Radovan Karadzic The Butcher Of Bosnia – Given Life Sentence

Radovan Karadzic

The United Nations international criminal tribunal in The Hague has Wednesday 20 March 2019 rejected former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic’s appeal against his conviction for genocide and war crimes committed during the war of 1992-1995 that saw the bloody carving out of the so-called entity Serbian Republic within Bosnia and Herzegovina and increased his sentence to life in prison. Without a shadow of a doubt Karadzic was one of the architects and leaders of the joint criminal enterprise to permanently remove Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats from Bosnian Serb-claimed territories throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina between October 1991 to 30 November 1995, which resulted in genocide and crimes against humanity.

Judges in The Hague upheld a 2016 ruling that Karadzic was responsible for crimes including the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica and the 44-month siege of Sarajevo which claimed about 10,000 lives.

 

Presiding judge Vagn Joensen said the original 40-year sentence did not reflect “the extreme gravity of Karadzic’s responsibility for the gravest crimes committed during the period of conflict, noted for their sheer scale and systematic cruelty”.

 

Reading the verdict of the five-judge panel, Mr Joensen said a life sentence was appropriate given the “extraordinary gravity of Karadzic’s responsibility and his integral participation in the gravest of crimes … committed throughout the entire area of the conflict in Bosnia”.

 

Dismissing Karadzic’s appeal, Mr Joensen said his “contention that he was a psychiatrist and poet with no military training ignores his extensive authority over Bosnian military forces.”

Reportedly Karadzic’s lawyer Peter Robinson said outside the court on Wednesday:

“Karadzic says that if the choice to have an independent [Serb republic in Bosnia] meant that he had to lose his freedom, he’s prepared to make that choice and lose his freedom.”

 

As a reminder, Radovan Karadzic warned Bosniaks and Croats about the dangers of an impending war in Bosnia and Herzegovina in a speech in October 1991 in the Bosnian parliament, after Slovenia and Croatia had already declared independence from Yugoslavia and war of Serb aggression was at its genocidal and ethnic-cleansing of Croats terrifyingly raging stage. He said that leaving Yugoslavia would plunge Bosnia and Herzegovina into violence. The same destiny Croatia was fighting against, defending itself at the time of his speech in Bosnian parliament.

“The road that you are choosing for Bosnia and Herzegovina is the same highway to hell and suffering that Slovenia and Croatia have already taken,” he told lawmakers.

It was a speech that seemed to predict the brutality of the coming conflict, and the massacres that would follow. It would be a “replica” of Serb atrocities that were happening in Croatia.

Bosnia and Herzegovina became independent in 1992, after a vote that was opposed by Serbs who wanted to remain part of Yugoslavia, and then the war broke out.

 

Karadzic’s wartime military chief, Ratko Mladic, is also appealing against the life sentence he was given in 2017 for genocide and war crimes. The former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic, Karadzic’s long-time patron during the war, was on trial in The Hague until his death in 2006  Ina Vukic

 

How “miscalculations” may have made a “prostak” out of Mr Holocaust

Efraim Zuroff
Simon Wiesenthal Center
Photo: Yossi Zamut/F;ash 90

 

By Branko Miletic
(First published in Independent Australia 14 January 2018)

The Weisenthal Centre’s “Mr Holocaust” would seem to be undermining the very Holocaust history he claims to support, writes Branko Miletic.

In Yiddish, the term “prostak” denotes a wilfully ignorant person, while in the various interconnected Slavic languages, the word takes on a wider meaning of being uncouth or rude.

Historically, going back to the Ninth Century, Yiddish as a language was all but annihilated by the unmitigated evil that was the Holocaust.

And for almost as long as there has been the Holocaust, there has been Holocaust denial.

No-one is more aware of this than the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s Yiddish-speaking and Jerusalem-based director Efraim Zuroff — a man who has given himself the nickname of “Mr Holocaust”.

Since taking up his post in 1998, “Mr Holocaust” has guided the Wiesenthal Centre into a growing list of controversies, ranging from victim-shaming in the Balkans, to alienating his allies across the world, and now to threatening the very Holocaust history he claims to support.

Denial, it seems, can be a two-way street.

Take, for example, his repeated comments on the July 1995 massacre of 8,372 Bosnians by Serb forces in Srebrenica.

Despite the U.N., EU, U.S. and most governments around the world declaring it an “act of a genocide”, Zuroff claimed it could not have been so “as only men were killed”.

His remarks earned sharp rebukes from many quarters, including from Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel.

While Menachem Rosensaft, general counsel of the World Jewish Congress, who teaches the law of genocide at Columbia and Cornell universities, called Zuroffs opinion, “wrong from a legal point of view”.

Nor was his the first time Zuroffs’ miscalculations have caused mayhem, however the attempt to downplay the gravity of the Srebrenica massacre also goes to the heart of the issue here.

As Marko Attila Hoare, associate professor of economics, politics, and history at Kingston University, said in 2011 about the denial of the genocide at Srebrenica in July 1995:

It tends to go hand-in-hand with the denial of the genocidal crimes carried out by Serbian Nazi quislings and collaborators during World War II.”

