Vojislav Seselj Case: UN Criminal Tribunal Delivers Great Victory For Violent Lunatics Everywhere

ICTY Trial Chamber 31 March 2016 Delivering Judgment in Vojislav Seselj Case PHOTO: Screenhot ICTY.org

ICTY Trial Chamber
31 March 2016
Delivering Judgment in Vojislav Seselj Case
PHOTO: Screenhot ICTY.org

 

Travesty of justice and biased blindness to facts

Despite the fact that the Serbian ultra-nationalist pusher of a land-grabbing-by-any-means Greater Serbia, Vojislav Seselj, sowed and incited hatred against Croats and Muslims (Bosniaks) in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina during early 1990’s, recruited Serb Chetnik, utterly cruel and barbaric, bloodthirsty militia in Croatia, that culminated in a long, brutal war of genocide, ethnic cleansing, mass murder, rape, concentration camps, pillage… the Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in the Hague pronounced him Thursday 31 March 2016 innocent of all charges. The majority of judges, Judge Lattanzi dissenting, concluded “that the objective of the creation of Greater Serbia was more of a political venture than a criminal project… that crimes had been committed by Serbian forces in the process, but that they were not inherently linked to the fulfilment of the purpose of Greater Serbia…”

Vojislav Seselj Photo: N1

Vojislav Seselj
Photo: N1

Two out of three judges (Judge Jean-Claude Antonetti, Judge Mandiaye Niang) – Judge Flavia Lattanzi dissenting -dared to conclude the above  knowing the facts that Seselj acted in times of Slobodan Milosevic’s Serbia that called upon ethnic cleansing and creation of ethnically pure regions of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina; knowing that it was Seselj who shouted in 1991 to Serbs picking up weapons to attack Croatia that “no Ustasha can leave Vukovar alive…” (calling all Croats Ustasha – a WWII political independence movement in Croatia); knowing that only one week before the same Tribunal (ICTY) convicted Serb Radovan Karadzic, the wartime leader of the Bosnian Serbs, to 40 years imprisonment on charges of murder, extermination and genocide (based on same Greater Serbia “political venture”)!
Furthermore, the majority judgment argues that Seselj’s men might have been present in contested regions (regions of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina), not to force Bosniak Muslims and Croats out of areas claimed for a Greater Serbia, but on “humanitarian grounds”. So, his calls for murder, extermination and ethnic cleansing (acted upon by his men) were simply a means of “galvanising Serb forces”.

 

Can you believe this travesty of justice and blindness to facts!?

 

His men followed his calls – murdered, raped, forcefully deported, imprisoned, humiliated, plundered…and that was “OK” according to the two judges because it was a political venture! It was “galvanizing” the political venture!

 

The “political venture” ICTY Trial Chamber shamefully endorses

As a reminder, the indictment against Seselj included “the participation in a joint criminal enterprise (JCE). The aim of the JCE was for the permanent forcible removal of a majority of the Croat, Muslim and other non-Serb civilian populations from parts of Croatia, BiH and from the province of Vojvodina in the Republic of Serbia. Acting alone and in concert with other members of the JCE, Šešelj is alleged to have participated in the recruitment, formation, financing, supply, support and direction of Serbian volunteers connected to the SRS and/or Serbian Chetnik Movement. He is also accused of having participated in the planning and preparation of the take-over of towns and villages in Croatia and in a number of municipalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), and the subsequent forcible removal of the majority of the non-Serb population from those areas. In addition, he stands accused of having recruited Serbian volunteers connected to the SRS and indoctrinated them with his extreme ethnic rhetoric so that they engaged in the forcible removal of the non-Serb population in the targeted territories through the commission of crimes as specified in the indictment, with particular violence and brutality.

