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Selective Justice at The Hague

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By:Chronicles | March 28, 2016

Srdja Trifkovic discusses on Radio Sputnik International the sentencing of Dr. Radovan Karadzic at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. [Audio]

Trifkovic: The verdict had been written well in advance of Karadzic’s arrest in 2008. All key points in the verdict had been prepared well in advance based on a previous sentence, against General [Radislav] Krstic, when the “Srebrenica genocide” was quasi-legally verified. This is the logical outcome of a politicized tribunal with politicized proceedings . . . 

Sputnik: What are we going to see now, when it comes to the future of the Republika Srpska?

Trifkovic: We are going to see the use of this verdict as another building bloc in the political case for the dismantling of the Dayton Agreement, signed in the fall of 1995, which recognized the Republika Srpska as a semi-autonomous entity within Bosnia-Herzegovina. This will be used, together with some previous verdicts, as justification for a sustained attempt to delegitimize its existence and to claim that—having verified the guilt of Karadzic—it is now time to look for another arrangement for the future of Bosnia-Herzegovina as a more or less unitarized state—in which, by virtue of their members, the Muslims will have predominance.

Sputnik: Many people will probably think “well, this is the end of an era, the end of the story,” but it’s not going to be like that in your opinion?

Trifkovic: Not at all. The whole show at The Hague Tribunal has the task of providing legal justification for the decisions made by the Western powers in the 1990’s. Nobody at The Hague is looking at the circumstances that led to the civil war in Bosnia, the way in which the illegal referendum on February 29-March 1, 1992 resulted in the war; or at the role of the American Ambassador in Belgrade at that time, Warren Zimmermann, who flew to Sarajevo in March 1992 to dissuade Alija Izetbegovic, the Muslim leader, from accepting the plan put together by the European Union under Portugals’ presidency, the plan which could have prevented the war even before the first shot was fired. This is selective justice by a tribunal with a clear brief to prove Serbian guilt as retroactive justification for political decisions made at the time.

Sputnik: Who are going to be the people who cry out most at this stage?

Trifkovic: There will be, on the Serbian side, people who will point out that many elements in Karadzic’s defence were discarded by the Tribunal even before they could be presented; but on the whole I do not expect that in the Western press we’ll see any echo of that. It is up to the Russians in particular to consider the implications of the quasi-legal proceedings at The Hague as a sword of Damocles that can be used against anyone who is politically inconvenient to the powers-that-be, such as the Donbas leaders today or Bashar al-Assad tomorrow.

Sputnik: Do you think that such a tribunal should exist at all???

Trifkovic: No. For as long as we have political agenda, and in particular the pernicious doctrine of collective command responsibility—the so-called “joint criminal conspiracy”—anyone connected with a political structure that is inconvenient to the Western powers can be criminalized. It is not a matter of committing real war crimes; it is a matter of collective guilt because you do not belong to the right side of history. In that sense, The Hague is even more politicized than the Moscow processes of 1936-1938.

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