The American Interest

Milosevic on Trial

There are contests in which a decent person prefers not to take sides, such as the bloody wars between Mafia families or Stalin’s disputes with Trotsky and Tito.  The war between Khomeini’s Iran and Saddam’s Iraq also comes to mind, or the family feud between Pol Pot and the Vietnamese communists.  It is tempting to put Slobodan Milosevic’s contest with the inquisitors at The Hague War Crimes Tribunal in the same category, but the temptation should be resisted.  This trial is a travesty of justice that goes beyond the personal and political flaws of any one man.  British writer and commentator John Laughland (“This is not justice,” the Guardian, February 16) noted that the inquisitors at The Hague are falsely trying to present the Yugoslav tribunal as the heir to Nuremberg, in the hope that “a quick reference to Hitler” can settle the problem that “the Hague tribunal was created in 1993 by the UN security council, a body which has as little right to set up a court as it does to raise taxes”:

The rigorous sovereignist logic of the Nuremberg tribunal was clearly spelled out in its charter.  Indeed, the Nuremberg tribunal, unlike the Hague tribunal, was not really an international tribunal at all.  The judges quite specifically stated that the act of promulgating the Nuremberg charter was “the exercise of the sovereign legislative...

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