Finally, the indictment states that, in his inflammatory speeches, he instigated Serb forces to commit crimes, encouraged the creation of a homogeneous “Greater Serbia” by violence, and thereby participated in war propaganda and incitement of hatred towards non-Serb people…”

Vojislav Seselj early 1990's inciting to murder and ethnic cleansing in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina

Vojislav Seselj
early 1990’s inciting to
murder and ethnic cleansing
in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina

The crimes he was indicted for, he incited and called for, did actually occur and include:
• the deportation or forcible transfer of tens of thousands of Croat, Muslim and other non-Serb civilians from large areas in BiH, Croatia and Serbia (Croats living in Serbia/Vojvodina region in particular and Muslims in Kosovo region;
• the murder of many Croat, Muslim and other non-Serb civilians, including women and elderly persons, as well as the deliberate destruction of homes, other public and private property, cultural institutions, historic monuments and sacred sites of the Croat, Muslim and other non-Serb civilian populations in the municipality of Vukovar in Croatia, and in the municipalities of Zvornik, “Greater Sarajevo”, Mostar and Nevesinje in BiH;
• the torture, beating, robbery, sexual assaults, and perpetuation of inhumane living conditions against Croat, Muslim and other non-Serb civilians by Serb soldiers during capture and in the detention facilities;
• the direct and public denigration through “hate speech” of the Croat, Muslim aand other non-Serb populations in Vukovar Zvornik and Hrtkovci on the basis of their ethnicities

 

Would Adolf Hitler be acquitted?

This acquittal of Seselj of all charges, not even mentioning complicity and accessory to crimes, does cause one to conclude (as a colleague blogger Vladimir Lusic did) that (using this ICTY judgment as a precedent) Adolf Hitler would be found innocent of all charges also. Hitler also delivered loud and strong political speeches, talked about the greatness of the Third Reich, decided which ethnic group should live and which should die in the name of the Third Reich, held a gun at his waist from time to time…just like Seselj! Only Seselj didn’t have the Third Reich – for him it was Greater Serbia.
Evidence has it that Seselj did much more than engage in politics. His militia was widely feared as murderers, rapists and looters. In the Croatian war in 1991, Seselj said his men had used a rusty spoon to scoop out the eyes of their enemies, though he later claimed this was black humour.
When they marched into Vukovar in 1991, intent on murdering as many Croats as they could Seselj’s militia sang: “Slobo, Slobo, send us some salad, there will be meat we will slaughter the Croats” (Slobo meaning Slobodan Milosevic). And sure enough by 18 November 1991 Vukovar was ethnically cleansed of Croats and other non-Serbs and hundreds perished in genocidal mass murders – other places in Croatia and BiH soon suffered the same destinies.

 

And remember: all Croatia wanted to do was to secede from communist Yugoslavia!

1991 - Vojislav Seselj and Dragan Vasiljkovic lead the way to mass murder and ethnic cleansing in Croatia

1991 – Vojislav Seselj and
Dragan Vasiljkovic
lead the way to mass murder and ethnic cleansing in Croatia

Wide and serious worldwide ramifications for international justice

It’s not far fetched to say that the ICTY judges’ (who delivered such a judgment) reasoning will have wide and serious ramifications for the international justice. Such a judgment endorses all political “ventures” even those that incite hatred and mass murder and genocide… Will the coalition of allies dare to fight against IS in the Middle East from now on, for example?
The verdict already encourages nationalist Serbs to argue that their side did nothing wrong in the war. Jubilation in the streets of Belgrade and elsewhere has been ecstatic – the Serbs sentenced at The Hague so far for crimes against humanity, war crimes … do not seem to matter now! Serbian Republic political entity within Bosnia and Herzegovina, created on genocide for which Karadzic received 40 years imprisonment last week is now just about pronounced acceptable part of Greater Serbia! The arguments brought down by the majority judges at the ICTY in Seselj’s case will, without doubt, be matched by all political ventures throughout the world, no matter what gruesome destinies and sufferings they bring to innocent people.

 

The arguments have dumped the right to self-determination of every nation into the garbage bin.

Even if the ICTY Prosecutor, under Serge Brammertz, may have done a very sloppy job in Seselj’s case during and before the trial, as the judges might suggest, and this sloppiness may have been purposeful, the judgment is still outrageous and shocking. Let’s hope Brammertz’s team do some serious work on identifying grounds for an appeal against this judgment and if it doesn’t then Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina governments need to find those grounds, quick smart.

