sic]…Furthermore, the Trial Chamber accepted that the transfer of the Bosnian Muslim civilians organised by the Drina Corps was a disciplined and orderly operation, and that Krstic specifically ordered that no harm was to befall the Bosnian Muslim civilians being transferred forcibly. [sic.]”
Yes, the women and children whom the 28th Bosnian Army Division abandoned at Potocari (near Srebrenica) by order of Sarajevo “were safely evacuated by Bosnian Serb troops, using trucks and buses hastily requisitioned from Serb civilians,” Malic wrote. “What kind of “genocide” leaves the women and children alive?” He was reiterating his 2005 piece “Troubles Yet to Come,” which read, “The fact that [the Serbs] gave safe passage, food, and water to the women and children left behind — hardly a hallmark of “genocide” — is ignored.”
And from Deconstruction (links added):
1. The existence of such [genocidal] intent is inconsistent with the transfer of about 20,000 women, children, and elderly, by the Serbian forces to safety in territory under Moslem army control.
2. On July 16th, 1995, VRS [Army of the Bosnian-Serb Republic] opened a corridor to allow passage for the retreating Srebrenica column instead of using all its available assets in an attempt to annihilate it….
3. The testimony of Dutchbat doctor A. A. Schouten, who was present in Srebrenica and nearby Bratunac for several days following the takeover, denies seeing anything that would support the suspicion that large numbers of Moslem men were being taken away for execution.
4. In the debriefingof three UN military observers, taken on July 24, 1995, it is also denied that in the aftermath of the takeover any evidence or reports of mass killing of military-age men had been brought to them.
It goes almost without saying that to get Krstic convicted, the forensics had to be cooked once more. Again, Deconstruction gives us a sampling:
[A]lthough victims with blindfolds overlap to a large extent with those with ligatures (442 in total), they are presented in the Krstic judgment as separate categories, apparently in an attempt to almost double the number of victims who were incontestably executed; also in Krstic there is no analysis to distinguish and set aside apparent victims of artillery ammunition or mine fragments, who could not possibly have been executed; prosecution forensic reports show also the presence of complete bodies with various amounts of soft tissue and no perceptible injuries, suggesting that some residents of the enclave died of natural causes rather than execution, but no proper account is taken of that; in Krstic, the number of bodies in the mass graves is put at 2,028, when in fact forensic evidence after a few more years of exhumation activity supports the presence of at most 1,919, including all causes of death….[A] number of bodies were exhumed in primary graves in 1996 which exhibited only skeletons, without any soft tissue, which virtually excludes that they could have been execution victims only a year earlier, since the decomposition process takes several years.
On the 16th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre this year ICMP claimed that it has “closed 5,564 cases of Srebrenica victims” and that “only about 1,500 remain to be resolved.” [But]…no exhaustive and transparent analysis of DNA evidence has ever been conducted.
For instance, DNA evidence was offered in the most recent ICTY case Popović et al., but in closed session…The Tribunal’s rationale for such extraordinary restrictiveness was that public insight into this data would constitute a “callous” act which might injure the dignity of the victims and could even inflict great pain on their surviving relatives. The feelings and interests of persons and whole communities who…might have to be burdened by decades of prison time or carry the stigma of the heinous crime of genocide apparently did not greatly concern the chamber. Each and every request to ICMP by private parties facing serious accusations or research organisations to be allowed access to DNA samples for the purpose of independent verification is invariably met by the same polite response: that it is a potential violation of privacy and is therefore impossible without the signed consent of the victim’s relatives in every single case. So far nobody has ever obtained such written consent.
…[N]ot even the Office of the Prosecutor has properly examined the DNA evidence generated by ICMP, which it has nevertheless been happy to offer to the chamber as the material basis for the conclusion that in Srebrenica a crime of genocidal magnitude has been committed…
The degree of indulgence that the Hague Tribunal has shown to ICMP is truly phenomenal. In the course of the Popović trial it was disclosed that until October of 2007 ICMP was operating without professional certification from the international agency which approves DNA laboratories, Gednap. That fact was freely admitted by ICMP’s director of forensic studies, Thomas Parsons, under cross examination.