As if to underline that he is an equal-opportunity offender, in 2011, Zuroff’s carelessness led to the acquittal of a suspected Nazi war criminal in Hungary, causing much consternation for both Holocaust survivors and their families.

In the ensuing aftermath, László Karsai, the central European country’s leading Holocaust historian and himself the son of a Holocaust survivor, labelled him an “hysterical, narcissistic Nazi-hunter, working only to earn a good living”. He went on to say the Wiesenthal Centre used publicity in order to “justify its own existence before its sponsors”.

Moving his attention back to the former Yugoslavia, Zuroff’s downplaying of Serbia’s World War Two “Judenfrei” history has assisted for now in keeping this fact out of the media spotlight.

Then there is his silence over the former Yugoslav State erecting statues to Nazi collaborators and the rehabilitation of its own collaborationist history — a process that goes on to this day unabated.

Any attempt to publicly challenge Zuroff over such anomalies to his public pronouncements in relation to World War Two Balkan history elicits instant condemnation from the man himself, his organisation and his fellow travellers in the media — most of whose idea of journalism often more closely resembles bullying rather than objective reporting.

Even when simple arithmetics highlights the unexplained holes in the “accepted” conclusions, those that have dared to cross this apparent verboten Rubicon find themselves in the crosshairs of a well-oiled and, apparently, well-funded media campaign of character assassination.

In 1996, American historian Dr Philip Cohen discovered this the hard way after publishing his book: Serbia’s Secret War, which used Yugoslav, U.S., British, German and Russian archives to disprove many of Yugoslavia’s inflated World War Two death tolls.

Cohen’s work demolished the “victimology” that for decades has characterised just about everything that has been written about Yugoslavia’s role in World War Two.

Despite being lauded by former British PM Margaret Thatcher for his extensive research and despite being Jewish himself, Cohen discovered what happens when you challenge the status quo, courtesy of a tsunami of vilification, threats of physical violence — even being labelled a “Nazi sympathiser” by both the global Left and the Wiesenthal Centre.

But in many ways, Philip Cohen was a trailblazer, as one of the first historians to actually use simple, primary school arithmetic on decades-old publicly available data to pry open the floodgates of truth in relation to parts of Balkan World War Two history.

For example, between 1931 and 1948, according to Dr. Cohen (and the Holocaust Encyclopaedia), Europe’s Jewish population fell from 9.5 million in 1931 to 3.5 million in 1948 — meaning a net loss of some 6 million people, mostly courtesy of the Nazi death camps.

Over the exact same period of time, according to Belgrade’s official and publicly available population statistics, the number of people in Yugoslavia increased by over 1.3 million people, with 700,000 of those newly born citizens being Serbs, according to the same figures.

Delving further into the statistics, as Cohen and others found, the population of Yugoslavia, according to its published last census just prior to the outbreak of War in 1939, was almost 15.4 million.

In 1948, in the country’s first post-World War Two census, which was published by its new Communist government and then republished by the United Nations, showed a population of over 15.8 million — a growth of some 400,000 people. This made Yugoslavia the only European country actively militarily involved in World War Two to have its population increase during the period of the war.

Although these figures have been publicly available for at least 70 years, Zuroff and other commentators have consistently claimed that the decrease of 6 million people during the Holocaust is somehow comparable to the increase of Yugoslavia’s wartime population by some 400,000 people.

This odd analogy has been repeated by historians far and wide – including prominent Australian ones, such as self-styled “Nazi-hunter” Mark Aarons – as somehow being equal in “monstrosity”.

While Yugoslavia’s role in World War Two is a typical Balkan mix of myth, propaganda and bravado, the fact that such obvious errors, most of which contravene even the basic rules of addition and subtraction, can enter the annals of standard and accepted history, and go unchallenged for decades simply beggars belief.

One excuse for this mathematical incongruity is the consistent failure to check simple raw data, such as publicly-available population figures, while at the same time blindly republishing and rehashing numbers that were little more than Communist propaganda.

The other reason is a fear of public abuse from those that wish to keep their “crimes of miscalculation” covered up.

Were they to become common knowledge, they could potentially provide a massive shot in the arm to those that crave for even a whiff of “scientific credibility” to disprove the Holocaust and who wish to wipe the history of this awful event from the collective memory of mankind.

Perhaps the Yiddish term prostak is applicable to a few more people, including all those so-called “historians”, for whom the use of a calculator stretches their already seemingly limited skill set.

 

 

Croatian Court Sentences Serb Paramilitary Commander For War Crimes

Dragan Vasiljkovic (R)
Photo: AP

Croatian court in the city of Split has sentenced Tuesday 26 September the former Serb paramilitary commander and Australian citizen, Dragan Vasiljkovic, a.k.a. Captain Dragan, a.k.a. Daniel Snedded, to 15 years in prison for war crimes committed in Croatia during Serb aggression against Croatia in the 1990s.