 

As Luka Misetic, US based attorney who represented Croatian General Ante Gotovina at the ICTY, reminds us: “There is little doubt about Seselj’s role in Joint Criminal Enterprise to create Greater Serbia by means of displacement of the non-Serb civilian population. This was already confirmed by the Trial Chamber in the Martic Judgment (Milan Maric, 2007, PDF), which at paragraph 446 found: ‘The Trial Chamber therefore finds that at least Blagoje Adzic, Milan Babic, Radmilo Bogdanovic,Veljko Kadijevic, Radovan Karadzic, Slobodan Milosevic, Ratko Mladic, Vojislav Seselj, Franko ‘Frenki’ Simatovic, Jovica Stanisic, and Captain Dragan Vasiljkovic participated in the furtherance of the above-mentioned common criminal purpose.’”
One finds it difficult to accept that the two out of three judges who delivered an exonerating verdict for Seselj seemingly decided to ignore the previous findings of its own Tribunal on the matter and is getting away with it.

In the Twitter words of Eric Gordy, a London based sociologist and reportedly very knowledgeable about war crimes in the Balkans, the Seselj verdict is “a great victory for bloated, violent lunatics everywhere.” Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A. Ps. (Syd)

Denying Genocide in the Face of Science

Women of Srebrenica  mourn at grave site where recently identified remains are to be buried - 11 July 2015 Photo: The Atlantic

Women of Srebrenica
mourn at grave site
where recently identified
remains are to be buried – 11 July 2015
Photo: The Atlantic

The largest DNA-identification project ever conducted provides unprecedented proof of the slaughter at Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina. But 20 years later, too many people claim it never happened. If for nothing else then for the victims’ dignity and justice those who deny these crimes need to be exposed and shamed at every turn.

David Rohde is a columnist and reporter for Reuters, a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and a former reporter for The New York Times. On 17 July 2015 he published an article for Reuters on the above issue. A number of my posts in the past month or so had dealt with genocide and crimes perpetrated by Serbs/Serbia in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina during 1990’s and the obscene extent to which Serbia and its leaders are prepared to go in their denial of genocide they committed.

I share David Rohde’s above article here as a very important contribution to the unwelcome issue genocide denial brings into human existence. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Zgb)

 

Srebrenica Bosnia and Herzegovina Graveyard of victims of genocide

Srebrenica
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Graveyard of victims of genocide

Srebrenica, Bosnia — Scientific advances in DNA identification over the past 15 years have helped war-crimes investigators document to an unprecedented extent the massacre of 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys around this town in 1995.
Yet even as these technological advances uncovered more damning evidence, many Bosnian Serbs have grown increasingly more resolute in their denial.
Last Friday night, two Bosnian Serb men standing beside a memorial to Serb war dead were a telling example. They insisted that Serbs are the victims of an international plot. They fervently argued — despite 93 mass-grave exhumations and 6,827 DNA identifications of the dead — that the mass killings have been grossly exaggerated.
Biased historical narratives, of course, have existed throughout history. The identification of the dead in Srebrenica demonstrates the ability of technological advances to produce a flood of factual information. Yet in many cases, the scientific statistics appear to have only given those willing to manipulate the numbers more arrows in their quiver.
The two Bosnian Serbs contended that roughly the same number of victims died on each side during the 1992-1995 war. When I asked how such a vast subterfuge had been carried out, one said the answer was simple. “As far as the Muslim side,” he told me, “there is a bigger lobby in America.”
The following morning, interviews with a dozen other Bosnian Serbs living near Srebrenica produced similar answers. As tens of thousands of Bosnian Muslims drove past their homes to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the mass killings, Serbs dismissed the gathering and the idea of 8,000 dead as a “farce,” a “circus” and “make believe.”
“It’s definitely not correct,” said Budimir Todorovic, a 60-year-old electrician, as he calmly drank coffee with his family in his front yard as busloads of Bosnian Muslims drove by. “It’s not 8,000.”
Milan Rakic, a 48-year-old store owner, accused Muslims of stealing the bodies of Orthodox Christian Serbs and interring them in the town’s sprawling cemetery complex.
“There are a lot of Serb bodies buried in this memorial,” he said.
One elderly widow said that some Bosnian Muslims listed as dead in the Srebrenica memorial were, in fact, living in Germany. “The number is exaggerated,” she said. “There are many living people whose names are engraved on the gravesites.”
The woman, like the other Serbs interviewed, was genial and polite. The Serbs expressed regret about the war — the woman declared it “horrible, horrible.” But they echoed the arguments of Bosnian Serb nationalists who still dominate politics here. The nationalists contend that foreign powers, primarily the United States and Britain, stage-managed everything from the war itself to the burial of bodies in Srebrenica.
They dismissed the annual commemoration as a “provocation” also organized by meddling outsiders. They said the crowds were so large because “Western NGOs” paid people to attend.
“Everything is well coordinated,” one man standing at the memorial for Serb war dead told me. “No one from here is guilty for what happened.”
Denial is evident outside Bosnia as well. Disparate groups, including left-leaning academics, Russian government-controlled media and some right-wing Americans who talk about a Muslim takeover, scoff at the number of 8,000 dead.