However, even then, while testifying under oath, ICMP’s witness did not state the whole truth. Our NGO “Srebrenica Historical Project” on July 20, 2010, sent an inquiry to Professor Bernd Brinkman, chairman of GEDNAP at that time, seeking information whether his organisation had issued a professional license to ICMP and whether ICMP was officially registered to perform laboratory DNA testing. Professor Brinkman’s reply was as follows:
“We do not have the ICMP Tuzla laboratory on our list of GEDNAP participants. That means that the Tuzla laboratory is unknown to the organizers of GEDNAP Proficiency Tests.”
…[T]he thousands of alleged DNA matches which ICMP tirelessly invokes in its public relations stunts and in courtrooms…the basis for verdicts establishing mass executions of genocidal proportions — is in fact taking place in ICMP’s inpenetrable Tuzla laboratories…[a] facility [that] was never visited by international inspectors nor was the validity of its work ever professionally reviewed. Most importantly, it never received a professional certificate entitling it to engage in the work it is doing….
According to London “Financial Times” 93% of ICMP personnel are Bosnian Moslems. To complete the picture, ICMP chairman is Thomas Miller, former US ambassador in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the director Kathryn Bomberger is also from the US, and her assistant Adam Boys is from the United Kingdom. When will the other Bosnia-Herzegovina ethnic communities get their one third representation on the staff of ICMP? When will the representatives of other countries within the international community, about 190 in all, obtain an opportunity to take part in the work of the International commission for missing persons on the executive level? Why couldn’t the chairman be from Argentina, the director from Ethiopia, and her assistant from India?
ICMP’s reports, like a medieval dogma, must be accepted on faith. Further, explains Mr. Karganovic, “Identification and reassociation are different. Reassociation means taking scattered skeletal fragments, comparing their DNA, and putting all bones which belong to one individual in a single pile. By ‘identification’ they mean using DNA evidence to determine the name of the victim. In this case they do it by comparing the exhumed DNA to thousands of relative samples, and if they come up with a genetic link to Stefan, then they say it is Joe, Stefan’s missing relative.
“One can readily see the opportunities for abuse here. If no one can obtain Stefan’s and Joe’s DNA samples and confirm that they are related, the relationship has to be taken on faith. Since there is no possibility for verification, they can produce as many execution victims as they need to fill their quota.”
What’s more, “the farther the distance between [victim and relative], the less reliable the linkage, even when everything is done without any politics…Thus, if the Srebrenica identification project were being conducted honestly, DNA would be used primarily for reassociation of body parts, not the “identification” mumbo-jumbo. But the number of bodies of “victims” would shrink disastrously. It is more convenient to use disarticulated body fragments and proclaim that each represents a separate individual. That way you can produce several victims using the same skeleton.”
Commenting on this judicial dystopia that has become reality, in August 2009 Andy Wilcoxson wrote, “It’s a little bit shocking that the Tribunal relies on the ICMP’s findings to substantiate allegations as grave as genocide when they haven’t even seen the evidence — let alone tested its quality or reliability.” More recently, Wilcoxson contributed a section to the Srebrenica Historical Project’s Deconstruction ( “Srebrenica: The Quest for Clarity”) which read:
The role played by the ICMP is limited to determining the identity of human remains through DNA analysis, and recording the location where the remains were found…It does not make any determination about the cause of death, the circumstances of the death, the military status of the deceased, the deceased’s connection to Srebrenica or the motives of the people responsible. The UN Tribunal and the Bosnian Government are the ones who draw all of the important conclusions. The UN Tribunal abuses the ICMP’s work for political purposes…The judges either don’t understand that you can’t tell how someone died from their DNA; otherwise, they are lying…What kind of court writes an opinion that says every corpse that gets found in a war zone, along with any subsequent corpses that may be found later, belongs to an individual who was captured and executed? Their credibility is zero, and so is the credibility of anyone who would treat the Tribunal’s findings as credible…
New York Press contributor George Szmuely lamented in an email that “the United States, the most ardent foe of the ICC [International Criminal Court], not to mention the World Court, is also the strongest and most munificent backer of these ad hoc tribunals.” (As an American opponent of such Orwelllian, one-world institutions myself, I find it an astounding and self-dooming hypocrisy that the U.S. would utilize these structures as a punishment tool to keep other countries in line. In counterproductive line, no less, as our ends in the Balkans are proving self-destructive.)