The sentence is pathetic. If true justice were handed out then the man would spend the rest of his life in prison.

The municipal court in the coastal town of Split said Tuesday found that the rebel Serb paramilitary commander Dragan Vasiljkovic had during the 1991-95 Croatian Homeland war, when Serbs took up arms against Croatia’s secession from communist Yugoslavia, killed, tortured and beaten civilians and Croatian police prisoners in a fortress in Knin prison in 1991 and that his attack that same year on a series of villages near Glina had resulted in the deaths of civilians.

The 63-year-old Vasiljkovic, who was born in Serbia, went to Australia at the age of 15 but returned to the former Yugoslavia to train Serb rebels in 1991, when Serbs took up arms against Croatia’s secession from Yugoslavia.

He spent nine years in detention in Sydney fighting extradition, claiming he would not receive a fair trial after The Australian had exposed his war crimes in a 2005 article. Vasiljkovic was discovered by Australian Federal Police while working on a yacht at the Harwood Slipway in the Clarence Valley (state of New South Wales, Australia) after 43 days on the run. He was then extradited from Australia in July 2015, after fighting a 10-year legal battle against being handed over to Croatia’s judiciary.

He became Australia’s first extradited war crimes suspect.

While praised in Serbia and among Serbs worldwide as disciplined soldier with no mercy, in Croatia he was known as a smug self-promoting commander of a special forces unit, the feared Kninjas, that sought to drive out ethnic Croats from the border area known as Krajina (territory covering about 1/3 of Croatia and occupied by Serbs during the war via ethnic cleansing of Croats and other non-Serbs, murder, rape, plunder and destruction).

The three-judge Croatian court panel found Vasiljkovic guilty of two of the three charges, which included torturing and beating imprisoned Croatian police and army troops and commanding a special forces unit involved in the destruction of Croatian villages. He was found responsible for the death of at least two civilians.
About 60 prosecution witnesses were questioned during the trial, including those who said they were tortured by Vasiljkovic.

The court found that Vasiljkovic, as commander of special Serb purposes unit of the paramilitary forces, for the training of special units known as Alpha, acted against and in breach of Geneva Convention.

When Vasiljkovic strode in the historic old fortress town of Knin in the Dalmatian hinterland near the Bosnian border in early 1991 tensions against secessions from former Yugoslavia reached boiling point from Serbia direction, his connections with Serbia’s Slobodan Milosevic’s secret police who sat at the apex of the power structure were already well-established.

The deadly assault at Glina in July 1991 was an early bloody chapter in the genocides committed by Serbs in Croatia. The Glina assault is among the war crimes tribunal’s three allegations against Vasiljkovic, who is accused by Croatian prosecutors of commanding troops who tortured and killed prisoners of war; commanding a deadly assault at Glina in 1991; and training paramilitary units that committed war crimes at Bruska near Benkovac in Croatia’s central Dalmatian hinterland in 1993.

When Croatia declared it wanted independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, Vasiljkovic adopted the moniker Captain Dragan and was encouraged by Serbian intelligence chiefs Milan Martic (sentenced to 35 years prison in The Hague) and Franko Simatovic (currently on retrial for war crimes in The Hague) to train special forces units in an old scout hall in the village of Golubic from where he often led his own unit on military operations.

Vasiljovic’s lawyer Tomislav Filakovic said in Split: “Captain Dragan didn’t expect such a harsh sentence, this has come as a big surprise.
We don’t believe the prosecution presented substantial evidence to arrive at such a verdict and we will appeal.’’

His lawyers will lodge a request for Vasiljkovic to released immediately because he has served nine years in detention in Australia and a further two years in a jail in Split. Under Croatian law prisoners can be released after serving two-thirds of their original sentence.

Vasiljkovic, who was widely believed during the war to be working for Serbia’s secret service, has claimed innocence throughout the one-year trial, saying the whole process was rigged. The judges ruled that they will take into account the time Vasiljkovic served in detention in Australia and in a Croatian prison, meaning he has three and a half years of his sentence remaining.

As much as Serbia may pursue its denial of direct involvement in the violence and genocide in Croatia (and Bosnia and Herzegovina), which led to the rising of Croatian defence forces against the backdrop of UN arms embargo, strong Yugoslav Peoples’ Army acting for Serbia’s interests, and an impoverished material defence resources Vasiljkovic’s case serves also as a reminder of the horrors Croats went through during the Homeland War. Any lasting reconciliation can only be achieved via truth and justice such as the one seen surfacing in the Split court on Tuesday, even if the sentence is pathetic when compared to the brutality of the crimes. One must not forget that many Serbs known or suspected of war crimes in Croatia had, as part of the deal for peaceful reintegration in Croatia of Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium, in 1998, been given amnesty from prosecution for war crimes.  This is something that is most painful for Croats. However, as there is no statute of limitation for war crimes and a revisit to the matter with view to rescinding the amnesty would no doubt serve the needed justice for victims of war crimes. Ina Vukic

 

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