In fact, the annual commemoration and cemetery here have become a global symbol of the international community’s failure to stop the killing in Bosnia. U.N. officials arrived in Srebrenica in 1993 and declared it a United Nations protected “safe area.” When Serb forces attacked it two years later, Dutch peacekeepers and U.N. commanders did little to defend the enclave, and it fell to Serb forces on July 11, 1995. Two weeks of mass expulsions and mass executions followed.
Twenty years later, an estimated 50,000 Bosnians and several thousand foreigners attended the anniversary commemoration last weekend. Dozens of foreign dignitaries did as well, with former President Bill Clinton saying the world must prevent more such killings.
In the largest DNA identification project ever, a nonprofit group called the International Commission on Missing Persons has collected 22,268 blood samples from Srebrenica survivors and matched them to 6,827 bodies.
“Huge advances in DNA identification have made it possible,” said Kathryne Bomberger, director of the project. “The science is moving rapidly.”
Along with 93 mass graves that have been exhumed, investigators have found bodies at 314 “surface sites” in the surrounding mountains. Yet the work is not over. With 8,000 men reported missing from Srebrenica and the nearby town of Zepa, another 1,200 bodies are believed to be scattered in the woods or in mass graves not yet located.
Finding the dead has been vastly complicated by a grisly Bosnian Serb effort to conceal evidence. Several months after the executions, Bosnian Serb forces dug up many of the mass graves and reburied the bodies in dozens of locations. In the process, many corpses were dismembered.
Body parts from single victims have been found at multiple sites. In one case, parts of the body of one victim, 23-year-old Kadrija Music, were discovered in five different mass graves 20 miles apart.
While the DNA identification of the bodies has received widespread praise, the uneven sentencing practices of the U.N.-created International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has elicited scorn from both Muslims and Serbs.
Bosnian Muslims hailed decisions from the tribunal, as well as the United Nations International Court of Justice, that ruled genocide had occurred in Srebrenica. But they criticized some of the sentences as far too short.
Meanwhile, Serbs insist they have been the victims of the court. They assailed the tribunal for ultimately acquitting Naser Oric, commander of Bosnian Muslim forces in Srebrenica, though they say he is responsible for many deaths.
“How many Serbs need to be killed for people in the world to see that Serbs are people, not animals?” asked Rakic, the store owner, who said his uncle was one of Oric’s victims. “Animals have rights but not the Serb people?”
International war-crimes investigators, however, say there is no proportionality in the deaths in Srebrenica or Bosnia as a whole. The say several hundred Serbs died in the fighting around Srebrenica, but the vast majority of them were Serb military forces.
Across the country, Bosnian Muslims made up 65 percent of the war dead and Serbs 23 percent, according to prosecutors. Yet Bosnian Muslims made up 44 percent of the population, according to a census conducted two years before the war. Serbs made up 31 percent.
Meanwhile, Bosnian Serb news accounts lay out a different narrative. They report that 1,300 Serb civilians died around Srebrenica, and a total of 3,267 Serbs were “murdered” across eastern Bosnia.
Dismissing the Bosnian Serbs’ statements as irrelevant conspiracy theories would be easy. But their assertions had an eerie familiarity. In conversations around the world, extremist Muslims, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists, as well as some on the far right and far left of U.S. politics — have all featured similar arguments.
The stories usually involve a nefarious plot by outsiders to destroy their culture or faith, or future. They say they have had to act in self-defense. As the victims of the plot, they have no choice but to respond.
There is usually some distant, all-powerful covert force — the CIA, the Mossad, oil-rich Arab potentates — deftly stage-managing each event. Local people are helpless victims, with no responsibility for what occurs.
When I asked the Bosnian Serb men about the future of the former Yugoslavia, they said it would be decided in London and Washington. “Basically, how the English and Americans decide,” one told me. “That’s how it will be.”
Though there had been a decade of progress in Bosnia after the 1995 peace accord ended the war, the country has been moving steadily backward over the past 10 years. Bosnian Serb denial of the Srebrenica massacre is growing. Bosnian Muslim resentment of that denial is simmering.
Violence erupted at the 20th anniversary commemoration. Groups of young Bosnian Muslim men hurled stones and slurs at Serbian Prime Minister Alexander Vucic, a wartime ultranationalist now turned pro-Western moderate, forcing him to flee.
The International Commission on Missing Persons, meanwhile, is expanding internationally and applying the DNA identification system it developed to tragedies in other parts of the world. It is identifying the missing in Iraq, Chile and South Africa, as well as victims of typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and the passengers shot down in a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine.
Yet scientific and technological advances seem to have changed few views. One new conspiracy theory circulated by Serb nationalists is that the remains recently buried in the Srebrenica memorial are Filipinos who died in typhoon Haiyan.