ICMP is making great efforts to nurture the official profile of an independent and non-political organisation devoted to the noble purpose of assisting surviving relatives to find out what happened to their loved ones….However, ICMP’s autonomy is quite questionable. The organisation itself was set up in 1996 at the G–7 summit in Lyon, France, on the initiative of the American president Clinton. The list of its chairmen reads like an excerpt from the Who’s Who of the American establishment. The first chairman was former secretary of state Cyrus Vance from 1996 to 1997. Between 1997 and 2001 the position was occupied by Senator Bob Dole. The current chairman [appointed by the U.S. secretary of state], James V. Kimsey…was previously a director of America Online. [Update: In 2011 he was succeeded by U.S. former ambassador to Bosnia, Thomas Miller.]
…The government which apparently played an influential role in Kimsey’s appointment is also very keenly interested in promoting a specific version of the contested Srebrenica narrative [over which it waged war and set policy]…It also appears that ICMP does not render an account to any scientific or judicial body which might in any way be related to its official mission. [Furthermore,] as was pointed out by the American political analyst, George Pumphrey, “…Many of their reports are so ambiguously worded that even if someone would attempt to verify their announcements, it would be impossible, because one is not sure if they are speaking of whole corpses or of pieces of corpses.
ICMP was not disqualified for its steadfast refusal to permit its results to be independently tested and for operating for years without proper professional credentials. In one of the most bizarre segments of the Popovic judgment, ICMP was practically acclaimed for its persistence in circumventing accountability under applicable professional standards.
…Based on unseen DNA evidence, which was transmitted to it by the prosecution and which originated with the ICMP, the Popovic chamber solemnly drew the awkward conclusion that “5,336 identified individuals were killed in executions following the fall of Srebrenica.” …As any secondary school biology student could have informed the chamber, the maximum that DNA matching can possibly do is identify mortal remains. It has nothing whatsoever to say about the place or manner of death. That information is derived exclusively from other sources, including classical forensic procedures and whatever data that might yield.
…[Also,] it should be noted that a list with the names and surnames of the supposedly identified 5,336 victims has not been published, nor is it appended to the chamber’s judgment. The trial record does not contain an indication that such a list exists or that it was ever even tendered into evidence so that it might have been seen by the chamber at any point during the trial. So the logical questions must be asked. On what basis did the chamber draw its conclusions about the identifications to which it refers? Equally important, what kind of “identification” process is it if personal names are not disclosed?
Discrepancies have also been found between the ICMP’s findings and the original military records of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The ICMP claims to have found the mortal remains of at least 140 soldiers in Srebrenica-related mass graves whose original military records listed them as having been killed months, and in many cases years, before Srebrenica fell. The Bosnian government has resolved these discrepancies by disavowing the accuracy of their original military records and amending them to match the ICMP’s findings.
Imagine for a moment that the shoe were on the other foot. Imagine if somebody like former Russian President Vladimir Putin took the initiative to establish an NGO to investigate allegations of atrocities committed by an ally of the United States against an ally of Russia during a war where the Russians attacked the same American allies they sought to investigate. Now imagine that the chairmen of this NGO were all somehow connected to the Russian Foreign Ministry.
