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)

Croatian Veterans Vie For Register Of Aggressors

Croatian veterans Djuro Glogoski (in wheelchair) and Josip Klemm (pushing the wheelchair) head to meet with Croatia's Prime Minister for the first time since the veterans' protest commenced more than 200 days ago Photo: Index/Hina June 2015

Croatian veterans Djuro Glogoski (in wheelchair)
and Josip Klemm (pushing the wheelchair)
head to meet with Croatia’s Prime Minister
for the first time since the
veterans’ protest commenced more than 200 days ago
Photo: Index/Hina
June 2015


Last week, the Croatian veterans renewed their request for the government to create and publish a Register of Aggressors (against Croatia in early 1990’s) just as Veterans Register was created and published a couple of years ago. There are mixed feelings about this among Croats and those leaning towards nostalgia for communism and former Yugoslavia, or those who stand against lustration and processing of communist crimes, would have us believe that a Register of Aggressors places people suspected of war crimes (or those who aggressively rebelled against Croatian independence) into lifelong “suffering” linked to their name being on the list etc. Well, I would think that if a court clears a suspect of all charges then his/her name comes off the list. And if a person had been found guilty, then he/she deserve for their name to remain on that list, just like a criminal record of serious crimes remains.


Victims from Serb aggression against Croatia - overwhelmingly too many!

Victims from Serb aggression against Croatia –
overwhelmingly too many!

The Croatian veterans would reportedly have Croatia’s rebel Serbs, including those who have been given amnesty by the late president Franjo Tudjman, on that list. One could safely say that the amnesty could have well prevented many a thorough investigation into criminal behaviour during the rebellion against Croatian independence and that there are those who did commit war crimes on the amnesty list from late 1990’s.
According to the General Forgiveness Act passed in Croatia in 1996, soldiers who participated in the military actions against Croatia cannot be criminally prosecuted, except if they had committed war crimes. In other words, one cannot be prosecuted for the act of taking part in war operations but can for acts of looting, rape, killing of civilians and other war crimes.
It’s rather amusing to watch the opponents to the Register of Aggressors, who have spent more than two decades wrongfully bad-mouthing and rubbishing Croatia’s first president, Franjo Tudjman, and now find themselves spinning accolades of praise for him for showing what they say great statesmanship in extending amnesty to rebel Serbs for their rebellion,

Franjo Tudjman, in late 1990’s, made some political concessions and compromises within the then international political currents, that were in the business of carving “justice” in Croatia and former Yugoslav territory, and extended amnesty from prosecution for rebellion against Croatia to thousands of Serbs who were active in the aggression against Croatia and many among them could have been rapists and killers. Such efforts (amnesty) were made, I understand, to achieve some peace, steps towards reconciliation … But they have not worked apart from adding to the excuses Serbs continue using in denying their aggression against Croatia (and Bosnia and Herzegovina)!
Those who support the Register of Aggressors claim that such a register would assist in information, evidence and fact gathering regarding any war crimes as well as assist with putting in motion court proceedings for them. They claim that it is both absurd and unfair to publish the Veterans’ Register and not the Aggressors’ one! Indeed, I would totally agree! After all Croatia would have no need to have the veterans proposing the Registry of the Aggressors were it not because of the aggressors who placed Croatia in the position to defend itself and its people from aggression.
Those against the register claim that its existence could result in people taking the law into their own hands, especially in smaller places, towns… Some who are against the register fear that the criteria for confirming the names to be included in the register may not be tight or objective enough. E.G., could two neighbours join forces and accuse someone of having been an aggressor just as people used to be accused as “elements against the state” in the former communist Yugoslavia.


Those against the Register may also argue that the very inclusion of a person’s name on the Register of Aggressors automatically labels him/her as “guilty until proven innocent”, which, of course, if that were the case, would be contrary to the Constitution. Those supporting the Register may argue that the inclusion of a person’s name in the Register of Aggressors does not and must not signify any guilt of any crime but is a list that compliments the records of Homeland War army, military or paramilitary operatives, i.e. the Aggressors were also military, paramilitary or army operatives just as those whose names are on the Veterans’ Register are.



A question should also be asked: should the amnesty given in 1996 now be revoked?


Sound reason would say – yes! It’s causing grief and unrest incessantly – there is a difference between forgiveness and justice. Justice must come and forgiveness may or may not – it is the prerogative of the victim to forgive or not! Absolutely! We can urge and encourage a victim to forgive his/her aggressor, killer, rapist… but we cannot force the victim to forgive against his/her will. It is human to forgive but it is also human not to! The aggressor, killer, rapist…should ask for forgiveness if forgiveness is to be given but Croatian rebel Serbs have not asked for it and continue denying their rebellion as wrong even if it did cost almost insurmountable devastation.
Some journalists and politicians in Croatia think that an Aggressors Register is an absurdity because the rebel Serbs from 1990’s cannot pose any threat to Croatia any longer!
Croatian Serbs have still, after hundreds of years, not accepted Croatia as their home but in many ways gravitate toward Belgrade. But let’s say such observations may be seen biased so, let’s look at the Public Report for 2015 (PDF version here) issued a couple of days ago by the Croatian Security & Intelligence Agency (SOA): according to this report Croatia still has serious security issues with the Serbian Chetnik movement that commits its activities towards achieving a Greater Serbia. These ideals were the ones that murdered and ethnically cleansed non-Serbs frantically in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina during the 1990’s war of Serb aggression. Every single follower or supporter of such a movement must stay on a “watch list” and Aggressors’ Register is one of those, as far as I’m concerned.

Croatian Security Intelligence Agency Report 2014_Page_01

The SOA Public Report 2015 in Chapter 11 on Extremism says: “ Organisations and followers of Chetnik movements continue to be active in the states around us but also wider. In this, there are contacts maintained with the like-minded people in the Republic of Croatia as well as with other organisations and individuals with Greater Serbia ideological platforms.”
Here, one could say, is a very credible, valid and legitimate foundation for the creation of the Register of Aggressors!


“…You have no right to forget your past, because the nation that forgets has no future. However, you should not remember it for revenge, but for peace…”, is one of the strong messages given by Pope Francis in Sarajevo on June 6.
Funny thing about this is that some Croatian journalists wrongly think that Aggressors’ Register should not be created because it suggests revenge and lingering of urges for revenge.


Well, no – even Pope Francis knows that to achieve complete peace the wrongdoers must be held to account, justice has due process and that indeed often involves punishment, which is not the same as revenge.
So next time, someone writes that rebel Serbs of 1990’s no longer pose a threat to Croatia, turn a deaf  ear and a blind eye to that – and support the Register of Aggressors! Support the Croatian veterans in this! Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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