Is Defending Serbia’s Aleksandar Vucic At Srebrenica The Same As Defending Adolf Hitler At Auschwitz?

Serbia's Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic (Centre) Whisked Away From Srebrenica, Bosnia, Mourning Graveyard Amidst Pelting Of Stones And Bottles Against Him Saturday 11 July 2015 Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Serbia’s Prime Minister
Aleksandar Vucic (Centre)
Whisked Away From
Srebrenica, Bosnia, Mourning
Graveyard Amidst Pelting Of Stones And Bottles Against Him
Saturday 11 July 2015
Photo: AFP/Getty Images

You create the slogan that fuels genocide, you must move away in shame – disappear! You cannot be an agent of reconciliation or forgiveness until and if the victims say you can.
Serbia’s Prime Minister Aleksanadar Vucic said that he had the best intentions of seeking reconciliation and peace when he went on Saturday 11 July to Srebrenica to attend the 20th anniversary of the horrible crime of genocide perpetrated by Serbs against Bosnian Muslims, but I find it difficult to accept these words of his as honest and as having the interests of the victims in mind. On the contrary, what Vucic says was done for the sake of peace seems more like an act actually done in order to provoke violence among the grieving crowd at Srebrenica on Saturday when beside the 20th anniversary of the genocide recently released remains of some 130 butchered Muslims in 1995 were being buried at the site on that very same day.

We should live in peace … if you want me and my offered hand I’m ready to come to Srebrenica on July 11” for a commemoration ceremony marking the massacre’s 20th anniversary, Vucic said a couple of weeks before the 20th anniversary. Since that date he was among Serbia’s leaders who worked hard in order to achieve Russia’s veto at the United Nations Security Council against UN proclamation of 1995 Srebrenica massacres as genocide (about which I wrote in my two last posts). Vucic’s move to attend Srebrenica on Saturday did not seem lined with true remorse on behalf of the Serbs who committed the atrocities as he said in an associated statement: “We Serbs show our greatness also by being able to bow before the victims of others as we do before our own, before the hundreds of thousands of who died in all the fatherland wars. But don’t make us feel humiliated because we are Serbs and because we fought valiantly for our freedom.”