In addition, let’s suppose this NGO publishes findings claiming the American allies had massacred — let’s say 6,598 people, and that they were able to conclusively prove this through DNA analysis in a lab that didn’t have professional accreditation when most of the DNA identifications were made.
Now let’s suppose that American scientists ask to see the underlying DNA evidence upon which the Russian NGO’s findings are based so that they can test it for themselves and verify the findings, but the Russians refuse to cooperate on the pretext that doing so would be unduly burdensome and a violation of the privacy rights of the victims and their families.
If that happened, would anyone in the West believe the Russian NGO’s findings? …And if the Russians tried to use those findings as evidence in a criminal prosecution of the political leadership of the accused American allies, they’d be accused of staging a political show trial – and rightly so.
And still the list of the Tribunal’s abnormalities isn’t finished. Consider the uncorroborated testimonies which, as was done by our “journalists” in the 90s, are taken at face value. It becomes even more fun when one uncorroborated yarn is contradicted by another. From the previously cited June 2005 Defense & Foreign Affairsarticle:
But other reports of massacres came from a handful of individuals close to [Bosnian-Muslim commander in Srebrenica] Naser Oric, including his cousin, Mevludin Oric, whose claims to being eyewitnesses to such events, were repeatedly undermined by contradictory accounts given to different reporters. One witness, Smail Hodzic, told Alexandra Stiglmayer of Die Woche that he had been captured and taken to “a basketball stadium near Bratuanac” and taken to “a large field not far from a forest”. Hodzic, however told another reporter Roy Gutman, that he had been held in a soccer stadium in Nova Kasaba, but then, he and others were moved to be killed, “probably in a town called Grbavce”. In a third interview with Aida Cerkez of the Associated Press, Hodzic now claimed that he went through the same experience as Mevludin Oric, this time being held in “a school in Krizevci”, before being taken for execution not far from Karakaj.
Several of these alleged eyewitnesses told reporter Louise Branson of The Sunday Times and Robert Block of The Independent contradictory stories, that thousands were executed, either at a school in one version, or at a nearby sports complex. Human Rights Watch, which acknowledged it had not been able to trace survivors of such crimes, called for “more detailed investigations.” However, Dutch UN officer Captain Shouten, who was the only UN officer in Bratunac during the period when this bloodbath was alleged, told the Dutch newspaper Het Parool on July 27:
“Everybody is parroting everybody, but nobody shows hard evidence. I notice that in the Netherlands people want to prove at all costs that genocide has been committed…The day after the collapse of Srebrenica, July 13, I arrived in Bratunac and stayed there for eight days. I was able to go wherever I wanted to. I was granted all possible assistance; nowhere was I stopped.”
In Deconstruction, Karganovic notes, “Those who had taken the trouble to read the judgment in the Krstic case will have noted the abundance of fantastic details provided by prosecution witnesses who seem to have been well coached….The Krstic chamber uncritically accepted their statements — see, for instance, paragraphs 43 and 44 of the trial judgment — and uses them as building blocks for its further factual and legal findings. The difference between those bombastic stories and the professional report of foreign observers…is drastic.”
“We probably will never know the truth about Srebrenica,” Wilcoxson concludes in his section “Quest for Clarity.” “It is clear that something awful happened there. A crime was committed, but the scale of that crime is completely unknown because the people doing the investigation cannot be trusted…The Tribunal is an institution where Naser Oric can murder Serbs, boast about it to reporters while showing them video proof of what he did, and the Hague Tribunal acquits him….But Radislav Krstic, who never personally committed a crime and who never ordered anyone else to commit a crime, is convicted of aiding and abetting genocide and he is sent off to prison for what will likely be the rest of his life, presumably because he is the cartoon character representing the “bad guys.”
On this point, Wilcoxson separately added in an email:
[In the Kravica massacre] there was horrific mutilation of the victims’ bodies…The prosecution didn’t charge Oric for the massacre, all they accused him of was destroying property and they didn’t convict him because they made no attempt to prove how the buildings in Kravica were destroyed. I remember during the Milosevic trial they had structural engineers looking at photographs and videotape of destroyed buildings in Kosovo to determine whether they had been destroyed by artillery fire, bombed by aircraft, or set on fire by people on the ground. The Tribunal didn’t bother doing any of that for Kravica because they obviously didn’t want to convict Oric. The whole point of the Oric trial was to whitewash his crimes, exonerate him and his bosses in Sarajevo, and deny justice to the Serb victims.
Thus, in addition to fudged and fabricated forensics, we also have selective forensics. Oric’s crimes are thoroughly documented; he openly boasted about them and showed Serb-killing videotapes to two Western journalists (John Pomfret of Washington Post and Bill Schiller of Toronto Star).
(Warning: Graphic images of the handiwork by Oric, other Bosnian Muslims, and mujahedeen in Bosnia appear at this site. Bigger Warning: The site is socialist.)
“Quest for Clarity” continues:
If Hague prosecutors were making a good faith effort to bring Oric to justice for his crimes, you’d think they’d call Pomfret and Schiller to the stand…You’d expect them to tender the articles Pomfret and Schiller wrote about their dealings with Oric into evidence during the trial, but they didn’t even do that. As far as the Prosecution was concerned, Oric’s boasts about his crimes never happened. During his testimony at the Tribunal, the former commander of the UN Protection Force in Bosnia, Gen. Philippe Morillon described his dealings with Oric. He testified that Oric was “a warlord who reigned by terror in his area [Srebrenica] and over the population itself” and that Oric and his men, “engaged in attacks during Orthodox holidays and destroyed villages, massacring all the inhabitants.”
One would think the Prosecution would have called Morillon to testify against Oric. Gen. Morillon personally dealt with Oric, he had knowledge of his crimes, and he was a senior UN official. It’s hard to imagine a more perfect witness for the prosecution.
Oric is but one example of The Hague’s selective justice. Former Kosovo “prime minister” RamushHaradinaj — who was accused of, among other things, ordering the murders of 40 Serbs as a KLA commander including at least six whom he killed with his own hands — was released by the ICTY for “lack of evidence” after two key witnesses were killed and others refused to testify. (His subsequent re-arrest in 2010 was a good way for the utterly appalling ICTY to claim objectivity and balance — that is, re-try a blatant killer who was initially released becausewitnesses were literally dropping out, in order to make it all right to convict not-necessarily-guilty men.)
As of August 2007, at the Bosnia court where Mr. Cvetkovic is to be tried, 170 of the 180 war crimes verdicts were against Serbs, with zero against Bosnian Muslims. At the time, it had been a year since criminal proceedings were launched against Bosnian Muslim wartime commander Atif Dudakovic, with no charges filed. As with Oric, there were witnesses and video footage of Dudakovic commanding operations where war crimes were committed.
“The truth is ugly,” Wilcoxson concluded in an article last July. “The Serbs executed enemy POWs in violation of the Geneva Conventions, the Muslims deliberately goaded them into it for propaganda purposes, the U.N. allowed all of it to happen even though they had the means to stop it, NATO got conned into being the Muslim air force, and Western governments and news media lied about the whole thing. The end result of all of it is that thousands of people died needlessly.
“…Krstic did not participate in, order, or even know the massacre was happening. In fact, Krstic specifically ordered that no harm was to befall the Bosnian Muslim civilians. The Tribunal ruled that ‘It was unnecessary for the Trial Chamber to conclude that Radislav Krstic was actually aware that those other criminal acts were being committed; it was sufficient that their occurrence was foreseeable to him and that those other crimes did in fact occur.’
“The Srebrenica massacre was foreseeable to the Bosnian-Muslim authorities and to the U.N. as well. They too had the ability and the obligation to prevent the massacre, and they didn’t do it either…One also has to wonder whether a conflict of interest arises when a UN Tribunal conducts the investigations, makes factual findings, and determines criminal liability with regard to events where the UN was as deeply involved as it was in Srebrenica.”