There was absolutely no freedom to be fought for in 1990’s Bosnia and Herzegovina for Serbs, it was the Serbs who started ethnic cleansing of non-Serbs and genocide against non-Serbs in order to grab land for Serbs and Greater Serbia. Much of this heinous criminal activity was, to my belief, fanned by the slogans such as the one the very same Vucic pronounced against Bosnia and Herzegovina from Serbia’s parliament in the early 1990’s: “For one Serb, we will kill 100 Muslims.”

Srebrenica Memorial Cemetery Saturday 11 July 2015 Several banners were held up with slogan or quote of what Serbia's Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said in 1990's: "For Every Killed Serb, We Will Kill 100 Muslims!"

Srebrenica Memorial Cemetery
Saturday 11 July 2015
Several banners were held up
with slogan or quote of what Serbia’s Prime Minister
Aleksandar Vucic said in 1990’s:
“For Every Killed Serb, We Will Kill 100 Muslims!”

Aleksanadr Vucic went to Srebrenica on Saturday 11 July despite warnings by even his own security that risks were too great; that it would be dangerous for him to turn up at the event at that particular time – only three days after he and his government and the whole of Serbia’s leadership fought hard to make sure Srebrenica genocide was not named “genocide” at the UN SC. But since he decide not to heed the warnings one would think that he would have turned back at the site of large banners with his 1990’s slogan: “For one Serb, we will kill 100 Muslims.” Surely, he knew then that his presence was not welcome at that time!
So until the rocks, shoes and bottles started flying at Aleksander Vucic from the enraged crowds whose grief at that mass funeral and 20th anniversary was further deepened by the very Vucic among them, who only three days before worked the international scene for the event they were commemorating and grieving not to be called genocide, even if all know it was, the proceedings were peaceful, solemn and respectful.
A mass of angry folk began to surge forward, a chant of “Allahu Akhbar”—God is Great—went up and the security services finally began to do their job. The Serbian prime minister, who had been hit and whose glasses were broken was hurriedly evacuated.

Most unhappy crowds at Srebrenica Saturday 11 July 2015 at seeing Serbia's Prime Minister Aleksanadar Vucic there

Most unhappy crowds at Srebrenica
Saturday 11 July 2015 at seeing
Serbia’s Prime Minister Aleksanadar Vucic there

And, now, while the Serbian government representatives are saying this was an attempted assassination of Serbia’s Prime Minister Vucic, are calling for Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities to locate, arrest and charge the culprits with attempted murder, Aleksandar Vucic keeps playing his obviously falsely compassionate card for the victims of Srebrenica. “There are fools in every nation, there is no deficit here either,” he said, stressing that he “knows that a majority of Bosniaks do not agree with what happened today.”
Serbia’s Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic has shown by his presence the readiness to bow his head to Srebrenica victims and stepped forward to improve relations both with the region and the whole country. We expect public condemnation from officials of Bosnia and Herzegovina of Serbia’s prime minister’s attempted assassination,” said a diplomatic note from Serbia.

What utter rubbish! Serbia must know that reconciliation and bowing heads to victims is only possible without the people whose slogans fueled genocide in the first place.

Given what had occurred against calling Srebrenica 1995 a genocide in the days leading up to the 20th anniversary of the genocide Aleksanadar Vucic knew he was walking into a fire at Srebrenica and that his presence would only fuel that fire.

 

He had made his mind up to provoke victims of genocide into rage and anger. What a low act!

 

In my eyes he does not deserve the political points he seems to be gaining from those who think that reconciliation is a matter of heartless logistical steps rather than involving consideration of the emotions of those who had suffered.

Just imagine this: would you defend Adolf Hitler if he had survived and attended an anniversary of Auschwitz death camp and was pelted with stones by the grieving, angry members of victims’ families? The hard truth here in Srebrenica is that Aleksandar Vucic did utter the slogan in Serbia’s parliament in early 1990’s “For Every Killed Serb, We Will Kill 100 Bosniaks” and it must be obvious to all decent human beings that he cannot be a part of true reconciliation unless he resigns from political life in profound remorse of what he stood for in 1990’s and perhaps still does. To me he seems incapable of such remorse because his national pride and the reason for his existence seem to lie in achieving a Greater Serbia at any and all costs. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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