In his “Quest for Clarity,” Wilcoxson added:
Because the UN and the Bosnian Government are directly culpable for what happened in Srebrenica, common sense holds that they would want to re-direct as much blame as possible onto the Serbs. The Bosnian Government launched military attacks from the enclave and the UN did absolutely nothing to stop them, even though Srebrenica had been declared a UN Safe Area and was supposed to be demilitarized. Broadly speaking the UN condoned the Muslim attacks, and the Muslim regime goaded the VRS into attacking the enclave, and then did nothing to defend it, even though they had the materiel, the man power, and the obligation to do so. They abandoned the soldiers in Srebrenica who then tried to escape across Bosnian-Serb territory to Tuzla. Now the UN Tribunal in The Hague and the Bosnian Government are precisely the people running the investigation.
Ninety percent of the massacre victims were military-aged men, 70% of whose service records were found and examined by Hague researchers. The mass graves, meanwhile, contain also soldiers who were confirmed killed in combat throughout the 1992-95 civil war, and the ICTY itself declared the escaping Srebrenica column from Oric’s 28th Division a legitimate military target. Armies are not protected groups under the Genocide Convention, so all the shock photos of decomposing corpses and all the ICMP identifications (which one can have for any war) go nowhere vis-a-vis genocide, as Wilcoxson outlined in 2010:
…History is loaded with examples of military campaigns with much higher military and civilian death tolls than anything seen in Srebrenica, where nobody alleges genocide (Operation Meetinghouse, the Tet Offensive, the Allied bombing of Dresden, etc…).
When evaluating the allegation of genocide in Srebrenica one must determine whether the Bosnian Serb forces intended to destroy the Bosnian Muslim ethno-religious group as such, or whether their intent was to wipe out enemy resistance in the region. It’s a simple matter…
According to the Tribunal, “the Trial Chamber treated the killing of the men of military age as evidence from which to infer that Radislav Krstic and some members of the VRS [Bosnian Serb Army] Main Staff had the requisite intent to destroy all the Bosnian Muslims of Srebrenica.”
The Tribunal’s finding of genocide in Srebrenica isn’t based on hard evidence of a genocidal Serbian plan….[but] on an inference they drew from the killing of military aged men in a war zone, most of whom were members of the military as evidenced by their military records.
If one uses the definition of “genocide” concocted by the Tribunal for Srebrenica one could argue that genocide is a feature of practically every military conflict…They entered a finding of genocide because that was the finding they wanted to make, not because it was where the evidence led them.
The victims of the Srebrenica massacre fall into three categories: people who were captured and executed, belligerents who were killed in combat, and non-combatants who got caught in the cross-fire. We don’t know how many victims fall into each category because a proper post-mortem forensic examination has not been done for the vast majority of victims.
By affixing the “genocide” label to Srebrenica the Tribunal has undermined the will to do any further investigation into the cause of death of the bodies still being exhumed…
If the massacre victims were targeted because of their real or suspected membership in the Army of Bosnia Herzegovina then the massacre, although still a war crime, wasn’t an act of genocide because the target was the military force, and not the Bosnian-Muslim ethnic group itself. [See 1948 Genocide Convention definition.]
[A]ll of the men between the ages of 16 and 60 in Srebrenica had been drafted…Even the Prosecution’s own experts have testified that “military combatants or potential military combatants” were the intended target of the massacre.
Upon entering Srebrenica, the Bosnian-Serb forces did not massacre the Bosnian-Muslim women, children, or the elderly who came under their control. On the contrary, they arranged for them to be sent to safety in Muslim held territory. The Popovic trial chamber noted that “the Bosnian Muslim women, children, and the elderly were transported out of [the nearby UN base at] Potocari on buses and trucks, to ABiH-held territory near Kladanj. Each convoy was escorted by [Bosnian-Serb] Bratunac Brigade Military Police….”
…There are no other instances of genocide where the perpetrators spared the women and children…The Krstic defense argued before the ICTY Appeals chamber that the genocide convictions should be thrown out because “the record contains no statements by members of the VRS Main Staff indicating…genocidal intent to destroy the Bosnian Muslims of Srebrenica.” Incredibly, the Appeals Chamber dismissed that argument on the grounds that “…Where direct evidence of genocidal intent is absent, the intent may still be inferred from the factual circumstances of the crime.”
The factual circumstances of the crime are that the executions targeted actual and potential combatants from a single town during an ongoing war….
The Krstic judgment arbitrarily introduced a new target class to qualify as genocide: “In par. 501 of the Krstić trial judgment,” Karganovic cites, “the number of executed victims can be ‘limited’ without affecting the conclusion of genocide. [Serb] units did not have to execute all military-age Bosnian Muslim males, or even all who happened to be in their custody, for the finding of genocide to be sustained.”
The absurdity of this ad-libbed justice was drawn out in another Wilcoxson email (link added):
We executed members of the Nazi SS during the Second World War. When the SS surrendered to American troops at the Dachau death camp we lined them up against the wall and shot all of them…But in “ICTY-land” they could say that because most of the SS men were Germans that we must have been targeting the German men of Dachau for destruction, therefore we committed genocide against the Germans…
What happened at Srebrenica isn’t the same thing as Hitler rounding up every Jewish man, woman, and child he could get his hands on and having them systematically slaughtered in extermination camps…
Indeed, unlike in WWII Poland and Estonia, for example, where the Germans killed more than 90% of Jewish men, women and children, in Srebrenica more than 80% of the Bosnian-Muslim population survived the fall of the town, and the vast majority who lost their lives were soldiers. But the Srebrenica ‘genocide’ is the cause célèbre that justifies everything NATO did and continues to do in the Balkans. It was all rather cheerily admitted-slash-boasted in 1999 by then NATO spokesman Jamie Shea when he said that there would be no Hague Tribunal without NATO, and that NATO and the Hague Tribunal are “allies and friends.”
In sum, from Deconstruction:
[T]he chambers’ conclusions in these trials with respect to genocide do not satisfy basic international law criteria….The verdicts of political ad hoc tribunals can never replace a thorough and professional legal analysis…[C]onstructs erected on such shaky foundations are by their nature ephemeral and cannot outlast the political conditions which brought them about and the availability of external resources which are required to prop them up.
Our position is simple and it is irreproachably reasonable. Srebrenica must be treated like any other criminal investigation. The reason why fifteen years after Srebrenica we still do not have a reliable idea of what happened and about the scope and nature of that crime is precisely because professional criteria were never applied in the investigation. Instead, Srebrenica serves only as a subject of political blackmail and exploitation.
The desperation and hysteria of the opposite side are understandable if account is taken of the fact that they have had an untroubled decade and a half to spout their slander and pass off their fabrications as established facts under the protective umbrella of powerful foreign sponsors.
For [the entrenched theses] to survive, their advocates must seek to an ever increasing extent the support of various political and administrative structures. Examples of such palpably unacademic behaviour are demands for the adoption of political resolutions which sacralise the dogmatic version of Srebrenica events and impose it as the only correct one, persistent attempts to criminalise the public expression of doubt in the official account and — finally — as an extraordinary sign of desperation, resorting to criminal complaints in order to silence, intimidate, and financially ruin skeptics. The old adage that the truth should be self-sufficient and not be made a ward of the coercive apparatus of the state in order to prevail, in this context becomes particularly significant. The protagonists of the official version of Srebrenica events act as if they themselves were unsure of the sustainability of their “truth”….
As an example, when Swedish TV in November broadcast the film “Srebrenica: A Town Betrayed,” the ICTY’s Muslim spokeswoman Nerma Jelacic wrote a plaintive letter to the station’s chief executive, “containing a number of demands and criticisms.” It was essentially “an outrageous attempt by a judicial institution to interfere with the right of media to decide what it will or will not show,” assessed Mr. Karganovic. This move reflects “ICTY’s desperation for the results of its staged trials to be given [weight]…and for the massive evidence of defects that infect its flawed judgments to be concealed and suppressed.” Throughout the letter, she in fact mis-cited the court’s own findings.
According to Karganovic, Srebrenica cultists have gone so far as to condemn calls for professional and detailed autopsy reports — that is, traditional forensics — “as an obstruction and a failure, because it [won’t] produce anywhere near the hoped for 8,000 corpses.”
Most recently, in its June 29th issue, the Belgrade weekly Pechat (also available in Bosnia) included a gift copy of Srebrenica Historical Project’s new volume of critical essays Srebrenica: Falsifying History, but Bosnia-Herzegovina’s media-monitoring agency banned the book and threatened the Bosnian distributor with canceling his license if he tried to import it. Instead, ten days from now Western leaders everywhere will bow their heads in mandatory commemoration of the Srebrenica “genocide.” (No sooner did the EU pass a Srebrenica resolution in January 2009 than the same month Israel found itself rebuked by two Bosnian-Muslim authors for underscoring the singularity of the Holocaust, and for supposedly committing an equivalent genocide against Palestinians.)
Justice Flugge is another instructive example. He had been assigned to the Mladic case, but three Bosnian-Muslim groups in Europe and North America sent the ICTY a letter demanding his removal, because in a 2009 Der Spiegelinterview he openly questioned the classification of Srebrenica as genocide — even though the judge still held all the “correct,” pro-Muslim opinions about the Balkan wars, and even though he’d said it wasn’t any better to kill people because they all happened to be in the same location (as in the Srebrenica case) than to kill people for who they were (i.e. not the case in Srebrenica).
But the Muslims desperatelyneed their genocide, and Flugge had the gall to deprive them of it. Not only did the judge commit the unforgivable sin, he added insult to injury by adding, “Strictly speaking, the term genocide only fits to the Holocaust.” Which negates the point of the whole exercise of the hard-won “genocide.” (Equal political footing with Jews, whom they see as deriving much of their sympathy and clout from the Holocaust.)
In a general email last July, Andy Wilcoxson explained the beauty of the ICTY:
We have the Tribunal in The Hague precisely so the propagandists out there shilling for [NATO’s Balkan] cause won’t have to defend their claims from criticism and won’t have to “win arguments in open contests”…[I]f you disagree with them their response is invariably that the Tribunal has handed down its verdict and anyone who dares to disagree with its findings is a “revisionist” or a “genocide denier” who should be banned from speaking if not arrested and fined for “hate speech”.
The evidence, then, is the verdict itself, as attorney John Bosnitch put it in the documentary “Weight of Chains.”
In an August 2009 interview about his book Srebrenica — The History of Salon Racism, researcher Alexander Dorin explained the reason that things just don’t seem to quite fit about the Balkan wars. Their history has been written by the aggressors, while for “hundreds of years, Serbs were fighting against the aggressors and the fascist forces. Instead of respect and gratitude, they were rewarded with sanctions and bombs by the international community, and with a thorough and complete demonization by the Western media. Today’s world is ruled by the criminals and psychopaths who call themselves democrats.”
Israel must not join this club.
For two decades the Serbs have been doing as told by a Mecca-obliging West, and look where it’s gotten them. They are as reviled as ever, and subjected to double and triple standards. From one untermenschen to another, Israel needs to do Cvetkovic, and itself, a solid. Israel must try to remember for a moment that it answers not to masters in Washington or Mecca, who will betray it no matter how many times it does as told, but to a god that existed before the New World Order, whether Hitler’s or the West’s current facsimile of it.
We thought the West was long past arbitrary justice. It is not. We thought we were millennia past human sacrifice. We are not. There is a new paganism upon us. The Holy Land has no business becoming part of it.
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